Tag Archives: social-security

Fighting voter ID laws in the courts isn’t enough. We need boots on the ground – Los Angeles Times

Posted: February 22, 2017 at 4:06 am

I first met Cinderria, an 18-year-old woman of color, in a library in downtown Madison, Wis. She approached the table marked Voter ID Assistance and explained that with the 2016 presidential primary only a few months away, and despite several trips to the DMV, she still didnt have a valid ID as mandated by Wisconsins strict new laws.It turned out she needed a Social Security card but wasnt sure how to obtain one.

Proponents of voter ID laws dont want to acknowledge that Cinderrias case is far from unusual. Experts project that in Wisconsin alone, 300,000 eligible voters lack the ID necessary to cast a ballot. Across the country, 32 states have some form of voter ID law, creating a crisis of disenfranchisement not seen since the civil rights era. These ID laws dont touch all groups equally: Voters of color, like Cinderria, are hit hardest. The elderly, students and low-income votersalso are disproportionately affected. (A new study published in the Journal of Politics, for instance, found that strict ID laws lower African American, Latino, Asian American and multiracial American turnout.)

States that have implemented voter ID laws have shown little to no interest in helping their citizens comply. And the advocacy organizations that oppose these laws have few resources for direct voter assistance. Instead, groups like the American Civil Liberties Unionhave focused on challenging voter ID mandates in court. Thats essential, but its not enough. As court battles proceed, we must acknowledge our collective obligation to voters like Cinderria by investing in on-the-ground, in-person support.

Before the 2016 election, a group of us in Madison recognized the problem and got to work, partnering with local organizations like the League of Women Voters and NAACP. As one coalition, we collaborated with social service agencies, churches, food pantries, employers, schools and election administrators. Outreach continued through the November electionand is ongoing for spring elections. But theres tons of work left to do in Madison, to say nothing of the state or nation as a whole.

The right to vote is not denied only in large volume. Our democracy deteriorates every single time an older voter cant find transportation to a distant DMV, and every single time a working mother cant afford the fees associated with redundant paperwork to prove her citizenship.

Having worked one-on-one with would-be voters, a nefarious truth about these laws has become clear to me. Not only do the requirements hamper individuals in the short term, they also can send a long-term signal to historically disenfranchised communities that theyre not invited into their countrys democratic process a feeling all too familiar to those who were born before the abolition of Jim Crow.

We cannot return to the era of literacy tests and poll taxes. Its crucial that all voters are offered helpbecause they must not lose the belief that their vote is precious and their participation essential to our democracy. These voters are our neighbors, our co-workers and, at the most basic level, our fellow citizens. Their rights are as valuable as those of any big-spending campaign donor.

Despite repeated assurances from voter ID proponents that these laws arent discriminatory and are easy to comply with, lived experience proves the opposite.

Cinderria was finally able to obtain an ID, but only weeks after we first met; I traveled with her to the DMV to make sure nothing went wrong. Claudelle, a voter in his 60s whose mother mistakenly spelled his name Clardelle on his birth certificate, was refused an ID with his correct name twice.On a trip to the DMV with a 34-year-old named Zack, we were given inaccurate information on how to receive a free ID to vote. A recording of that interactionprompted a federal judge to order retraining of DMV workers across Wisconsin.

The voters affected by these laws who, again, are more likely to be low-income, transient and elderly often are unreachable through social media campaigns or other online communication. That makes in-person outreach indispensable. A young Madison woman named Treasure, for instance, was unable to obtain an ID until neighborhood canvassers knocked on her door and gave her accurate information and assistance.

Such work is not an admission that voter ID laws arent worth fighting; they are. It represents, rather, a commitment to fight suppression at every level. We have no choice but to organize, lace up our shoes and meet would-be voters where they live and work.

Molly J. McGrath is an attorney, voting rights advocate and organizer.She can be found @votermolly or votermolly.com

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Fighting voter ID laws in the courts isn’t enough. We need boots on the ground – Los Angeles Times

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Living Like a Hedonist – Daily Trojan Online

Posted: at 4:00 am

Photo courtesy of Leonid Afremov

At 18 years old, a sixth of my life is quite possibly already over, maybe even a fifth. Never again will I be absolutely absolved from responsibility, the way I was when I was three and had all the time in the world, sparing not a thought to matters that did not involve Clifford the Big Red Dog. All that stretches before me is a sea of taxes and Social Security and grocery shopping truly an appealing prospect.

My God, how fleeting and fragile life is! But to my thinking, while were here, theres no reason not to enjoy ourselves. Ive never bought into the existence is futile and meaningless crap. It seems like such defeatist thinking. Doesnt perpetual bitterness get tiring after a while? Isnt constant cynicism exhausting to maintain?

I would call myself a hedonist, though that invites negative connotations. A hedonist is, to many minds, someone who engages in mass debauchery: wild orgies and gross overindulgence and the like. The word hedonism is evocative of sex, because sex is the highest and purest form of pleasure, right?

