The Raving Lesbian
Stephanie Donald| Publisher, LGBT-Today
My father passed away a few months ago. We were never close—ever—in our relationship with each other and my coming out further alienated the two of us. My mother passed away in 1997 because she literally drank herself to death throughout her lifetime. My mother served little purpose in my life growing up. She was weak minded and felt that only drinking made her forget, temporarily, that she was inadequate. Her death was probably the line in the sand where she could finally find some peace.
During the last year and a half of his life, my father and I began talking by telephone (he still refused to see me) because I made the request of him to let me know who my father really was before he died.
One of the major issues that my father did manage to drum into my head at a young age was the concept of saving every cent you can for retirement and save he did, along with 40 years of government service as a civilian. When he retired in 1994 he thought that he had everything he would ever need.
How wrong he was.
Despite his pension, government paid health insurance and social security retirement pay, he ran out of money about 2001 and was forced to reverse mortgage his home just to pay all the bills from his and his second wife’s health issues. My step mother had been a longtime civil servant as well. She died in 2013. My father had to live in the old age hell of purgatory for his remaining years. He was actually anxious to talk to me in some ways and I remained reasonable with him and listened carefully.
He lamented constantly that he thought that he’d saved enough money, but he was severely wrong. “’Retirement Savings’ is a myth,” he said with morose in his voice. “Unless you were born wealthy, you will never have enough money to handle the declining years of your life.”
Since I have numerous health issues, many of which I inherited from my father including spinal-stenosis, I can agree 100% with his assessment—a rare occurrence in my life. You can never have enough money to handle this capitalism-crazy nation that places the ability to make war above the interests of the people who live in it.
Now the GOP is coming after my wife after sufficiently starving me by not really giving more than a $1 or 2 raise in my disability since 2000, but with today’s vote on “Trumpcare” over “Obamacare,” they’re coming after my wife.
She has much more serious issues than I do. She has angina and COPD not to mention that a botched surgical issue with a broken ankle has her walking with one ankle brittle like a toothpick. She also was born with a genetic disorder called neurofibromatosis and also scoliosis that her parents choose not to get surgical correction for.
Let’s face it: The GOP won’t be happy until every working class American dies at 50 from lack of medical care or ability to withdraw the extensive funds we’ve been forced to pour our tax money into in order to have a cushion you can fall back onto if you can no longer work or are too old to work anymore.
Let me tally this up for you: President Reagan managed to dismiss the previous pension rules on February 3, 1987 and by 1989 the Wall Street Journal was reporting that bond traders were making a large fortune from those 401k investment pensions that people were expected to manage themselves. The problem with that whole idea is that most people are far too busy living their lives than worrying about some distant future retirement won’t be sufficiently funded. Reagan also rescinded many of the FDR New Deal banking regulations and opened up the throttle of grievously greedy Wall Street Investment firms.
But the real cause of many of our problems was President George W. Bush, who removed any controls at all from banking and investment firms. There was no such thing as something that would get a broker, bond agent or banking and investment company in trouble with the law and that included the pushing of junk bond issues upon hapless and ignorant 401k firms who only saw the short term profit in the mass selling of junk mortgages to 401k pension firms.
By 2007 the bottom dropped out of the mortgage investment plans and many companies folded up shop and retired to the Caribbean where they could take their multi-billion dollar personal bank accounts and life of luxury while retirees lost everything they had sowed into their 401k from two major events during the Bush Presidency.
The first was when the energy company ENRON went bankrupt and took $270 billion of 401k investment money with them. I’m sure Vice President Dick Cheney isn’t hurting from that one. He knew exactly what he was doing.
The second thing was the housing bubble busting in 2007 that bankrupted investment giant Merrill-Lynch and caused the largest stock market crash since 1929. This mess was dropped into President Obama’s lap when he won the Presidency in 2008. Considering that he managed to break stock market highs within 18 months, I’d have to say he did pretty well bringing us back from the grave. We prospered under President Obama and the Affordable Healthcare Act gave the United States the lowest percentage in uninsured Americans in history.
But now the GOP and Donald Trump (I will never call him President—not even out of respect for the office he disgraces by inhabiting) and want to take what isn’t broke and fix it so the numbers of uninsured Americans skyrockets once again while the pharmaceutical and healthcare insurers are socking away billions for their own retirement.
I have it on a pretty reliable source that while the House of Representatives may or may not pass the American Healthcare Act, there is little chance it will clear the Senate and make it Trump’s desk, but the effort shows the pure malice the GOP holds over the poor and working people in America.
There is little doubt now that their passion is causing pain, anguish and suffering on the same working class people that elected them to office. When will everyone wise-up? You won’t be able to survive retirement no matter how much you save.