Category Archives: Seniors

Trump Administration’s Snap Change Is ‘Cruel And Mean-Spirited’

Wolf’s State Human Services Secretary Denounces Measure

By J.D. Prose
Beaver County Times

Sept 23, 2019 – Calling the Trump administration’s proposed changes to a federal food assistance program “cruel and mean-spirited,” a cabinet secretary for Gov. Tom Wolf said Monday that 200,000 Pennsylvanians could lose their benefits.

“The Wolf administration vehemently opposes this change,” said Pennsylvania Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller in a conference call with reporters about the possible changes to eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps.

Miller’s department estimates that 2,544 Beaver County residents and 1,564 Lawrence County residents could lose their benefits under the plan.

President Donald Trump’s administration has proposed prohibiting states from raising or eliminating income limits that allows them to give federally-funded food benefits to people who would not otherwise qualify.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates the change would save $2.5 billion a year, but supporters of the current system say it would hurt struggling low-income families, children, seniors and the disabled.

Trump administration officials have also argued that changing the rule would help reduce cases of fraud, but Miller said that in Pennsylvania the fraud rate in SNAP is just 1 percent and “lower than every other human services program.”

Miller said that a Pennsylvania family of four is eligible for SNAP benefits if it earns a maximum of $40,000 annually. However, under the Trump administration’s proposed change, that same family would only be allowed to earn $32,000 or less to be eligible, leaving many families without access to food.

“SNAP helps low-income families reliably keep food on the table without choosing between basic needs,” Miller said. Continue reading Trump Administration’s Snap Change Is ‘Cruel And Mean-Spirited’

Despite Trump, State Progressives Advance Pro-Worker Policies

trump-mouth

While the president goes on the attack, Democratic-controlled states and municipalities forge ahead

By Justin Miller
American Propect

July 11, 2017 – In the face of the Trump administration’s predictably antagonistic stance on pro-worker policies, coupled with the escalating onslaught against worker power in Republican-controlled states, progressives are racing ahead to enact innovative labor laws to help working people in the places where they can.

Over the past eight years, Democrats’ control of government has receded to 1920s-levels, severely hindering progressives’ ability to advance pro-worker labor policy in Washington, D.C., or in the states. As of now, the Democratic Party controls the governorship and legislature in just six states, while progressive power is most concentrated in a few dozen municipalities.

It’s in those places in recent weeks that lawmakers have pushed forward a number of innovative labor laws that present a clear contrast to the Chamber of Commerce-influenced, deregulation-driven labor agenda in the White House.
Improving Home Care

Last week, Hawaii passed a law establishing a cash assistance program for people who are struggling to take care of a sick or elderly family member while maintaining a full-time job. The policy, the first of its kind in the country, takes aim at the increasingly urgent elder care crisis as the massive boomer generation ages and their children struggle to care for them.

“Every eight seconds, somebody turns 65 in America,” Ai-jen Poo, co-director of Caring Across Generations, a group that advocates for policies that improve home care, said on a call with reporters Monday. “It’s a great thing; we’ve extended longevity. And we are wholly unprepared for what the implications are in terms of care.”

Fully half of the workforce will be called on to provide care for an elder within the next five years, the group says. And that’s not a small commitment. Of the 45 million people who currently provide some level of unpaid home care to a relative, more than half are spending about 20 hours a week while also holding down a full-time job.

The Kapuna (the Hawaiian word for elder) Caregiver program would establish a fund to provide full-time workers who are providing care to a dependent elder $70 a day to help offset the burden. A recipient could use that money to help pay for health care, a caregiver, or transportation to a doctor’s appointment.

There are more than 150,000 unpaid caregivers in Hawaii currently, according to estimates by the AARP. And while in-home care or assisted living is expensive, costing between $5,000 and $10,000 a month in the state, the $70-a-day benefit is a small step to helping caregivers balance their lives.

The legislature has provided an initial $600,000 for the program and advocates say they will return to the statehouse next year to bolster funding. Continue reading Despite Trump, State Progressives Advance Pro-Worker Policies

Beaver County Nursing Home Workers Rally for $15 Hourly Wage

By Kirstin Kennedy

Beaver County Times

Apr 15, 2016 —- The national fight for a $15 minimum wage made its way to the courthouse steps Thursday when nursing home workers from across Beaver County rallied for increased hourly pay.

Renee Ford, a certified nursing assistant at Beaver Elder Care in Hopewell Township, joined about 12 other nursing home workers and community members in the protest. She said she’s fighting for wage increases so that full-time workers won’t have to live in poverty.

A 2015 Keystone Research Center study revealed that nearly 15,000 nursing home workers across the country qualified for public assistance.

"(We’re) the core of the nursing home," said Ford, who has worked for Beaver Elder Care for nearly 30 years. The facility, which is owned by Guardian Health Care, is in active negotiations with workers.

While Ford currently makes above the minimum wage, she feels its important for all of her co-workers to receive an increase in their pay to reduce worker turnaround and provide better care to residents.

Protesters held signs along the courthouse lawn and chanted for better-paying jobs. Two Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders supporters briefly joined the group.

