- Chair's Corner
- from the Editor
- MEDICARE | SOCIAL SECURITY
- Final Thoughts
Have you ever thought about the “positives” of getting older?
We hear a lot about the difficulties of aging – how hard it is to get older. It is always the bad things that get emphasized. But recently I read a website, The Positives of Growing Older - Pennypack Nursing and Rehabilitation, that looks at the “positives” of aging. And I am going to quote directly to show what this group highlighted:
The Elderly Accept Themselves
How often in our 20s, 30s, 40s and even 50s do we look in the mirror and feel disappointed with our bodies? Not so much in our 70s and 80s. The elderly have got it right in a place where their younger counterparts have not. Rather than comparing their bodies to women on the catwalk, they are grateful their legs are able to take them on a long walk with their loved ones.
The Elderly Have More Realistic Expectations
When your expectations are high, disappointments follow when they are not realized. As author of Women Rowing North: Navigating Life’s Currents and Flourishing as We Age, Mary Pipher pointed out:
Older women have learnt the importance of reasonable expectations. We know that all our desires will not be fulfilled, that the world isn’t organized around pleasing us and that others, especially our children, are not waiting for our opinions and judgements. We know that the joys and sorrows of life are as mixed together as salt and water in the sea. We don’t expect perfection or even relief from suffering. A good book, a piece of homemade pie or a call from a friend can make us happy. As my aunt Grace, who lived in the Ozarks, put it: “I get what I want, but I know what to want.”
Mental Health Can Get Better
A study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry conducted a study of 1,546 adults between the ages of 21 to 100. It found an indication of: “the possibility of a linear improvement in mental health beginning in young adulthood rather than a U-shaped curve reported in some prior studies. Lifespan research combining psychosocial and biological markers may improve our understanding of resilience to mental disability in older age and lead to broad-based interventions promoting mental health in all age groups.”
As we age, we tend to trust others more. Guards seem to be put down more as people get older and the more trusting we become, the happier we are likely to be. Financial stress is usually less (mortgages have been paid off; offspring are independent) and that also helps happiness. Negative emotions are let go and one is able to focus much more on positive events.”
So, let’s be positive as DA Seniors! Join us on Friday 29 September for a chat, consider giving some of your time to our caucus, and we’ll see you in September.
— Betsy Ettorre, Chair of the Seniors Caucus
from the Editor
I have to begin with a heart felt acknowledgment for the lives, possessions, and precious family mementos lost in the fire that swept through the historic old fishing town of Lahaina, Maui. If you’d like to contribute to help those left homeless, donations are being collected on behalf of these organizations: Our Hawai’i, ‘Āina Momona, Hawai‘i Funder Hui, Kākoʻo Maui, Onipa‘a Maui, The Hawaiian Humane Society and many more.
We will continue to address climate change and gun regulations in addition to the issues that most directly affect Seniors.
August is filled with interesting holidays, include one for us - World Seniors Day!
5 - International Day of Charity
6 - National Read a Book Day
8 - International Literacy Day
14 - Social Security Anniversary
16 - Inflation Reduction Act Anniversary
15 - International Day of Democracy (Let’s Vote!)
21 - World Gratitude Day & World Seniors Day & International Day of Peace
In the face of book bans in red states, let’s all buy an armload of books this month!
As we head into autumn, we tend to reset our goals for the rest of the year. Below we’ve shared what we feel is needed to win back the House and keep the Senate next year. Perhaps you have ideas of your own you’d like to share? If so, please send us an email.
But first, let’s look at some 4th of July stats:
As friends and neighbors honored the victims and survivors of the mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, on the one-year mark of the tragedy, seven people were shot and killed, and 48 others were shot and wounded.
In Baltimore, at least two people were shot and killed and 28 others were shot and wounded at a block party.
In Wichita, Kansas, a shooting at a nightclub left nine people shot and wounded and two others injured from being trampled as people fled.
In Shreveport, Louisiana, at least three people were shot and killed and seven others wounded at a Fourth of July block party.
In Washington, D.C., at least nine people were shot and wounded, including a 9-year-old and a 17-year-old, as they were celebrating the Fourth of July.
In Philadelphia, five people were shot and killed and two children—ages 2 and 13—were shot and wounded in a mass shooting.
And in Chicago, at least three people were shot and killed and 27 others were shot and wounded in acts of gun violence throughout the weekend.
So far in 2023, a total of 426 people have died in mass shootings. The AR-15 is the mass shooter's weapon of choice.
We MUST ban ARs and all other military gear from our streets and neighborhoods!
