Paul Kusuda’s column
Will income match outgo needs?

By Paul H. Kusuda

A question many of us face as we approach Income Tax time is:  “Will we owe taxes for year
2011?”  Meeting last year’s expenses was not all that easy; a number of us still have credit
card debts hanging over us.  Well, last year was last year, and we got by; now, we face the
rest of 2012.  Will we have enough income to cover our costs for the rest of this year?  It
seems as though costs keep going up, and, for most of us, income doesn’t seem to keep
up.  At election time, do we blame our President, our Governor, our elected officials, those
who get millions of dollars each year and already have lots of money, or the economy in
general?  When will the unemployed and underemployed get jobs that pay more than
minimum wages?

Those who are retired will see no increase in retirement benefit; in fact, they’ll probably see a
decrease.  Those who have some kind of handicapping condition that require dependence
on public funds will probably suffer decreases in public aid because tax funds are being squeezed, especially in the case
of programs aimed to meet common human needs.  Those receiving Social Security benefits will face smaller monthly
checks because Medicare costs will continue to rise, as they have the past few years.  Unfortunately, for those who have
retired, there appears to be no promising answer.  The average retirees will have little opportunity to increase their
incomes even if the over-all economy brightens and employment opportunities increase.

Two categories may be considered:  First, persons with major worries about meeting current costs of living because of
insufficient financial assets and income.  Second, persons with no major worry about meeting current costs of living.  The
second group is lucky because its members have sufficient or more than sufficient financial assets and income (and, I
hope, sufficient life insurance coverage), employment income(s), savings/investments, and retirement benefits including
Social Security.

The first group, however, faces problems related to meeting current costs of living (food, housing, clothing, transportation,
taxes, etc.) and unplanned-for costs of health care emergencies.  Medical care received without insurance coverage is
more than costly.  Yet, preventive and emergency care must be dealt with regardless of cost.  For the elderly, long-term
care will be a reality.  Among the first group will be
found the retired or persons with some kind of
handicapping impairment, the unemployed or
unemploy-able, the underemployed, the
homeless, persons with insufficient retirement
benefits or minimal Social Security benefits, and
those with insufficient savings or investments.

The answer must be found, but individually, we
can do little if anything to have any kind of impact
on reducing the problems faced by those in the
first group.  At local, state, and federal levels of
government, more tax funds and active
involvement must be directed toward improving
the employment situation.  Education-related
funding and support must be increased so that
considerations about the future are not lost in
efforts to deal with present funding dilemmas.  
The primary responsibility of individuals is to vote
for candidates who will put foremost their
constituents’ welfare.  Words alone are useless.