By: Columnist Bob Grafe
First Published: April 1, 2010
April 1 is celebrated by senior citizens and others in much of the Western world with light-hearted pranks usually followed by the prankster saying “April Fools’ Day.” Allegedly begun in Europe during the Middle Ages, the day was first referred to as “All Fools’ Day.”
For IRS purposes in the United States, All Fool’s Day has now become April 15 and is anything but light-hearted.
As we approach the infamous “tax day” in mid-April, senior citizens are paying special attention to the “security” of their Social Security Administration which reportedly is now without sufficient funds to make payments to all contributors and others who have qualified for Social Security payments under current law.
While several local public school superintendents recently received large annual pay increases (placing their personal annual salary and benefits between $125,000 and $200,000) paid from funds taken from local taxpayers’ pocketbooks, senior citizens and others dependent on Social Security payments for much if not all of their livelihoods were provided with “no cost of living increase” for 2010 — with the government making it clear to all seniors and others that the cost of living “did not increase” one penny during 2009.
It is now very unclear whether or not senior citizens, having paid approximately 15 percent (both employee and employer contributions on behalf of the employee) of their gross salary (up to limits of now around the “first” $100,000) for all of their working lives, will be able to both claim and receive their Social “Security” payments during their retirement.
Move over in your federal prison cell Bernard “Bernie” Madoff, you may need to make room for those other money-grabbers working within our country’s various levels of government who have stolen the financial savings out from under the control of law-abiding senior citizens who now may no longer have the health or stamina to ever recover from the personal devastation of such a theft.
Regardless of what age you are now, if you live long enough you’ll become a senior citizen. (I recognize that the last sentence sounds very much like something that New York Yankees’ catcher Yogi Berra might have once said … and, he just might have!)
Regarding senior citizens who may rely heavily on their Social Security payments to just “get by,” it is very easy for some others with excessive financial means to say something like “Well, they all should have taken better care of their finances. Too bad.”
The old saying that those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw rocks may soon come to pass for those making such statements or having such thoughts. Social Security is not the only “security” that is on the ropes for the citizens of the United States at the moment.
No, not at all.
If allowed to flourish, the current government’s move towards a redistribution of wealth may grab much of the financial “security” from almost everyone regardless of perceived financial strength.
So, what is a senior citizen to do (regardless of personal financial circumstances) while facing not only the real possibility of a very serious financial depression continuing for years, but also the maddening disturbance of an American culture that some in this country and elsewhere are trying to turn upside-down?
One of the first things to do is to quickly re-evaluate your close relationships with both friends and family members. The old irritations of the past may need to be forgotten while quickly strengthening new and old alliances to ensure the safety and tranquility for all within your personal group of relationships.
There is safety in numbers — especially with those of like-mindedness.
Included within your group’s goals should be a personal strengthening of your religious faith and a commitment to better communicate with your God on behalf of yourself and on behalf of others who may not have figured out this important tool of survival during these turbulent days.
There is another old, worn-out saying: “During war, there are very few atheists in fox-holes.” We all may have to become accustomed to Fox-Hole 2010 — and beyond.
While this column is being published on April 1, this certainly is no April Fools’ Day joke nor is it a prank.