YOUR OPINION: Letters to the NEMS Daily Journal

By NEMS Daily Journal

Social Security, Medicare are more than numbers
The way some people talk in Washington you could get the idea that Social Security and Medicare are little more than numbers in a budget.
Yet for families in Mississippi and all over America, Social Security and Medicare have a deeper meaning: They are the very foundation of security in retirement.
Social Security and Medicare enable millions of older Americans to survive financially each month, after years of working hard and paying taxes to earn these protections.
As lawmakers consider the U.S. budget, here are a couple of numbers they should keep in mind: Half of America’s seniors get by on less than $20,000 a year. And here’s another: Typical seniors already spend nearly 20 percent of their incomes on health care, a percentage that continues to rise.
These facts argue against treating Social Security and Medicare as bargaining chips in a year-end political deal.
A good place to start is by recognizing the essential role that Social Security and Medicare play in the lives of average Americans:
• Social Security provides more than half the household income for one out of two older Americans. In Mississippi, 94 percent, or 363,797 of older (65+) residents, received Social Security in 2011. Social Security accounted for 73 percent of the typical older Mississippians income.
• Social Security benefits keep more than one in three seniors above the poverty line – that’s 155,388 older Mississippians. And benefits are modest, averaging under $15,000 a year.
• In Mississippi Medicare is 368,516 people, nearly 98 percent of older seniors in the state. Still, Mississippi seniors had to pay $5,000 on average out of their own pockets for care in 2011. Without Medicare, many would have to spend thousands more for private coverage – if they could afford it at all.
To be sure, older Americans want very much to reduce the budget deficit and put our nation on a more secure fiscal path. But they seek measures that are responsible and fair, not ill-considered “solutions” that would cause more problems than they solve.
Of course, budgets matter. But we should never forget their impact on the real people behind the numbers.
Bruce W. Brioche, Sr.
AARP Mississippi State President

Fair elections for everyone require some adjustments
I believe we are so blessed to have been born in the USA, and to top that off, Corinth, MS. Many thanks to our forefathers and members of our armed services who have served to protect and defend our God given rights and privileges. Our Constitution, along with the amendments, guarantees these rights without discrimination. The point is, I really love the USA and I am proud of our God-given heritage.
One of our privileges we have come to enjoy is the right to vote.
This year in the general election on Nov. 6, one of the local candidates was giving away free food about 60 feet from one of the local polls, with signs posted to vote for him. If you were to see this what would you think and what would it infer? Mississippi has a law stating no campaigning with in 150 feet of the polls. However, this was on private property across the street of the South John poll. Is this legal? Yes. But is it ethical? You decide. Election Commissioner Billy Bearden complained about this practice. This practice affects everyone: the Democrats in a runoff and Republicans in the general election.
The runoff election was held on Nov. 27, for the office of election commissioner, between incumbent Billy Bearden and Jimmy Harwood. This time Bearden was giving away free food. Bearden was able to garner over 50 percent of his vote at this one poll, ensuring his re-election.
Move the poll to a location that does not have private property so close to the poll. My suggestions would be South Corinth Elementary School on Cass Street or our new school on Droke Road. If you agree, I ask you to contact your supervisor.
Mike Stewart

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