As we head into another even more contentious election cycle, listen to what California Governor Gavin Newsom had to say to Sean Hannity about economic policies (In July, before Hannity left Fox News). A few facts he shared:
71% of the GDP in America is from blue counties.
7 of the top 10 dependent states are red states.
8 of the 10 states with the highest murder rates are red and gun deaths are almost 2x as high in red states.
We’re [blue states are] subsidizing red states. Progressive economic policies work.
The GOP has begun selecting their Congressional “targets” in the House and Senate. Top of the list are Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Jacky Rosen of Nevada, Ruben Gallego of Arizona, and Jon Tester of Montana.
In 2024 we have a historic opportunity to fight back against the rise of GOP extremism and keep four critical Senate seats blue. Forward Blue started the $4 for 4 Fund. By chipping in just $4, you can help us elect to keep the Senate Blue!
Voting Twice, and other GOP crimes
Remember what a BIG DEAL it was to have voted twice? Not that they found many incidences.
In 2020, citing Covid, the Republicans “sales pitch” asserted without evidence that “voting by mail wasn’t safe” even thought voter fraud of any kind is extremely rare in the United States. (Yes of course! It was much better to force people together, to stand in line, without water, toilets, or consideration for their dignity.) Then, President Trump repeatedly encouraged voters in North Carolina to vote twice.
In 2023, the GOP’s new tactic is to change voting laws by whatever means necessary to win elections. As we know, desperate people are dangerous. The only way to stop them is to Take Action: VOTE, tell your friends, post about elections on social media, phone bank with DA, donate to DA, volunteer, write letters, send emails, call your Reps in Congress, and join with us on events and campaigns in 2023 and 2024.
Trump’s Tactics for 2024
Candidates have already started going head-to-head competing for the top job. Last weekend Trump trolled Ron DeSantis at the Iowa state fair as the message "Be Likeable, Ron!" literally circled overhead. Both Trump and DeSantis are ruthlessly competitive, and we wonder, will they destroy each other and the Republican party by November 2024?
Have you signed up to help out our State Teams? We’re building from the ground up, and taking on issues of importance state by state. You can join a team, or if you have questions, email the organizers.
Facebook State Groups
For the past 10+ years, volunteers from Democrats Abroad have run groups for each U.S. state on Facebook. They post state-specific voting deadlines and “how to” information on all aspects of voting. If you’re curious about your voting state group, you can read about them here, and find you state group here.
Should Clarence Thomas resign?
From Ted Lieu (D-CA) “Would billionaires have given Justice Clarence Thomas massive gifts if he was just a law clerk? NO. That’s what makes this corrupt. They were seeking to curry favor with Justice Thomas, either directly or indirectly. And Justice Thomas violated the law in accepting the gifts.”
The Freedom to Vote Act vs. the ACE Act
“In early July, House Republicans introduced the American Confidence in Elections (ACE) Act, a sweeping voter suppression bill with recommendations for nationwide policy changes. Importantly, it would harness Congress’ control over Washington, D.C., to overhaul the city’s elections, exemplifying how Republicans want states to revise their own election systems.
In a near-total contrast, the Freedom to Vote Act, first introduced by House Democrats in 2021, seeks to bolster access to the ballot box for every eligible voter across the country in pursuit of fulfilling our country’s still-aspirational democratic ideals. This week, Senate and House Democrats reintroduced the Freedom to Vote Act in response to the ACE Act’s introduction.” Read more …
MEDICARE | SOCIAL SECURITY
JOIN Social Security Works!
SSA Strategy for 2023-2025
Nancy Altman, President of Social Security Works has shared her plan with us.
“This week, nearly 200 House Democrats, led by Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), reintroduced Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust. The legislation would expand Social Security’s modest benefits, with no cuts, and keep the system strong for decades to come.
Senate Democrats are taking action to protect and expand Social Security, as well. On the same day that Rep. Larson introduced his legislation, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) held a Senate Budget Committee hearing on his legislation, the Medicare and Social Security Fair Share Act. The hearing on the Whitehouse legislation, which brings in enough revenue from the wealthiest among us to ensure that all benefits will be paid in full and on time for the next 75 years and beyond, was aptly named: “Protecting Social Security for All: Making the Wealthy Pay Their Fair Share.”
Are You Age 70 or Older and Not Yet Getting Your SS Retirement Benefits?
