This Will NOT End Well

I remember when the Soviet Union fell. One of the most pitiful pictures to come out of that upheaval was the sight of elderly women (and a few elderly men) sitting on the streets, with a hand held out for donations for food. They were sleeping in the streets, for a time.

Much as the collapse of the USSR helped most people, the elderly, who had never been able to acquire resources, were now destitute. Their pensions were gone, the social infrastructure was absent, and they were the unhappy uncared-for leftovers.

That was 30 years ago – those people are likely dead. The younger ones, now older, have been able to save for their old age.

But, it may be a preview of what will face an aging population that is no longer getting full Social Security, able to count on children (as many didn’t have any), nor a retirement they hadn’t saved.

I do get that the history of the economic swings in the post-1960’s have made budgeting for retirement – difficult. It was not the easiest time to be an adult.

Less than a year after I graduated, by 1970, the economy was in the toilet, jobs (plentiful just a year before) were getting scarcer and harder to find, costs were only held in check through price freezes (which also contributed to the loss of jobs), and the price of housing, and the interest rates, had started their long climb to ridiculous.

I didn’t have the money to buy a house till I was nearly 40. A settled lawsuit gave us the down payment. We had massive debt, and little savings well into our 40’s. Only after a long period of carefully living within our budget, were we able to eventually eliminate our credit card debt. Even before that point, we were saving – both in an emergency fund, and for our retirement.

Saving for retirement is more essential than ever. Few people have an employer-provided pension – mostly government workers and teachers. In many states, those pensions rest on VERY shaky foundations. The worst of them are in the heavily unionized states – CA, IL, IN, etc. Don’t believe the people who tell you they are fully financed – those people are flat-out lying.

The other aspect that makes this poorly-funded pension so damaging is that many of those teachers were in systems that opted out of Social Security long ago. Very few of the teachers can qualify for Social Security at all. So, everything is riding on the stability of that pension fund.

One bright spot is that teachers qualify for TSA’s – commonly called Teachers Savings Accounts. They function very much like a 401(k). If you put money in, it will be taxed at a lower rate when you retire (assuming that you earn less in retirement, which is usual).

Both my husband and I contributed to these – him more than I. Many teachers put some money aside that way.

But, most did not. So their entire post-work income is riding on a pension system that is shaky. They are in a comparable state to someone who didn’t save outside of Social Security contributions.

Potentially living on the streets, like those former Soviets.

Many families will take in an aging parent, brother or sister. It will cause some stress if Mom or Dad brings in no cash to help with their support. It’s worse for those who haven’t children to help out.

The next 20 years are gonna be tough. Those without resources will be in desperate straits. Some will die earlier than they might have.

Try to have some compassion. Yes, many of them were grasshoppers, but they still need to eat.

The Extent of News Consolidation

I was aimlessly reading – I mean, purposefully doing the absolutely minimal amount of web interaction that was necessary – when I ran across this article. It details the changes that newspapers have undergone over the last 20 years or so, and draws some interesting conclusions.

Here’s a list of the Gannett properties – it’s staggering to realize just how many people this reaches – papers, TV stations – even the military papers, which reach a lot of younger readers, who are bored enough to read anything.

I do disagree with the Thread by @JeremyLittau as to the value of Civil. I mean, do we REALLY need yet another news aggregator built on the consensus model? Particularly when that model is dominated by the Left. Such decision-making that is permitted tends to be dominated by the Delphi Method (it’s a Leftist technique that you really need to spend some time getting familiar with – here’s a link to the way Delphi REALLY works, as opposed to how it is blandly described).

I’m working on some posts for the OutlawBloggers, that will provide some background on Leftist thought and the techniques they use in Modern America. The first one I’m doing is about Antonio Gramsci, a foundational thinker of the Left. This is a long-term project, that will likely need other people involved. If you’re interested in helping, leave a comment here with some way to contact you, and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

 

It’s Getting Harder and Harder to Call Myself a Catholic

When you see the ignorance of standard Catholic doctrine by ordained priests and sisters.