Beaver County Commissioners Sandie Egley and Dan Camp greeted the protesters to learn more about their cause and to welcome them to the courthouse.

While some local workers remain in negotiations, others have reached resolution.

Last week, the Beaver Valley Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in South Beaver Township joined 41 other facilities across Pennsylvania in reaching new contract agreements with workers.

The Main Target: Obamacare Is Right-Wing Proxy For Social Security and Medicare

 

By Karoli

Progressive America Rising via Crooks and Liars

Oct 7, 2013 – Despite all the sound and fury about Obamacare, here’s the truth: It’s not the prime target of the right. The real targets are Medicare and Social Security, as Rep. Barton admits in the video above when he says he wants "real reforms in entitlements".

Over the past couple of weeks, it’s become apparent to me and many others that this entire showdown is not over Obamacare. The ACA is a convenient patsy because it is new, untested, and they’ve managed to poison public opinion around it over the past three years.

The real target is Social Security and Medicare. From a political standpoint, waging a war using those programs as hostage would be so wildly unpopular no sane or insane politician would dare choose that route. And so Obamacare has become the convenient stand-in, a cardboard stand-in for their real goals.

Continue reading The Main Target: Obamacare Is Right-Wing Proxy For Social Security and Medicare

US Capitalism Redistributing Wealth ‘Upward’

Nine Economic Facts That Will Make Your Head Spin

By Lynn Stuart Parramore
Beaver County Blue via Alternet.org

Feb 18, 2013  |  How much will you need for medical expenses in retirement? What does it cost to keep 2.5 million Americans behind bars? Here are a few facts and figures that might surprise you.

1. Recovery for the rich, recession for the rest.

Economic recovery is in rather limited supply, it seems. Research by economist Emmanuel Saez shows that the top 1 percent has enjoyed income growth of over 11 percent [3] since the official end of the recession. The other 99 percent hasn’t fared so well, seeing a 0.4 percent decline in income.

The top 10 percent of earners hauled in 46.5 percent of all income in 2011, the highest proportion since 1917 – and that doesn’t even include money earned from investments. The wealthy have benefitted from favorable tax status and the rise in stock prices, while the rest have been hit with a continuing unemployment crisis that has kept wages down. Saez believes this trend will continue in 2013.

2. Half of us are poor or barely scraping by.

The latest Census Bureau data shows that one in two Americans currently falls into either the “low income” category or is living in poverty. Low-income is defined as those earning between 100 and 199 percent of the poverty level. Adjusted for inflation, the earnings for the bottom 20 percent of families have dropped from $16,788 in 1979 to just under $15,000. Earnings for the next 20 percent have been stuck at $37,000.

States in the South and West had the highest proportion of low-income families, including Arizona, New Mexico and South Carolina, where politicians are eagerly shredding the social safety net.

Continue reading US Capitalism Redistributing Wealth ‘Upward’

Here We Go Again, Get Ready for Round Two

Judge Expects Summer Trial on Pennsylvania’s Voter ID Law

By Karen Langley
Beaver County Blue via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

HARRISBURG, Dec 13, 2012 – The legal battle over the Pennsylvania voter ID law is set to continue for months after a judge this morning said he anticipates a summer trial on a request for a permanent injunction.

The law requiring photo identification at the polls was the subject of an extended courtroom battle that resulted in an order lifting the requirement for the election last month while postponing a decision on permanently stopping the law.

Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson, who issued the temporary injunction, said he expects to issue an order in the coming days scheduling a trial for the summer. The schedule would be intended to allow time for the Supreme Court to review the decision before the November 2013 elections.

Senior Deputy Attorney General Patrick Cawley, arguing for the state, suggested holding the trial sooner so the future of the law could be resolved before the May 21 municipal primary. But attorneys for the parties challenging the law argued more time is needed for legal discovery.

The parties referred to the possibility of a hearing in the spring to determine whether the law will be enforced during the May primary election. Karen Langley: klangley@post-gazette.com or 717-787-2141 .

Even Papers as Far Away as New Zealand Are Shocked at PA’s GOP Voter Suppression Efforts

Dorothy Cooper, Tn, denied vote by the same GOP efforts back by Santorum here.

Eligibility rules bar millions of voters in US

By Peter Huck
New Zealand Herald

Aug 18, 2012 – When Dorothy Cooper applied for a free voter identity card in Chattanooga, Tennessee, she supplied a rent receipt, a copy of her lease, her birth certificate and her voter registration card to prove who she was.

Voter ID is mandatory to prevent fraud under a new state law passed by Republicans, despite scant evidence fraud exists.

But the 96-year-old, who was on the voting roll, left her marriage certificate behind. Cooper was denied the ID.

Wilola Lee in Pennsylvania has a similar story to tell. The 60-year-old has voted in most national elections since the 1970s, worked at her local Philadelphia polling station and is retired from the city’s education department. She has a social security card and a state identity card.

But a new law, passed by a Republican-controlled legislature, says voters must use an ID card issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

To get one you need a birth certificate. Lee’s was destroyed by fire. Efforts to get one from Georgia, her birthplace, have been frustrated for the past decade.

Continue reading Even Papers as Far Away as New Zealand Are Shocked at PA’s GOP Voter Suppression Efforts