The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

April 30, 2009

Explaining misinformation

Published May 1, 2009

Sometimes misinformation can be explained. While I was drinking a can of “Orange Soda”, it became evident that there was no fruit content. However, dictionary definition No. 2 for “orange” is that orange is a color between red and yellow. Sure enough, the ingredient list includes both red dye and yellow dye. The product is really orange (color) soda.

However, misinformation about Social Security benefits defies explanation. I am well beyond retirement age and I do receive a benefit check. However, because I also am fortunate to be able to go to work, it really seems that all I am doing is funding my own Social Security check. I pay Social Security tax and Medicare tax and I have income tax withholding from my benefit check, and with my employer’s contribution, it seems that I give more than I receive.

The general population probably believes that Medicare benefits also are available to all retirement age folks. Not true! When I go to the hospital, part of the bill is covered by my company group insurance and I pay the other part. None is paid by Medicare. Now, if I were rich, not needing to work, I would be eligible for benefits, but because I work, I am not. I conclude that policies of the Social Security Administration benefit “working people” unless you actually happen to be a real working person.

My last example of “double speak” comes from the pages of the Palestine Herald-Press. In an address to the Rotary Club, the mayor was touting the benefit to the downtown business district caused by the spending of $1.4 out of an approved $1.6 million. (In perspective, this is about twice the amount that was spent by the county government to not paint the Federal Building.) In the same edition was the news item that the L&L; Shoe Store was one of the last remaining retail businesses downtown.

Now that his money has been spent, people who live in the adjacent area are waiting for the return of retail shopping to downtown. Of course, there are those unemployed folks, who are waiting for the jobs that will result from this “economic development”. And those of us who have endured the humiliation of being gawked at as a resident of the “museum”, who have had basic property rights confiscated by the “architecture police”, are waiting to see any tangible benefit to this expenditure. My conclusion is that the $1.6 million has been spent to benefit “Palestine residents” but excludes any benefit to anyone who actually lives in Palestine.

Alan Russell