FRANKLY SPEAKING: WHY ARE MILITARY FAMILIES ON FOOD STAMPS?

This Memorial Day ceremonies will be curtailed because of the Coronavirus outbreak in many parts of the country. Usually they would be remembering those who served, those who never made it back, along with political elected officials sporting their American Flag pins on their lapels, many giving speeches how important our military personnel are and prayers for those who gave their lives for our freedom and ending their speeches with, “And may God Bless America”.

I imagine all are sincere, but I have to ask why are our veterans treated just a notch above our native Americans, the American Indian? 

Why, I must ask, are many of our Military families on Food Stamps? We celebrate their heroic efforts, budget billions for the finest equipped military in the world, yet some of America’s bravest families are going hungry. Why aren’t we doing more to help them?

Our politicians boast of their efforts to fund the military but forget to properly fund their families, and do little for them after their discharge, or permanent injuries. 

I’m a little behind on my reading of Reader’s Digest, just catching up with April’s edition, but I came upon an article about our military families which disgusted me.

Many know military life can be a challenge, a spouse keeping a house and family together while the other spouse is on assignment in some foreign country. But you would never expect the greatest challenge as a military spouse would be feeding the kids. 

Some days they head for the food pantries set up by non-profits to feed the needy. relying on the kindness of strangers, an embarrassment for anyone but especially for military families working  for the richest country in the world. Many are on food stamps. 

No one who joins the military expects to get rich, but living with the military should be more manageable. Some think people who, in the military, are rolling in dough because of some of the benefits of being a military family, free health, commissary discounts, etc. 

Not so, states the article. Data from the 2017 annual Census Bureau survey show’s that 16,000 active-duty service members received food stamps that year. But that number doesn’t include the thousands of military families around the country who are not eligible for food stamps because they make too much money to qualify and yet routinely rely on charities or loans from family to get by. 

In fact, a survey from Blue Star Families, a military-spouse support group, says 13 percent of military families report trouble making ends meet, compared with 7 percent of civilians.

Perhaps the out-of-date housing formula used in the location of military families has a lot to do with their money problems. Living in cities such as San Diego, find difficulty qualifying for federal food assistance, and a transient life-moving from base to base, makes it challenging for spouses to build careers when they don’t know when and where their families will be transferred next. 

The lack of a second income is a big hit  for many. A communications officer in the Navy mentioned in the article, makes $34,279 a year before taxes. That’s just under the national poverty level for a family of 6. The military does pay for housing, (some are rat infested or poorly maintained), but the housing allowance is treated as income and that additional “money” is often enough to make a family ineligible for federal food assistance known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Another outdated flaw in the military pay system is, although enlisted service members receive a food allowance, about $373 per month, that sum is intended for the member alone, not his or her family, and it does not increase if one has dependents. 

At many schools where military children are the majority, nearly 70% receive reduced lunches because our military are paid so poorly they qualify for free lunch and breakfast.

And from the Department of Defense, their spin on this subject: The DOD sees the problem of food insecurity in the military as being minimal. Troops are well paid, they insist: there’s a subsidized grocery store on each base: and families can avail themselves of the financial literacy training the military provides. 

And screw you I say, and the horse you rode in on. 

One military wife says she did seek financial help form the military. She says it didn’t help. He husband and she took advantage of resources available to them. “We’ve met with financial counselors provided by the military. We had done that work and yet she and her husband still barely scape by.”

Officers on the other hand live a much better life, the higher the rank the more perks. Maybe that’s why many make a career out of the military. 

No different than in corporate America; the Top executives rake in the big bread, and the work horses get the crumbs. 

I quickly found out how important I was to my government while in basic training at Fort Knox, KY when my sergeant told me to take care of my M-1 rifle. I could be replaced but not the rifle. I guess not much has changed since 1956. 

I guess the issue is about government priorities. How can we have new billion-dollar warships when our sailors are struggling to eat and worrying about the health and welfare of their families?

Politicians shout, “Support our troops”, then forget to give them a living wage, enough for them to live more comfortably. 

The give us 100 percent to this country, and the country isn’t giving back. 

My prayers for safety go out to all those men and women serving our great country, may God protect them and my thanks to those who served to protect us and to the families who have most loved ones in service to our country. 

