Tag: Plan

Readers on the America’s Harvest Box plan: Rethink food stamps and the recipients

Readers on the America’s Harvest Box plan: Rethink food stamps and the recipients

Letter to the editor: I am on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
I am grateful this was available when my world unraveled.
I am scared for the future, over things no one has control over.
I know to buy manager specials, get the deals at farmer’s market, cooking at home on those days that I can shop or cook.
Letter to the editor: People on SNAP must not be buying healthy foods at all, or we wouldn’t have such a large obesity problem in the U.S. People must be buying junk food and soft drinks, or selling the cards for cash and gas stations take food stamps for plenty of bad things.
Make them buy healthy foods to actually cook and provide for their families.
Cooking is cheaper than premade microwave junk.
If there is an opportunity to lift these people up, then I believe Americans are in favor of doing whatever necessary.
But the SNAP program and other welfare-related benefits only work to keep most people down and dependent on the government.
Although not flawless, the America’s Harvest Box plan is a possible step in the right direction — especially for those communities and inner-city neighborhoods referred to as “food deserts.” Delivering healthier food to these individuals is an opportunity to improve their diet and improve their lives.

Trump’s ‘Blue Apron’-type plan is crumbs to the poor

Trump’s ‘Blue Apron’-type plan is crumbs to the poor

(CNN)According to the Trump administration, the poor could really use a meal-kit service like Blue Apron.
The Trump budget is fundamentally about shredding the already-flimsy American social safety net that is intended to help the poor.
And so we have the Trump proposal of an “American Harvest Box,” which is nothing akin to Blue Apron.
And unlike Blue Apron, where consumers get to choose their meals, the Trump plan would simply send poor people a sad box of bland, repetitive basics.
Currently, SNAP benefits are loaded onto a card, and recipients can decide for themselves what to purchase.
Now, the government would do much of the deciding.
And it means a holistic look at what drives less-than-ideal food choices.
And then there is the simple fact that junk food is one indulgence low-income parents can offer. “Next to all the things poor parents truly couldn’t afford, junk food was something they could often say ‘yes’ to,” Priya Fielding-Singh, a Stanford doctoral candidate, wrote in the Los Angeles Times.
Instead, Trump, who reportedly enjoys treating himself to an extra scoop of ice cream after dinner every night, proposes cutting billions in social support and health care, and delivering sad boxes of cereal and canned meat.

Ivanka Trump And Marco Rubio’s Paid Leave Plan Is A Disaster For Women
Social Security Disability

Ivanka Trump And Marco Rubio’s Paid Leave Plan Is A Disaster For Women

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and first daughter Ivanka Trump are pushing for a paid parental leave plan that is actually worse than the current federal policy ― which is no policy at all.
The U.S. is the only industrialized nation that offers no paid time off to new mothers.
Under the Rubio-Trump scheme, which is based on a proposal from the conservative Independent Women’s Forum, new parents would fund their parental leave by tapping into their Social Security benefits early.
Parents would get 12 weeks of benefits ― estimated to be about 40 percent of average worker pay ― in exchange for what the Independent Women’s Forum claims would only be six weeks of Social Security retirement benefits down the line.
But the Rubanka plan would have parents pay for children with their retirement funds ― essentially stealing from their own future well-being.
Though they live longer than men, women have less money saved for retirement.
This is partly because women are more likely to take time out of the labor force to care for children and other family members, working just 75 percent of the years men work.
In a piece written for the conservative publication The Federalist, the group’s managing director, Carrie Lukas, writes that a policy like this could have the added “benefit” of changing Americans’ thinking about Social Security as a bedrock benefit that cannot be changed.
Under his plan, the U.S. would offer six weeks of family leave, paid for with unemployment insurance.
“But [Rubio’s plan] is a step in the wrong direction.” Advocates like Bravo have been fighting for paid leave since the 1993 passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which provides 12 weeks unpaid leave for some employees at large companies.

Republicans weigh Social Security paid leave plan
Social Security Disability

Republicans weigh Social Security paid leave plan

GOP Sens.
Mike Lee (Utah), Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Joni Ernst (Iowa) expressed support for the idea, provided by the conservative Independent Women’s Forum (IWF), calling it “novel” and “creative.” But the lawmakers noted that a formal piece of legislation still needs to be crafted.
“Getting this right means asking the right questions and then figuring out how to answer them.” According to IWF’s six-page proposal, parents could take up to 12 weeks and receive on average 45 percent of their pay in a Social Security parental benefit that’s calculated using the same formula as Social Security disability benefits.
The IWF estimates the average wage worker would receive $1,175 per month.
Lee said lawmakers are trying to figure out how to structure benefits so they are delivered to families when they need them, how the federal law should interact with state paid leave laws and how to keep the law from hastening the Social Security Trust Fund’s 2034 insolvency date.
In statements, DeLauro called the plan “woefully insufficient,” while Scott expressed fears about shortchanging Social Security benefits for seniors.
“Legislation that reflects the Independent Women’s Forum plan to raid Social Security to pay for parental leave benefits would jeopardize workers’ future retirement security and would hurt women, low-wage workers and workers of color the most,” she added.
DeLauro has introduced the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act, a companion bill to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-N.Y.) legislation in the Senate.
The bill calls for a 0.2 percent employee payroll tax and a 0.2 percent employer tax to fund 12 weeks of paid leave during which workers would earn 66 percent of their monthly wages.
According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, which supports this proposal, the average worker would pay less than $1.50 per week in new taxes.

