Tag Archive for insurance

In the Days Before

Sharecropper

Farmers paid $100 per year plus a share of the crop for the privilege of occupying the land.

History and legends are rife with tales of “Old Crones” who educated the people and the leaders of nations in their search for further civilization by telling them the stories of what had gone before in their history. This writer has reached that stage in life where I am ready and willing to accept the title of “Old Crone” and to try to educate our people of “the days before”, in this case specifically, of the days before many of the political and social programs which affect our lives today. Today, my story will be about what life was like for many in the days before some of taken-for-granted social programs of today.

I was born in 1930, during the administration of Herbert Hoover and in the early days of the famous Dust Bowl, to parents who were already elderly by the standards of the day. They already had eight children and had lost one in infancy. My father was a farmer and they reared their family on eighty acres of rented farmland as had their own families before them. I can remember the 1936 elections and my father’s ire at the successes of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He hated government and resented any intrusion of said government into what he had considered the business of private persons.

Father paid $100 per year plus a share of the crop for the privilege of occupying the land. The money for the landlord had to be saved by pennies and nickels throughout the year to avoid having to move to another property the following year, so hard cash was very hard to come by. Therefore, all the household support was accomplished by my mother. She would plant huge gardens of vegetables which were canned in glass jars and stored in the storm cellar for use all year. Any patches of native fruits and berries were harvested and processed into the jars for winter consumption.

She kept chickens, laying hens that would provide the eggs which were carefully cleaned and boxed for transport to town to get enough cash to purchase the basic food which was our fare. A large box of eggs and a couple of gallons of cream from our cows would buy a huge box of oatmeal, a can of lard, and a 24-pound sack of flour for the bread which was our staple. On a good week, we could also afford a pound of oleomargarine, the kind that had to have the coloring removed from the packet and stirred into the glob of white goo which substituted for butter. Only occasionally was there a nickel left to buy a bit of sugar to sweeten the fruit or, wonder of wonders, to bake a cake.

When Roosevelt established the Work Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corp, we worried that Father would die of apoplexy! A married older brother with a family went to work for the WPA and another brother joined the CCC. At last, there was a bit of cash in the household. And then, to Father’s horror, the farm commodities began to be distributed, “forcing” the families of farmers to “eat from a tin can.”

In the summer, Father and the boys would contract to bale hay for farmers with larger acreage. Some of that work was for cash while some was for a share of the bales, which could be sold to accumulate cash toward the annual rent. In the hardest years, there would not be enough cash income from the contracting and the sale of other crops to cover the $100 rent. Fortunately, since Father was such a good farmer with so many mouths to feed, the landlord was often lenient and accepted only the share. It was hard, energy-sapping work and people just wore out at a much younger age than they do now.

When Father was only 60 years old, he began to suffer more from his chronic cough and there would be days that he would spend the day in the house, worrying aloud….very loud! On many occasions, due to the hard work and the vagaries of nature, he had suffered from severe pneumonia for extended periods and his cough had worsened each time. There were doctors at that time but even they were limited in what medicines or procedures were available. Even if the doctors had the capabilities and the knowledge of today, the poor had no money and would lie-in at home until nature took its course.

In 1940 another of the older brothers left home. Since there was no work locally, he joined the Navy, so he would not be available for the next haying season but, somehow, we made it through. Then Pearl Harbor happened and our whole world turned upside-down. The oldest brother who was left at home went to the county seat and enlisted in the Army. This left only three brothers at home, not enough to do all the work, much less to compensate for Father’s lessened abilities.

There was no choice but to sell out what we owned on the farm and move into town. Being still a child, I was more concerned with losing all the friends when the animals had to go to new homes, but there were more serious concerns than that. Later in life, in going through Mother’s papers, I came across the accounting from the auction of all my parents’ worldly goods. With the sale of every animal, every piece of farm equipment, and all the appurtenances that went with them, their “lifetime savings” amounted to slightly over $600!

My mother has always been my hero, and she proved it then. She rented a house in our small town and moved in with three almost-adult boys, an elementary-school daughter, and a dying husband and she made us a home! The brother who was in the Army arranged for her to be given $15 a month as a “family allotment.”  This amount covered the rent with nothing left for food. The brother in the Navy had married and his allotment was going to his wife. The two older sons who were at home did find part-time work around town, as helpers in various shops, and contributed their earnings to the family.