First, it is not true that you HAVE to be opposed to capital punishment. Catholic doctrine is more nuanced than that. From the official Catechism:

Capital Punishment

2266 The State’s effort to contain the spread of behaviors injurious to

human rights and the fundamental rules of civil coexistence corresponds to the requirement of watching over the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict penalties commensurate with the gravity of the crime. the primary scope of the penalty is to redress the disorder caused by the offense. When his punishment is voluntarily accepted by the offender, it takes on the value of expiation. Moreover, punishment, in addition to preserving public order and the safety of persons, has a medicinal scope: as far as possible it should contribute to the correction of the offender.67

2267 The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings

effectively against the aggressor.
“If, instead, bloodless means are sufficient to defend against the aggressor and to protect the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.
“Today, in fact, given the means at the State’s disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering

inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for

suppression of the offender ‘today … are very rare, if not practically non-existent.'[John Paul II, Evangelium vitae 56.]

And, yes, I am going to argue that if an incarcerated individual is likely to offend again – at personal risk to prison staff AND OTHER PRISONERS – the death penalty is justified, if not required to avoid other innocent blood being shed. We haven’t the means to “effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it.” Not even close.

In prisons, there will always be low-level risk prisoners – not naturally violent, may have committed crimes while under the influence of some chemicals, may be somewhat impulsive.

There are medium-risk prisoners – those who have a long career of crime, who may have used violence or the threat of it to get their way. Those prisoners MIGHT reform and lead a crime-free life when released. This also includes that “one-time” offenders, whose decisions led to someone’s death.

The highest-risk prisoners are the ones held in super-max prisons. They have demonstrated their willingness to engage in violence without mercy.  They are frequently gang-related, tatted up and down their epidermis, and – if someone was such a chucklehead as to release them – would quickly return to the usual pursuits

St. John Paul II was a nice man, a brave Cold Warrior, and a living example of personal rectitude. An expert on prisoners and recidivism, he was not. Unfortunately, some of those men do, in fact, represent a threat to society, and even to the people around them while they are waiting to die.

The death penalty is not something that we impose capriciously. Many times, a prisoner could avoid it by accepting a plea deal before trial. I would be OK with forbidding it without DNA evidence, or video evidence, or absent an eyewitness that doesn’t have a motive to lie (a prisoner testifying to get privileges or a reduction in sentence would be an example of one with a motive).

Getting Back on the Saddle

I’ve been down with a nasty respiratory infection for several days. Got sick on Friday, and only began getting out of bed for more than 15 minutes or so late Sunday. It’s Wednesday as I write this, and I’ve been vertical all day so far (although I may take a nap).

I’ve mostly been puttering – cleaning, making beds, laundry – nothing that involves much cerebral function. I’m still needing the nebulizer several times a day, so I’m not completely well yet.

But – recovering. In process. Sort of like how I hope our country is – gettin’ over a massive illness, and, weakly, standing back up.

I’m gonna assume that most Normal People are like me – drained by the constant warfare, which has traveled from Washington, NYC, and Hollywood, all the way to Covington, KY.

The Left really does seem to have a hate on for Catholics, don’t they? They won’t be satisfied until every one of us is converted to the Holy Church of Progressive, or dead.

Preferably dead. Along with all like us.

Fortunately for us, there is one who seems almost energized to take on the fight. I’m referring to The New Duke of Orange, His Highness of the Hidden Ace, The Donald.

Who, amazingly, seems to enjoy a fight. Whether or not he likes it, he is willing to do it, and for that, I am grateful.

[UPDATE] Just saw this – Hoo-Dawgie! The Social Medias may have overstepped themselves – BIG TIME!

For all that the Covington kids are Incredibly Privileged White Kids (term applies to ALL who oppose these Unhinged Leftists – including the Black kids), the Left seems to have forgotten, or not known, that Minors – those under 18, are a Uniquely Privileged group – i.e., you may NOT threaten them with bodily harm – even virtually.

Penalties can be small or large, criminally. That doesn’t matter – we all know that the Left will never face real jail time for their crimes.

But it opens the door to getting BIG BUCKS from the offenders – and those who facilitate it, including the social media companies.

Jack Dorsey, Head of Twitter? Toast.

Jack Morrissey, Disney Producer? Toast.

All the other celebs, reporters, legislators, and individuals? Toast.

Start cringing and open your wallets, Ladies and Gentlemen (and Others).

Who’s to Blame for the Social Security Mess?

The kickoff has already started, and the teams are fighting it out.

