Seniors could use a bailout, too
Now that "we the people" have bailed out the rich as well as the automobile industry, I believe the time has come to bail out hard-pressed senior citizens who need a substantial increase in Social Security to help offset their essential day-to-day needs.
Having been in an elective capacity for 35 years, 16 of which I served as mayor of Schenectady, N.Y., I can attest that we, as local elected officials, have been asking former presidents and Congress to approve legislation that would forever prevent them from raiding the Social Security fund. To this day, every president, every congressman and every U.S. senator has completely ignored the legislation.
The vast majority of seniors are particularly vulnerable to the rising cost of living and indeed, the cost of health care. Thanks to Medicare, seniors have help obtaining affordable quality health care. Hopefully, the president and Congress will protect the Medicare program; however, the Social Security program has not been protected. In fact, over the years, past presidents and Congress have raided trillions of dollars from the Social Security fund to help finance their pet projects.
Had the Social Security fund been protected as President Roosevelt said when he put the program in place, today's senior citizens would have the dollars needed for their day-to-day needs as well as health care needs.
The new president and Congress said that Americans must bail out Wall Street and the auto industry to enhance our economy and preserve jobs. In all fairness to the people whose dollars were used to bail out the rich, I sincerely believe the new president and Congress have an obligation to bail out hard-pressed senior citizens by approving the legislation I described to protect the Social Security fund.
Frank J. Duci, Largo
Retiree raises may go away April 3 story
Hands off our Social Security
Wow! Talk about the old "one-two." First, we Florida senior citizens who had insurance policies for decades with State Farm were told to start hunting for new policies, and now we read that retiree raises may go away. Our senators and representatives had better be very careful when considering a cut like this. Do they really think of us as more than a number?
Take my case. I am an 86-year-old senior who is surviving four heart attacks, congestive heart failure, diabetes, colitis, arthritis and any other "-itis" you can name. I have nine doctors and I take plenty of pills every day. Most cost $1 or more each, and the more expensive ones I have had to drop.
My Social Security checks support me and my two sons. The elder son is our 24/7 caregiver, who I can't do without. The younger son is a Down's syndrome senior citizen. Besides paying my supplemental health insurance, I have to help pay for my caregiver's health insurance, which is very expensive.
How can we survive a cost-of-living cut when all of the necessities are going up daily — food, gas (again!), insurance, prescription drugs (monthly)? Would you believe even my Part D drug insurance premium, Silverscript, has gone up more than 30 percent since last year? We need a car to get around and we need insurance on the car and house.
A couple of years ago, Sen. John Kerry was in charge of a finances committee and neatly got Congress a raise of $3,000 a month while we got a measly 1.8 percent increase in our Social Security checks. I think Congress also recently got another raise.
And several senators are collecting Social Security checks even though they have private fortunes to bank on, including Sen. Robert Byrd and Sen. John McCain. How about the Congress taking a major cut in salaries and really showing that they are serving their country? Since when did the concept of "service" include juicy financial perks like thousands of dollars in speaking fees, book deals, small businesses for spouses and other family members, etc.?
But the poor senior citizens have to suffer in silence when more and more is taken from them. They can, after all, live on bread and water because they are used to living poor, from the Great Depression. It's too painful for the rich to pinch pennies!
We have our pride, too, and in our day it was considered a shame to have to live on welfare, dependent on a bailout by the government. It was also considered a shame to pretend to be heroically serving one's country while actuality feathering one's nest.
Listen up, Congress! Keep your paws off our raise or beware when elections come up again.
Frances Mirowski, Palm Harbor
Theater is one more money pit
An old venue returns for Cleveland Street in downtown Clearwater. Recently known as the Royalty Theatre, it is returning to its original name, the Capitol Theatre. Clearwater recently bought it with your Penny for Pinellas money that was voted on for the Countryside Aquatic Center. They then turned it over to Ruth Eckerd Hall to operate as a performing arts center.
Over $100,000 was spent in steam-cleaning seats, pressure-washing restrooms and new lighting for the inaugural performance. A city inspector found some mold underneath the backstage area, which forced the performance to be moved outside. At $50 per ticket, the 450 ticket holders enjoyed the show under the stars.
There is another $4 million to $10 million to be spent (wasted) on this venue in an all-out attempt to bring people downtown.
The albatross of this city administration has been revealed. This venue will join the downtown marina as a money pit financed by us, the taxpayers. Clearwater has a history of money pits. The Harborview Center that was billed as a cash cow cost us $350,000 annually in addition to the millions wasted on remodeling. Who can forget the infamous fountain in the Clearwater Beach roundabout that set us back money to tear it down?
The Clearwater city administration knows who will take the hit to finance these projects: their own annexed ATM, Countryside.
John Wiser, Clearwater