You may ask, “Why didn’t she go on welfare or apply for SSI for your father?” The answer is simple. That was in “The Days Before!” When you hear the politicians complain about needing to “reform entitlements,” and you know that their aim is merely to end them, be sure to watch for my next article about what life was like in the days when there were no entitlements or other assistance for the poor.

Falling Through the Cracks

STOP ROMNEY!

The 1% are the real poor – spiritually bankrupt.

From my years of work in providing care for disabled people. I am well aware of the number of people who “fall through the cracks” of our vaunted welfare system. When one is disabled and cannot work, for whatever reason, it is “the Christian thing to do” for society to help them avoid the inevitable ruin for them and their families. However, for many the system as it currently exists falls far short of that target.

One family man of my acquaintance has fallen through that proverbial crack and, as the result his very life and the continuation of his whole family is endangered. As the result of construction work injuries that broke his back, coupled with the extreme hard physical effort expended in working as a roustabout in the gas fields, he could no longer do that kind of work and had to give it up.

As a man who was only in his thirties, he determined to make a living by doing odd jobs, which he did for a period of years as his health continued to decline. As the recession crept up, it was harder to make enough money to support his family so his wife of twenty years began working in the office of a provider of services for the disabled and, for a few years, made enough money to sustain the family while he played “Mr. Mom” for their two sons and worked part time at any odd jobs he could get.

They managed quite well for a few years but, eventually, the strain began its own vengeance and he developed ulcers which sometimes caused him intense pain. The recession deepened and his odd jobs became harder to find and ceased. His wife’s employer, a contractor for the state, began to be squeezed by state budget cuts until they were forced to cut the salaries of their employees. She helped her husband apply for his Social Security disabilty benefits. His application was denied because he had not been working under “covered” employment for too long. Then application was made through the Social and Rehabiliation offices. There they were told that the wife’s income alone would only allow them to receive food stamps.

Then their oldest son turned eighteen, graduated from high school and then left home. With one less person in the house, the food stamps disappeared! This year, the younger son turned eighteen and then graduated from high school. Now he can’t even qualify as a dependent for tax purposes unless he goes to college, which he would love to do. However, in the process of evaluation, it was learned that this proud graduate of the special education classes of our school system failed the entrance examinations because of a “reading comprehension problem.” Sorry, but the scholarships and additional fees paid by his parents are non-refundable!

As problems are wont to do, they keep getting worse. Two days after he finally received a diagnosis of duodenal ulcers, the kind that are prone to rupture and cause one to bleed to death internally, he was moving a very heavy object in his own yard and caused a groin rupture. So, here they are with no medical insurance coverage, a gross family income which cannot pay all their expenses, and the threat of death hanging over them. Unless they take the option offered by the Republican politicians by showing up in a hospital emergency room and “free-loading” the necessary treatment, proving that it is no answer at all, the man is simply living on borrowed time. They know that the collection agency will hound them until hell freezes over in their efforts to collect every single dime. The irony of this situation is that, except for the fact that our Governor has stated that he would not accept the offer made by “Obomneycare” to increase the levels of poverty in Medicaid adjudications, they could, at least, receive the needed medical care under its provisions.

Is it the prevailing theory of the Republicans that this is the way our America should run? Should we give tax breaks to the filthy rich and let the poor just die because they are not able to do sufficient work to maintain life? Is this what the many generations of my family, including five of my brothers, fought and many died, to preserve for posterity? Is this the society we want to leave for our own descendents? If this is not a nightmare, I never want to wake up.

This writer is an octogenarian who has spent a half century working with handicapped and deprived people and advocating on their behalf while caring for her own working-class family. She spends her “Sunset Years” in writing and struggling with The System.

Accountability up the air

Plane vs house = homeowner loses.

What? No pilot insurance?

I have long been concerned about the risks of increased air traffic that will accompany major improvements planned for the Longmont Airport.

On December 18, 2011 a pilot had an emergency landing on usually busy Hover Rd., near Rogers Grove. No investigation was made as to why this extreme stunt was necessary. Did the pilot fail to fill the fuel tank? Was required maintenance properly performed? It was most fortunate no one was injured or killed.

Then on March 23, 2012 we had a mid-air collision over Longmont resulting in two deaths. What if the tumbling aircraft had crashed into a home, school or busy retail center in this densely populated town?

The Master Plan to extend the runway at Vance Brand in Longmont projects a doubling of aircraft operations over the next few years. That plan does nothing to implement flight controls or even simple record keeping at our airport. With takeoffs and landings occurring once a minute and helicopters and skydivers filling the air, mid-air collisions will occur more frequently.