Raconteur Report is hosting the game. The score so far:

  • The Greatest Generation (or their parents, for the younger ones) started Social Security. Because FDR wanted to buy votes, he allowed people to begin collecting the (then) tiny payments right away. SS never was self-supporting. There is no argument that the GGs made out the best with SS. They contributed very little, and successfully lobbied for raises to ease the pain of inflation, while NOT taking reductions when the economy improved. In essence, they set the standard for SS to function like a one-way ratchet.
  • The “Silent Generation” – again, a group that, overall, got a terrific return on their investment. Keep in mind that many of this group never did make the “Big Bucks”. Most made modest incomes. Few saved much for retirement, as pensions still existed. For the lucky ones, this paid off. If their employer went bankrupt, offshore, or shed workers, many of them lost their pensions.
  • Boomers – the current group of “old folks” are responsible. This is the view of many of the Millennials, who have seen their parents begin to collect SS (the older ones), and who are beginning to wonder where the money is coming from that will support them in their old age. Many of the BBs were childless. Some used that freedom to save for old age. Most did not. Expect to see a strong push for government action to keep them off the streets.
  • Millennials – they are whiny, ungrateful brats (well, for some, this is, in fact, true). They need to toughen up and tighten their belts. No, the government won’t bail you out. Be an ant, not a grasshopper.
  • Gen X – you ALL are pathetic.

That pretty much sums up the fight, but, don’t take my word for it – go there, yourself, pick a side, and root for your team!

My view? Every generation faces its challenging times. No time period has been absent some crisis, economic upheaval, or opportunity.

And, it’s that last part that is seized by the fortuitous. Opportunity.

If you lay down and wait for a savior – whether religious, temporal, or governmental – y’all gonna DIE.

Take action – ANY action. Try cutting expenses (yes, the beloved family home or farm should be on the block, if need be), increasing income, taking from the meager amount you already get to start building a savings fund for emergencies.

Don’t make enough to save?

Bullshit!

I was UNEMPLOYED, and managed to tuck away a few bucks each time I cashed those checks. I saved the amount I made by walking, rather than taking a bus. I took sandwiches to temporary jobs, toted my own water bottle. I bought clothes at Goodwill and Salvation Army stores.

It can be done. You just have to want it badly enough.

I’ll be 68 years old, in about 2 months. I’m currently studying for my insurance license. I saw an opportunity when I was choosing my Medicare Supplement. My husband stopped to talk to a woman in Walmart’s, who helped him choose a policy. She asked me what policy I had, and I explained that I’d spent several months looking over my choices, and was sure that I’d picked a good plan.

When she heard my choice, she nodded, and said, “That’s a good plan. So, you’re not going to be traveling with your husband?” (He’d mentioned his plans to travel). I said, no, I traveled quite a lot, to visit family and friends.

“So, you realize that this plan will charge you as out of network any time you leave the state? One out of town illness or accident could more than wipe out your savings?”

When I picked my jaw up off the floor, I realized that she was saving me from a big mistake. Right there, I decided to do what she did – help seniors make the best choice for them. She helped me get started, and I should have my license in the next month or so.

Like I said, you have to be open to opportunity. This is something I can do part-time, as available, and will supplement my pensions and SS. Yes, pensions, plural. I taught in 3 different states, and am collecting pensions from 2 of them – not full ones, but the partial ones, rolled together, are about 1/2 of a full one.

I’m not bragging. I made some bonehead decisions along the way to retirement. But, I did manage to save, put away some money in TSAs (like a 401(k), but for teachers), and pick up extra money when the opportunity arose. I didn’t sit on my ass and complain, which is my big complaint about too many people.

Yes, I know they’re already working, or sickly, or have too many responsibilities. Tough. Find a way. Make ONE little change to improve your life circumstances – even cutting back to basic on cell or TV packages, and saving the difference.

I can hear the anguished screams now – NOT THAT! ANYTHING BUT THAT!

Sweetie, I once sold nearly everything I and my family owned to get the money to make a new start. When we set up in the new house, it was a few weeks before our kids had BEDS OR DRESSERS! Yeah, we sold just about EVERYTHING.

You can do it. You just have to want to change badly enough.

Even retired people can make some changes. It might mean no prepackaged food, or starting a container garden. Whatever the cost of time and effort, it sure beats complaining.

Up till the time we take our last breath, we can change.

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