Friday, December 06, 2019

Could inheritances be targeted for reparations taxation?

Should taxes on inheritances be entertained for the idea of paying reparations to some descendants of (black) slaves and, in some circumstances, indigenous peoples?

A paper in Qz in June 2017 by Chuck Collins at least makes a case, and mentions inheritances specifically toward the end of the article.  His suggested floor of exposure to additional tax (to non-black, non-indigenous) households is $5 million, still the general floor today.

His moral arguments are well articulated, and mention historical precedent examples of the Japanese internment during WWII, as well as Holocaust survivors. 

The Guardian has a June 2019 piece with opposing views by Ta-Nrhisi Coates and Coleman Hughes.
I am struck in my own life with the idea that inherited wealth is not as “valuable” as wealth that had been earned by one’s own labor, and typically there are strings attached or limitations in many trusts and probate outcomes.  I have been around SJ activism in the past that wanted to get rid of all inherited wealth.  Yet, the idea of “generational wealth” got mentioned at least once on Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice” series 15 years ago.

Monday, December 02, 2019

NYTimes opinion piece shows how difficult Alzheimer's can be for other family members, even when largely behavioral

Jeneen Interlandi exposes “The Unending Indignities of Alzheimer’s” on p. A26 of Monday’s New York Times, as “editorial observer”.  This essay has been reproduced on many blogs and websites in full.

She presents a narrative about her father who, at 78, is diagnosed mainly because of behavioral problems, which actually got him kicked out of a senior center and which now mean he has to have 24-hour supervision.  But because he can dress himself and do some functions, the family can’t get indirect Medicaid payments which, in New Jersey, is managed by third party companies and insurance agencies for nursing homes.  I worked (for Bradford) on Medicaid MMIS for New York in the 1970s and I don’t recall a mechanism like this.

There could be a danger that a senior whose behavior is just eccentric or who is overwhelmed with housekeeping could be considered to present a problem for others in a community. 

My own mother was officially diagnosed by the neurologist (who was an O.D.) in the last year of her life (passed away at 97 in 2010) and one scan showed some plaque, but I believe most of her problems, which came on in the last two years of life, were due to congestive heart failure and aortic stenosis.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Moderate presidential candidates could demand more from well-off retirees and appease progressives

When Deval Patrick, former governor of Massachusetts, jumped into the presidential race today “at the last minute” and was asked about the perception that he is a pro-business moderate, he answered (on CNN at least) that he was not afraid to make radical policy proposals and ask a lot of individual citizens.

I think you can imagine scenarios of what could be asked of retirees who are “better off”.

One obvious thing could be to accept means testing on social security as of some date, maybe even relatively suddenly.

Another would be to encourage families not to leave (as much) money to relatives but more to causes and charities.

One thing I’ve noticed. When estates do go through probate, if the wills said so, then the beneficiaries tend to wind up with full distribution.

It is common to avoid probate and speed up distribution to set up trusts.  This works faster in some states (like Virginia) than others (like Ohio).  But it is common to distribute some percentage, like 25%, to adult children, and leave the rest in trust for future beneficiaries (like non-profits and charities or disabled family members).  Attorneys, left on their own, are likely to write them up this way.
A progressive president might not just stop with the super rich on wealth taxes; he or she could try to encourage more generosity from the moderately well off (from the sociopathic baby boomers) .  For example, he could try to set up sponsorship and adoption programs for stranded migrants and encourage them to step up.  What about our own homeless?

Thursday, November 07, 2019

What's the difference between SSDI and SSI? New group explains in a video

Citizens Disability explains the difference between SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) and SSI (Supplemental Security Income).
SSDI is an “earned” benefit, and SSI is not.  But SSDI is a kind of “insurance”, and is not like an “annuity”.
SSI is more like a welfare benefit. It limits how much you or a family can have in disposable assets.
There are more details on one of my Wordpress blogs. 

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Public option annuity, and Social Security "hybrid" proposals; also troubles with survivors' benefits?

Mark Hulbert of Marketwatch presents a Social Security reform that would institute a “hybrid” plan that makes Social Security more like an insurance company annuity, as a supplemental pension with a “public option”. 

This idea is also discussed in July 2019 in The Atlantic by Ganesh Sitaraman (Vanderbilt) and Anne L. Alsott (Yale).    
Note the video below:  people have trouble getting Social Security when they have a survivor's spousal pension? 

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Doctor says a lot of us look at the process of dying as shameful

Big Think has a video “We’re Looking at Death All Wrong.  Here’s Why”.

He talks about personal shame in being sick or incapacitated, and that people should be open to the idea that disabled people can enjoy intimacy.

The speaker is Dr BJ Miller, author of “A Beginner's Guide to the End: Practical Advice for Living Life and Facing Death”. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Should an adult son who takes care of mom pay rent too?

Carolyn Hax, in the Washington Post today, Style Section, page C8, has an interesting letter about filial piety of adult children, here
A daughter complains about her brother’s living with elderly mom and taking care of her while not paying rent.
I didn’t pay it (2003-2010).  A bit of a moral dilemma?