Retirement is not one-size-fits-all. It can mean different things to different people. Perhaps you have not applied for Social Security retirement benefits because you’re still working or are delaying applying so you can get the higher benefit. If you’re age 70 or older, you should apply now for the benefits you’re owed. Your benefits will not increase if you continue to delay applying for them because you are 70 or older. Read more…
Robert Reich’s plan to keep SS solvent
One plan introduced in Congress would eliminate the cap on earnings over $250,000 and also subject investment income to Social Security taxes. As a result, Social Security would stay solvent for another 75 years, while 93% of American households would NOT see an increase in taxes. Scrap the cap!
Watch this week’s video with Robert Reich in full vacation attire, and share it with your friends, to help make people aware of the real problem with Social Security, and the solution. Social Security protects our nation’s future.
We support our Youth Caucus and their future
The SSA encourages the passage of the College for All Act 2023 (HR.4117/S.1963) which would eliminate tuition and fees at four-year public colleges and universities for families making up to $125,000, and would make community college tuition and fees free for all. We ask that you sign their petition today. Introduced by Bernie Sanders and Pramila Jayapal, Senator Sanders has written this paper in support of S.1963.
Our recent trip to Washington D.C. has given us clarity on the way forward to provide legislative relief for Americans abroad on our tax issues. But Democrats Abroad can’t do it alone, we need your help. You have to speak up and tell your elected officials the problems you’re having with maintaining your tax filing obligation with the IRS.
And no, you’re not going to get red-flagged by the IRS or thrown in jail for speaking out. Most Congressional offices we speak to don’t even know about the tax problems of Americans abroad because they don’t hear from you, their constituents abroad. How are they to fix a problem they don’t even know exists?
So our ask is this: If you’ve not contacted your Members of Congress about this issue recently, please follow this updated guidance on how to contact your Members of Congress in Washington D.C. and call them again (yes, call!) We need your voice to be heard, and your voice is a lot louder than you realize!
Submit Your Formal Comment on FBARs
Want to let FinCEN know what you think about FBAR filing? Here's your chance! FinCEN invites comments on FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR). This request for comments is made pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA). You're welcome to submit written comments, which must be received on or before October 10, 2023.
Katie Porter is on the warpath with Tax Prep Companies
“The IRS often has all the information it needs to send you a tax return, but these massive corporations profit off of being a middle-man. Every year they lobby Congress so they can continue profiting off of taxpayers. But it gets worse. Now, an investigation I was a part of found that they sold user data to Google and Meta.
This investigation could lead to legal action, and I’ll keep pushing for answers from these companies.
Taxpayers are waiting for the IRS to develop a free and simple way to do their taxes so that we don’t have to rely on these corporations. As soon as next year that could be a reality, and I’ve been pushing the IRS to make this available to as many Americans as possible.
I’ll always stand with consumers, not predatory corporations. Sign on to show your support for holding these bad actors accountable.“ - Katie Porter (D-CA)
If you’ve just moved overseas and want to learn about tax filing, Americans Overseas created a FAQ section at the bottom of this page that will walk you through the basic information.
As we know, moving abroad is not all glamor, travel, and wine tastings. It comes at an emotional cost.
Many countries have visas designed for retirees. Typically, they require applicants to disclose income and assets to prove they won’t become a financial burden. This WSJ article tells us the financial story. But it hasn’t ended as well as retirees imagined. Many move several times before they find the culture they feel comfortable living with.
If you’ve experienced pain or joy moving overseas, we’d like to hear your stories.
Americans are Moving Abroad
The number of Americans living in Spain grew by 13% from 2019 to 2021, and home sales to Americans jumped 88% from the first half of 2019 to the first half of 2022, according to a report by the General Council of Notaries in Spain.
With so many of us retiring in France, here is a lovely article confirming “the good life”. We know it’s not la dolce vita for us all, and we found this article interesting on the pros and cons of living abroad.
Fridays - 29 September - Coffee Chat
Don’t miss our Seniors and Disability Caucus monthly chats from 9 to 10:30 am Eastern Time (US & Canada). Everyone is very welcome!
RSVP to get the Zoom link, and add it to your calendar. Next month: 27 October.
Volunteers are the backbone of our organization. You can find a list of positions DA is looking to fill on DA’s Volunteer page.
- The Global Seniors Caucus is always looking for volunteers. Email us for details on our volunteer opportunities.
- The Global Black Caucus is searching to fill more positions. Get in touch here.
- The Global Communications Team is also looking for volunteers as they ramp up for the 2024 election! Do you have a communications background? Are you interested in helping? If so, please fill out the Global Communications Team Interest Form.
We need pastors and priests to remind us that one day we’re going to die. We need writers, painters, singers and poets to remind us that we’re not dead yet.
- C.K.Chesteron, a sometimes cantankerous but brilliant British writer
A time comes when silence is betrayal.
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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