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The Medicare debate

House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan, R-WI, arrives for a hearing to mark up his 2012 budget proposal called “The Path to Prosperity” on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 6, 2011. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg

With the radical new budget proposed by Paul Ryan and passed by the House Republicans, we have a full-fledged debate about the future of retirement in America. Ryan’s budget removes the guaranteed Medicare entitlement and replaces it with vouchers (or premium supports, depending on who you listen to). According to the Congressional Budget Office, the subsidy from the government will not be enough for most seniors to purchase medical insurance, assuming private insurers even want to cover them.

This is a radical departure from the social safety net. The Republicans argue that this will not apply to current seniors, just those under the age of 55. But that cold comfort for everyone else, including seniors who care about the future of their children, relatives and friends.

It’s doubtful that anything like this will pass with the current President and Senate, but everyone needs to pay attention. Who knows, the next election may affect your retirement years.

How much does net worth matter?

Donald Trump speaks to the press during an announcement that Trump is investing in the development of luxury properties in the country of Georgia at a press conference in New York March 10, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)

For shallow fools like Donald Trump, net worth means everything. Yesterday he was bragging that he was worth more than Mitt Romney, as if that mattered when judging someone as a businessman, let alone a President or a person.

Net worth does not equal happiness, and it doesn’t always reflect ability. Of course we want to increase our net worth, as it helps to make your life less risky and more comfortable. But don’t fool yourself into thinking that net worth means everything. If you do that, you’ll neglect things like family and relationships.

Also, as we’ve seen over the past decade, net worth can be the result of many things, including luck and sometimes fraud.

Donald Trump has been a very successful real estate developer and self-promoter. He deserves credit for that. But he also started with significant resources from his father, and he happened to make a bet on New York City at the right time. That said, his business ventures outside of real estate have not fared very well (other than his turn as a reality TV star, and we’ve seen from the likes of Snookie that you don’t need much in the way of talent in that arena).

Mitt Romney was a very successful business consultant. He was successful in a range of businesses, so Trump’s net worth crack is just silly and demonstrates how shallow some rich people can be.

Tax day today!

Have you filed your taxes yet? We know it’s painful, but hopefully you haven’t waited until the last minute.

It’s been a decent rise on Wall Street the past couple of years, so hopefully you have some nice capital gains to add to your reported income.

For those of you who remain unemployed, the job market seems to be turning around a bit. Hopefully things will improve for everyone.

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