Political Issues

Political Issue, Budget Cuts: Meals On Wheels – If a Tree Falls in a Forest

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” is a philosophical thought experiment that raises questions regarding observation and knowledge of reality.

…More about “If a Tree Falls in a Forest” at Wikipedia.

Trump’s Budget Director: Meals on Wheels “Sounds Great” but Doesn’t “Work” – Slate, 16 March 2017.

Here’s the truth about Meals on Wheels in Trump’s budget – USA Today, 18 March 2017.

My opinion is that the claim by Mick Mulvaney, to defend eliminating Meals on Wheels, because the program is “not showing any results” lacks common sense . . . and proof that it’s not working – therefore my comparison to the meaning of the tree falling in a forest and not being heard or seen. I’m not anti-Trump, but this is an indication his administration is out of touch with reality on this specific subject. Also, the mainstream news media on the far political left is fanning the flames to cook this issue with misinformation.

Fact is, the federal government is not eliminating Meals on Wheels. It will continue to exist well enough without Uncle Sam – or rather now Uncle Mick.

Fact is, some of the money comes directly from seniors who use the program! Yes, some of them pay for the meals and delivery! Those who can afford to do so. Even so, no one is turned away for lack of ability to pay. Some money comes from charities and churches, as well as private donations. Depending on location (city), some aid might come from cities and counties, as well as from states. “No one is turned away from Meals on Wheels due to inability to pay. Your cost for meals is based on a sliding scale, and we work with you to determine an affordable fee for your budget based on your gross monthly income minus certain expenses. Meals on Wheels can now accept SNAP (food stamps) for payment.”

So this isn’t just about what seniors can afford. It’s more about ability to get out and get shopping done for meals. For some it is a transportation issue. For others it is about age, disability, health. For a few it is worse, lacking ability to prepare their own meals at home.

I turned age 61 on 5 March 2017 (born in 1956). I’ve no problem fixing my own meals at home. Recently, there has been some difficulty getting to stores to get shopping done, and so my landlady recommended Meals On Wheels. I don’t have a car. I can use the city bus system and taxicab services. Sometimes I can catch a ride with someone. Normally I ride my bicycle – it has large baskets front and back to easily carry a week’s supply of groceries and general supplies. Dollar General is a block south of the apartments complex I live at, Braum’s a short distance to the west, Homeland grocery store nearly a mile to the east, Aldi grocery store about a mile to the north, and Walmart about a quarter mile north of Aldi.

I prefer use of a bicycle for the freedom it gives me – to go where I want (within my range limit of 3 miles), when I want, and to make multiple stops along the way. For example, a past routine of going to the west branch public library at 9am, then Walmart, then for my apartment each month prepay electric at OEC near there, maybe a stop at Aldi, and maybe get lunch to take home at Arby’s near Aldi. If I were to use a special service to pay for rides to Walmart with others, it would just be to Walmart, just on Wednesdays, and for limited shopping time. I prefer to not depend on others and their schedules, but I’m grateful for such help when I really need it the most.

My present problem is an inguinal hernia (right side of groin), happens when contents of the abdomen—part of the small intestine—bulge through a weak area in the lower abdominal wall or groin region, making it difficult for me to walk. It pops out when standing and walking, unless I’m wearing a special made truss to try to help hold it in place. Not as bad when sitting or riding my bicycle. It pops back into place when flat on my back, resting or sleeping. I have purchased a cane to help me go from a squatting or sitting position to a standing position. After I find a new primary care physician who accepts Medicare, and Medicaid (SoonerCare here), then I’ll get approval to acquire a powered cart I can ride on, and has a basket for carrying things, which Medicare will help pay for. My former MD dumped Medicare and moved to another city. At this time an operation for the hernia is considered to be an elective instead of an emergency, and therefore Medicare will not help to pay for it. Further, I’m concerned about the increase in class action lawsuits being advertised on TV for mesh failures and related complications, so I’m reluctant to do that particular operation anyway.

My situation is further complicated by Celiac disease – “a serious genetic autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide. Two and one-half million Americans are undiagnosed and are at risk for long-term health complications.” I’m now on a gluten-free diet. There has been a local recent increase in demand for gluten-free foods here in Norman – I noticed local stores are allowing more space to stock them, providing a greater variety and quantity, and lowering prices. Anyway, this raises the question of if Meals On Wheels can provide special meals for special diets. YES! “Meals on Wheels works with clients to consider their current food intake and provide meals that address their preferences and dietary needs.”

Having a prepared meal delivered to my apartment door would be wonderful, and I could pay some money for that. It would not be that different from paying for a pizza delivery, for example. [I have to buy gluten-free pizza now.] I’d prefer to pay for time and gas for an individual to use a shopping list I’d provide to acquire food and general supplies for me at local stores, deliver them to me, and I’d fix my own meals at home. I’d probably write a check or pay cash to the individual for the time, gas, and purchases, rather than to hand over my VISA debit card and EBT (food stamps) card. I receive Social Security Disability [SSD] benefits usually on the 3rd of each month, which is when I do most of my shopping, pay apartment rent and utilities. I get some food stamps on the 5th of each month.

Another option for me is to have meals, food, general supplies shipped to my door via FedEx or UPS. Direct from stores online, or Amazon. Another kind and source for example is Omaha Steaks, which I have used in the past.

Read more at Meals On Wheels America. For me it is Meals On Wheels of Norman OK.

The Bottom Line: A clarification about my position on this issue. It is obvious to me that Mick Mulvaney is ignorant of how Meals On Wheels works and what it is accomplishing every day. My conclusion he is not qualified to pass judgment on it. This causes me to wonder what else he might not be qualified to pass judgment on. He is not aware of what goes on in the daily lives of common people in the forest – he does not hear or see the trees falling. I believe innocent services like Meals On Wheels will be cut, while those most guilty of ripping off the government and in turn the taxpayers will be allowed to continue to do so. It is known at this point in time that Mick Mulvaney’s budget plan as is will only hold the line at 20 trillion dollars – that it will not actually reduce the national debt.

Editorial Article and Special Report by Jim Lantern in Norman Oklahoma

LANTERN TIMEGLASS JOURNAL

Sunday 19 March 2017

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