GOVERNOR CARNEY LOOKING OUT FOR BEST INTEREST OF ALL DELAWAREANS

I wouldn’t be in Governor Carney’s shoes if you paid me 5 times his salary. Think of pleasing everyone with the difficult decisions he makes daily trying to protect his citizens of this state from getting the Coronavirus and from dying and having to see photos in the media of people protesting your decision.

All the while you have those protesting and parading about their rights to be in public, parade in large groups, yet not have the decency to wear a mask around others who might be the next victims of this deadly virus. 

I didn’t mind seeing photos this week end of the triumpful protestors at the beach waving their signs and American flags but I was pissed watching them parade without any protective gear over their mouths while on the boardwalk, and certainly no respect for others walking together like rat packs. 

Well, I’m sure under pressure from businesses, no doubt hurting from this shut down, and I know the majority of businesses in Delaware are small businesses, the Governor has relented sooner than he wished to open some businesses and allow public access to these establishments. 

Our Governor has the best interest of the public that elected him and those who did not vote for him. In a perfect world he could make everyone happy, well maybe not, but elected officials have to sometimes make the tough call that goes against the grain of some, however right that call may be. 

I am an elderly citizen with medical problems deemed dangerous with this virus. I along with many elderly like myself appreciate the governors conservative approach and will stand with him on his decision making. 

That is unless he suggests we take Trumps recommended malaria drug and disinfectants. Then all bets are off. 

TRUMP SELF PROCLAIMED SCIENTEST/MEDICAL DOC FINDS CURE FOR VIRUS

At last our President, self claimed know it all can fix it all by himself has proven he has been right all along, by announcing he’s taking a malaria drug to protect against the Coronavirus.

Even so bold and confident despite warnings from his own government that it shold only be administered for COVID-`9 in a hospital or research setting due to potential fatal side effects. 

Several ;prominent doctors said they worried that people would infer from Trump’s example that the drug works or is safe.

Dr. David Aronoff, infectious diseases chief at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville stated, “Hydroxychloroquine can cause potentially serious heart rhythm problems even in healthy people, but “It’s hard to infer” that Trumps’ artery plaque, revealed in tests from his 2018 physical, makes the drug especially dangerous for him.

“There is no evidence that hydroxychloroquine is effective for the treatment or the prevention of COVID-19,” said Dr. Patrice Harris, president of the American Medical Association. The results to date are not promising.’ 

Even though we should believe our leaders when they make comments such as this, I have my doubts of it being true. You see when Trump said it his lips were moving and that usually results in untrue statements. 

However, if the malaria drug works as Trump says, all I can say is, “Pass the Clorox.”

FRANKLY SPEAKING: I’M NOT THE BRIGHTEST BULB IN THE BOX, BUT I LISTEN WELL

I admit I’m not the brightest bulb in the box but throughout my career owing a business, and almost two decades in local, county and state government, I have learned a lot by listening to the advice of people smarter than me.

Their is nothing wrong with asking for advice, then making a decision. That’s why it is smart to surround yourself with smart people.

I have learned more recently as I age, to listen to my medical team of doctors, and carefully follow their advice, never missing taking my medication and watching my diet. 

I rate my medical professionals just that, professional, a master in their field.

I wish our president would do the same with his medical advisors instead of misleading and upset the citizens of this country.  Unfortunately, Trump has his group of cult followers believing everything he says, even to drinking disinfectants because he said they would kill the current virus epidemic. 

They say you can’t fix stupid. I am starting to believe that. 

Trump has stopped having his daily press conferences because I think he was finally convinced the conferences were hurting his poll numbers, because “his” facts were being corrected by his own medical staff and fact checked by the media which he labels “fake news” because the media corrects him. 

Wednesday he chastised the leading medical scientist in the country, his own medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci for playing both sides, not doing his job. 

Watching the press conferences, you can see Trumps medical team dismay at his comments. If they speak out they are fired. Trump knows more than anyone, and although this outbreak can’t be blamed on Trump, his handling or mishandling of the virus had led to many unnecessary deaths. 

His refusal tout the virus as a fluke, passing within the month, or when the weather turns warmer it would go away, lost valuable time allowing the virus to spread rapidly, not have the necessary supplies to thwart the spread of this deadly virus.

