EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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April 14, 2013

Your view: Letters to the editor


As fate would have it, my days of caring for an ailing parent were not passed. My mother’s health declined significantly following my dad’s passing. When it became certain that the progression of my mother’s illness was profound, the angels of Merrimack Valley Hospice appeared again. Their intervention was immediate and loving. While my mother experienced only a brief stay at the MVHH, I will forever be in debt to the kindness, support, and dignity they gave to my mother. She was almost immediately at peace in their comfort.

And, given the short time that has passed since we had been there with my dad, it felt like we had come home. Those bronze butterflies, still in place and peeking out from a blanket of snow, were like harbingers of spring and new life taking shape.

I will leave someone out if I attempt to list each person by name, but I must acknowledge that everyone, beginning with Dr. Joanne Nowak, the administrators, the nurses, the social workers, the grief counselors, the chaplains, the health care aides, the cooks, and the front-desk attendants all went out of their way to comfort me and my family while providing my mother with safe and nurturing care around the clock. It was nothing short of transformational, again.

Please consider supporting the tireless caregivers and good works of the Merrimack Valley Hospice House through generous donations and by volunteering your time. We are all better when we take care of each other.

Mary A. Toomey


Seniors can’t bear Social Security reforms

To the editor:

Social Security does not contribute to the national debt. So Social Security should not be included in debt deliberations.

Social Security (SS) is neither broke nor broken. Social Security is 100 percent solvent to 2033. Cutting benefits to current and future recipients, by changing the formula for annual adjustments to the “chained” Consumer Price Index (CPI) betrays promises. And the chained CPI reduces benefits, because it underestimates the disproportionately higher percentage of income seniors spend on medical expenses. Chaining the CPI reduces benefits for seniors by an average $130 a year at 65, but by $1,400 a year by 95. Any reduction for millions of seniors close to poverty would be significant. Average Social Security benefits for retirees is only $1,261 per month, less for the disabled, surviving spouses and their children.

How do we rehab Social Security if not by cutting benefits? One way is to raise the “income cap” above which wages are not taxed. Raise it from $113,700 (2013) to $215,000 and the solvency gap shrinks considerably. Eliminate the cap completely gradually over 10 years and the gap shrinks by 71 percent. After all, why should a millionaire only pay on their first $113,700, but a $10,000 or $50,000 earner pay on 100 percent of our earnings?

Charlie Zoeller


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