4 Questions to Ask Yourself as You Plan for Retirement
Social Security Disability

4 Questions to Ask Yourself as You Plan for Retirement

Should you claim benefits earlier and get a smaller monthly payment for more years?
What will my monthly Social Security retirement benefit be?
The average monthly Social Security benefit for a retired worker in 2018 is $1,404 (up from $1,377 in 2017).
The average monthly Social Security benefit for a disabled worker in 2018 is $1,197 (up from $1,173 in 2017).
The amount of your average wages that Social Security retirement benefits replaces varies depending on your earnings and when you choose to start benefits.
Most financial advisers say you will need about 70 percent of pre-retirement income to live comfortably in retirement, including your Social Security benefits, investments, and other savings.
Your Social Security retirement benefits will provide continuous income for as long as you live, protecting you even if your other sources of income run out.
Discover your life expectancy with our online calculator.
Or you may wait until after your full retirement age, increasing your benefit amount by up to 8 percent per full year to age 70.
Social Security is with you through life’s journey, and we’re here to help you prepare for a financially secure future for you and your family.

Puerto Rico warns of 11 percent GDP drop in new fiscal plan

Puerto Rico warns of 11 percent GDP drop in new fiscal plan

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Puerto Rico’s governor submitted a revised fiscal plan Thursday that estimates the U.S. Caribbean territory’s economy will shrink by 11 percent and its population drop by nearly 8 percent next year.
The proposal doesn’t set aside any money to pay creditors in the next five years as the island struggles to restructure a portion of its $73 billion public debt.
The original plan had set aside $800 million a year for creditors, a fraction of the roughly $35 billion due in interest and payments over the next decade.
The five-year plan also assumes Puerto Rico will receive at least $35 billion in emergency federal funds for post-storm recovery and another $22 billion from private insurance companies — figures still far below the $95 billion in damage officials estimate was caused by Hurricane Maria, which hit in September.
Some analysts view the assumption of that much aid as risky given that the U.S. Treasury Department and U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency recently told Puerto Rico officials that they are temporarily withholding billions of dollars approved by Congress last year for post-hurricane recovery because they believe the island currently has sufficient funds. “There’s great uncertainty in that sense, and especially with a Republican government that cares little to nothing about what is happening in Puerto Rico.”
The plan also projects a brief burst of 7.6 percent GDP growth for 2019 — a figure Caraballo said is overly optimistic.
Nearly half a million people have fled for the U.S. mainland in the past decade in search of jobs and a more affordable cost of living.
Rossello also called for reducing several taxes, including an 11.5 percent sales-and-use tax to 7 percent for prepared food.
A federal control board overseeing Puerto Rico’s finances has to approve of the plan, which it envisions doing by Feb. 23.

Your 529 Plan May Not Follow New Tax Law
Social Security Disability

Your 529 Plan May Not Follow New Tax Law

The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act was signed into law just in time for the end of the year, and the result of the most significant tax reform in decades landed with less of a cheer and more of a thud.
Can 529s Be Used for K-12 Expenses?
The final tax bill language was much less dramatic than the first two iterations, and ended up having less impact on college savers than anticipated.
One big surprise, however, was the last-minute insertion of language by Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to make qualified up to $10,000 in 529 withdrawals for tuition to K-12 schools.
The account owner can now withdraw up to $10,000 for each beneficiary once per year.
Qualifying schools include public, private, and religious schools K-12 schools.
Earnings on qualified withdrawals for K-12 expenses are federal tax-free right now for everyone.
However, the withdrawals may or may not be state tax-free, and any tax benefits taken on deposits may be subject to recapture if you claimed a deduction, credit, or other benefit.
Each state has its own laws concerning 529 plans and, while every state has passed legislation making qualified withdrawals for higher education tax-free, the same is not necessarily true for K-12 expenses.
Not Every State Will Tow The Line According to Strategic Insight’s Director of College Savings Research Paul Curley, over 20 states plus the District of Columbia will treat K-12 expenses the same as federal law, as their legislation mirrors federal definitions.

The Trump Plan to Hurt the Poor by Pretending to Help Them

The Trump Plan to Hurt the Poor by Pretending to Help Them

When Ohio and Michigan expanded their Medicaid programs to broaden coverage, residents who became eligible found it easier to look for work, according to studies by the Ohio Department of Medicaid and the University of Michigan.
That’s because having Medicaid gave them access to primary care doctors and prescription medicine that helped them live normal lives and get jobs.
That’s how you help people in the real world.
The Trump administration said Thursday that it would get poor people to work by letting state governments deny them Medicaid if they don’t have a job.
There is good reason to worry that fewer people will have a job in states that adopt this cruel policy.
The new policy would be attempting to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.
Of the remaining one-third, nearly 80 percent are in families with at least one working person and 60 percent have full- or part-time jobs, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Republican lawmakers who have demonized the program as welfare for “able-bodied adults” have long sought to require Medicaid beneficiaries to work.
Those lawmakers have been particularly angry about the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, which they have been trying to repeal since it was passed in 2010.
Then there are people with chronic conditions like diabetes who do not qualify for disability, but are often unable to work.