His leadership leaves a lot to be desired: refusing to wear a mask when medical leaders have said it will help in the spreading of germs, staying away from crowds, including several WW11 soldiers  speaking to them too close for comfort, saying the wind was blowing away from them.

He certainly qualifies for not being the brightest bulb in the box. 

FRANKLY SPEAKING:LAID OFF? YOU MAY NOT RETURN TO YOUR JOB

If you think your “Temporary” layoff is just around the corner, you may be one of many where that layoff may be permanent. 

Many owners of small chains restaurants, and other small restaurants and businesses are reevaluating their former claims that once the viral outbreak had subsided, their companies planned to recall all its laid-off workers. 

Now these businesses have cut back estimates as reopening hasn’t caused the business ‘boom’ many has predicted. 

Call it realism or pessimism, but more employees are coming to a reluctant conclusion: Many of the employees they’re had to lay off in the face of the pandemic might not be returning to their old jobs anytime soon. 

Some of the larger companies won’t likely survive at all despite aid provided by the federal government. 

If so, that would undercut a glimmer of hope in the brutal April jobs report the government issued last Friday, in which a record shattering 20.5 million people lost jobs. A sizable majority of the jobless-nearly by 80%-characterized their loss as only temporary. 

In some of the larger states, Texas as an example, has restrictions on the amount of customers allowed in their restaurants as a compromise for opening. The percentage is so small to a number of larger restaurants which Texas is noted for, is not enough patrons to make a profit. The success to a restaurant is to turn over a number of tables to be profitable. 

Frankly Speaking I believe companies are using this pandemic to ‘weed out’ the slackers in their work force instead of having to ‘fire them’.

And as many larger corporations have done over the past decade is to hire less and put more on those who want to stay employed earning more profits for the corporations. 

 

I KNOW WHEN THE VIRUS THREAT WILL END

Yep, I can tell you when the Coronavirus pandemic will end based on past experience.

When I had my shoe store, the second wave of popularity for girls saddle, white and black with red soles shoes came back in demand, (the first wave was in the ’50’s), it was almost impossible to keep an inventory. 

For each reorder, no matter how large, I was lucky to receive one or two pairs, usually not in popular sizes. 

So, later during this fad, tired of getting nothing, I put in an order for 100 pair, figuring maybe I’d get a dozen pair or so. By golly, I was able to receive that entire order. I was elated, but later sorry I received that order. 

The fad for those saddle shoes had dropped overnight like hail from the sky. It took me over a year to rid my inventory of those shoes even when I put them on sale. 

Either every young girl in America had purchased those shoes, or the fad had ended. 

So I figure when my bride can go into any store and purchase all the toilet paper and paper towels, hand sanitizers, pasta or whatever, the worst of the virus is over, everyone has what they thought they needed….until the snow comes. 

FRANKLY SPEAKING: GOV CARNEY TAKING HEAT WELL

When Sherman Tribbitt was governor of Delaware after serving a term as Lt. Governor, I asked him one day in his office while sitting behind the Governors desk,  instead of being behind the other side of the desk as Lt. Governor was much different. 

His answer: “You don’t have a chance to second guess your decision.” I wondered this week if Governor Carney who served as Lt. Governor from 2001-2009 had those same thoughts. 

Over the past several months Governor Carney has had to make decisions affecting the health and welfare of his citizens, and those affecting the personal, financial, and business welfare of others. 

I have known the governor since he was the Finance Director under Governor Tribbitt, I know him to be compassionate, willing to compromise, listens to everyone, and makes his decision based on facts, and compassion. 

I feel the public, being on the outside, not knowing the studies he has read, the pressure he has had from Republican legislators, and the marches to reopen businesses, and the risks for a second outbreak which the medical and scientific professionals say could be worse than the first COVD-19 has not been fair to our Governor. 

Unlike our president who refuses to accept advice from his medical team, CCD Task Force, instead deciding lives, especially seniors don’t matter, cares more about the status of the stock market and his re-election, we have a Governor who considers the dilemma of all of his citizens. 

