Part II: Taxes well spent

Second installment of why I love our country and why I love paying taxes: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Brilliant. My parents are incredibly hard working and generous. They spent nearly 30 years building a full and prosperous life here in Homer. Self employed and under-insured, a devastating illness took them to the brink.

Only after much despair, a bankruptcy and a move to the desert were they able to begin to heal and rebuild. Social security made it possible. They never imagined that their future would hinge on this “social safety net,” nor could they imagine that everything they worked to build would be snatched by a cruel and debilitating disease. Because of Social Security my parents are free. My aunt was always an adventurous and independent woman. She never married, never had children, but devoted her life to caring for others. First as a pediatric then as a geriatric nurse and later in her retirement as your friendly local soap seller (you may remember her as the kind proprietor of the Bath Shop). We began to notice a change in her in 2007. As her dementia began to progress she started confusing medications, forgetting to eat and having panic attacks that lasted for days. It was no longer safe for her to live alone and not possible for us to provide the level of care she needed. We helped her move into an assisted living facility. Her dementia continues to progress and she now requires 24-hour care, no longer recognizing family and friends, losing language and unable to perform the simplest tasks without assistance. Because of Medicaid she will be well looked after for the rest of her days. She will not go hungry. She will not be homeless. She will not be a burden to family or friends. She will be given the dignity that she deserves and her needs will be provided for. My taxes pay for that and I consider it money well spent. Susannah Webster