There is no flight control at Vance Brand. Even instructors based at other airports bring students to Longmont’s airport to practice touch and go maneuvers. Why? No one at Longmont’s airport watches his or her operating skill or behavior. The FAA identifies an airport’s Air Influence Zone. Longmont has seen fit to build six schools within that zone – risky. You must agree that having novices learn to fly over your home and school is unnecessarily risky.

FAA does not require private aircraft owners to carry liability insurance and many do not. Few buy insurance adequate to compensate the victims of a crash. You cannot drive your car without adequate insurance but your small aircraft need not be insured so why bother.

The Longmont Airport is not a significant moneymaker for the City. Longmont Council can boost out local economy by bringing in light industry and high tech companies. But anyone who tries to argue that this airport is key to companies considering a move to Longmont is out of touch with the real world of business.

Please recognize the risks to each of us presented by increased air traffic over Longmont.


4/24/12 Update by Diane Wood

Being in an aerospace industry, it is prudent to carry aircraft insurance. If there were a serious accident, your company could be sued and possibly put out of business.

In surfing the internet regarding insurance on private aircraft, I did not find any mention that most private aircraft owners carry insurance.

Listed below are some of my concerns.

TRAFFIC SAFETY AT LONGMONT MUNICIPAL AIRPORT

  • AIRNAV.COM reports 274 operations per day average during 2010 at LMO. With increased runway capacity and general improvement of the facility, more traffic can be expected in the future.
  • Daily observation shows those weekends with favorable weather experience at least double the daily average traffic. Those 548 operations are spread over about 10 hours. That is 55 operations per hour or about one a minute – all day. All this will happen without any traffic control.
  • At the same time there are hundreds of skydivers landing near the runway, gliders, ultralights, biplanes, prop planes, jets, the jump plane, helicopters.
  • Ultralights buzzing slowly along at low altitude and in the morning, drifting hot air balloons. All this happening over nearby homes and schools
  • With the expansion of the runway allowing more jet aircraft, the jet aircraft will require a larger Air Influence Zone. This means that more residential and school areas will be subjected to safety.
  • With a jet laden with fuel, it creates more of a hazard. It is heavier, contains more fuel, should an accident occur, it has more potential to do more damage to property and worst, injure, maim and kill people.
  • Migratory birds and aircraft can collide creating a tragedy.
  • Open space and wildlife will be affected.
  • Flights take off wee hours of the morning and late into the evening.
  • There is no monitoring of the airport.
  • Safety should never be considered way out of proportion.

By the way, I have not heard or read about any toaster deaths.

Amendment to Fix Congress

Forwarded to FRL by Phil Skergan, thank you Phil!

The content of this post is free for any to copy and distribute.

Public Property = We OWN IT.

The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people,
it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government
– lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.

—Patrick Henry

The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971… before computers, before e-mail, before cell phones, etc. Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land… all because of public pressure.

Forward this web page to a minimum of twenty people; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.

In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message.

This is one idea that really should be passed around.

Congressional Reform Act of 2011

  1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.
  2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.
  3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
  4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
  5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
  6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
  7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.
  8. Members of Congress may not accept gifts, meals, trips, etc… from lobbyists, etc… They will always pay their own way and use approved expense accounts.
  9. Corporations are banned from political speech, as that right belongs to individuals and to nonprofit organizations chartered for political speech, funded by individuals, and reporting all donations.
  10. All voting districts will be determined by independent commissions adhering to sensible criteria that disregard political party affiliations and emphasize common geographical interests.
  11. After MoC’s and high-ranking officials in government leave government, they may not lobby for or work in an advisory capacity for the industries that would benefit from their contacts in government or legislation that they have shepherded.
  12. Anyone meeting the requirements as a legitimate candidate for Congress will receive funds allocated by the government for their campaigns to use as needed. No other funds will be used for their campaigns.
  13. To allow for more than two-party rule, all Federal elections will operate on an “instant runoff” basis, so that the people’s most preferred candidates win elections where three or more candidates run on a ballot.
  14. The House and Senate may not adopt rules that preclude majority rule. No single-party control, no easy filibusters, no supermajority votes not specified in the Constitution. Control of the houses of Congress will be shared in the proportion determined by the outcome of elections.
  15. All candidates for government posts sent to the Senate for confirmation will receive prompt attention, without political delays, or the candidates will be accepted without the consent of the Senate.

If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S. ) to receive the message. Maybe it is time.

THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS!

If you agree with the above, pass it on.