So, the Governor is beginning to open small businesses with limits, and he is still receiving grumbling from those still facing restrictions. He is acting conservatively giving a little at a time. Isn’t that what Republicans stand for; bring Conservative?

Governor Carney has been sticking with his program, not flip flopping every day like our president. Let’s cut him some slack. 

Yes, we will get through this together, but let us allow those in charge, who are following this epidemic every day, let’s cut them some slack. 

 

 

TRUMPS ‘HEAVY WORK’ SCHEDULE

April 24, 2020
Trump in the Oval Office

Al Drago/Pool/Getty Images

Everyone confined to home during the COVID-19 pandemic deals with the angst, inconvenience, and boredom differently. President Trump, though not like any other American in most regards, begins and ends his day in front of the TV, arriving in the Oval Office as late as noon and “usually in a sour mood after his morning marathon of television,” Katie Rogers and Annie Karni report at The New York Times, piecing together the president’s “strange new life” through interviews with more than a dozen administration officials and close advisers.

By the time he arrives at work, Trump “has been up in the White House master bedroom as early as 5 a.m. watching Fox News, then CNN, with a dollop of MSNBC thrown in for rage viewing,” the Times reports. “The president sees few allies no matter which channel he clicks. He is angry even with Fox, an old security blanket, for not portraying him as he would like to be seen.”

Trump calls advisers with the TV on, stews about internal polls showing him losing support in some swing states, sits through his intelligence briefing, and gets tested for COVID-19 once a week, the Times reports. “But the president’s primary focus, advisers said, is assessing how his performance on the virus is measured in the news media, and the extent to which history will blame him.” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told the Times that Trump’s “highest priority is the health and safety of the American people,” not his news coverage.

It isn’t all grim. Trump looks forward to his 90-minute-plus press briefings every evening, viewing them “as prime-time shows that are the best substitute for the rallies he can no longer attend but craves,” Rogers and Karni report. And if he doesn’t work too late, Trump “occasionally has dinner with his wife, Melania Trump, and their son, Barron.” Read more about the president’s lockdown schedule at The New York Times. Peter Weber

ECONOMIC RECOVERY A L-O-N-G WAY OFF

With Trump and Republicans urging state Governors to reopen their doors to stimulate the economy, unfortunately they think the flip of a switch will bring the economy to earlier records. NOT!

Trump is encouraging reopening of businesses, encouraging rallies for that purpose, then giving GA Republican governor hell for doing do. I can’t figure his flip flopping. 

Recovery from this downward trend is worse than the Great Recession under Jr. Bush; the Great Depression, I can’t say, not old enough to remember, but I bet it’s darn close. Instead of soup lines we have organizations providing meals and groceries. 

Banks haven’t closed, as long as the FEDS keep printing money they won’t. Many businesses will not reopen because they are broke, or they didn’t qualify for a small interest loan, and the businesses that do open will not hire everyone back at once because the number of people working before the virus will not be the same.

Those called back will be further in debt than they were before, so spending for luxuries, dinning out, new vehicle, vacation, etc. will be out of the picture. And, the longer people are out of work, debt mounts and it will take longer for them to get back on their feet.   

Some unemployed and lucky enough to have some savings are eating into that pot, most are not that fortunate. Billions of dollars have been lost in the stock market, seniors who are dependent upon dividends for much needed income. 

A relaxed penalty for drawing money from your IRA now allows some money to be withdrawn without paying a penalty, still that is money people especially seniors and soon to be retirees didn’t count on losing. 

This week we will see several states allowing the opening of tattoo parlors, open beaches hair salons, restaurants, churches and other places of worship as a few states, mostly southern states governed by Republican governors ease their restrictions while gambling on a second wave.

Delaware’s governor, John Carney has joined with other regional states, PA, NJ, and NY to plan a unified approach and much more conservative toward any reopening. 

He has resisted calls to reopen immediately, stating he process will be governed by date and will put public health first. Thank you governor. 

“We won’t turn the lights back on or move the dimmer switch up a day too soon or a day too late, but we will err on the side of making sure that people are safe and secure, making sure that we’re following the science, that we have the tools we need to test, to isolate and to track,” said the governor.

For the past few years many economists have predicted this country had not fully recovered from the Great Recession and another recession could set this country back years before recovering.

Well I think that time has arrived.