Thats not what I mean. The ticket is to appreciate the simple things: the smell of rain, loose leaf jasmine tea and Leonid Afremov paintings. Yeah, its cliche, but its true. Finding beauty in the mundane, putting a positive spin on whatever crosses your path, because thats just so much more fun. Being alive wasnt a choice, but youll sure get a hell of a lot more out of it if you stop taking it so seriously. Dont you want to feel good, genuinely good, rather than the perverse pleasure derived from hunkering down in your basement and festering in your own misanthropy, secure in your self-perceived superiority over your fellow human beings?

I simply cannot fathom why one would choose to commit suicide. Why cut your life short, when its still saturated with potential droplets of pleasure? Youve never ordered a crepe in a Paris cafe or bathed in the crystalline Reykjavik hot springs or stood on the edge of the Grand Canyon and shouted your name to hear it reverberate against the rust red ravines. There is so much yet to explore. If I could, I would snatch up all the time you relinquished when you decided to end it all and add it to my own stockpile. I would never have enough to check off everything on my bucket list.

Of course, I grew up am growing up surrounded by a dense layer of packing peanuts, safely cushioned from the crushing blows life is capable of dealing. I freely admit to my naivete. But I have only my own experience upon which to base my philosophies, and I find it incredible that people would choose to throw away the greatest gift they have ever received.

I want to travel this world and experience everything it has to offer me, soak it all in. I want to milk every last droplet of pleasure from my existence, wring it dry, until it crumbles into a powdery dust. Except I cant. In this capitalistic society, free spirits and independent thinkers are actively discouraged; all America wants is another automaton to join the workforce. Id need money to carry out my dreams, and to obtain money, Id need to work, and by the time Id have retired, my bones will creak and my joints will ache and any opportunity of carrying out my dreams will have slipped away quietly while I was preoccupied with the daily nine-to-five grind.

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Living Like a Hedonist – Daily Trojan Online

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Bill Gates Says Job Stealing Robots Need to Pay Taxes – Futurism

Posted: February 20, 2017 at 6:40 pm

New Rules

Its possible that robots will take over some human jobs. In fact, it seems like it could be only a matter of time before they do. Increasing automation will lead to massive job displacement, and less people working means less employed citizens paying taxes. So, the question is, how will communities make up the difference if automation is inevitable in the future of employment?

Co-founder of Microsoft Bill Gates suggests that robots that take human jobs should pay taxes.

Right now, the human worker who does, say, $50,000 worth of work in a factory, that income is taxed and you get income tax, Social Security tax, all those things. If a robot comes in to do the same thing, youd think that wed tax the robot at a similar level, Gates explained in an interview with Quartz.

This robot tax money could be taken from what companies would save given the efficiencies that an automated workforce provides them, or a tax imposed on companies that employ robots. The collected taxes could be used for anything from the care of the elderly or to support youth projects in public schools. Gates believes there will be little resistance from companies that employ a robot workforce.

Half of jobs today are already at riskof becoming obsolete due to automation, and evidence of an industrial future defined by an automated workforce is steadily building. According to a report by McKinsey, about 60 percent of all occupations could have 30 percent, or more, of theiractivities automated with technology that exists today. And, as technology rapidly advances, those numbers will only climb higher.

Gates tax idea has already been proposed by European Union lawmakers, but the law was rejected. Another proposal that looks to also provide a solution is the implementation of a universal basic income (UBI), which tech industrialist Elon Musk is a strong proponent of.

Regardless of what solution is put into place or how governments will treat taxes and a waning organic workforce in the age of automation, Gates asserts that this is something that people should start talking about now:

Exactly how youd do it, measure it, you know, its interesting for people to start talking about now. There will be some great conversations and be some ideas about new investments that can be made.

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Bill Gates: Robots that steal human jobs should pay taxes – New York Post

Posted: February 18, 2017 at 3:40 am

Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft and worlds richest man, said in an interview Friday that robots that steal human jobs should pay their fair share of taxes.

Right now, the human worker who does, say, $50,000 worth of work in a factory, that income is taxed and you get income tax, Social Security tax, all those things, he said. If a robot comes in to do the same thing, youd think that wed tax the robot at a similar level.

Gates made the remark during an interview with Quartz. He said robot taxes could help fund projects like caring for the elderly or working with children in school. Quartz reported that European Union lawmakers considered a proposal to tax robots in the past. The law was rejected.

Recode, citing a McKinsey report, said that 50 percent of jobs performed by humans are vulnerable to robots, which could result in the loss of about $2.7 trillion in the U.S. alone.

Exactly how youd do it, measure it, you know, its interesting for people to start talking about now, Gates said. Some of it can come on the profits that are generated by the labor-saving efficiency there. Some of it can come directly in some type of robot tax. I dont think the robot companies are going to be outraged that there might be a tax. Its OK.

Last month, Gates told FOX Business Networks Maria Bartiromo that he is excited to work with President Trump and his administration, especially when it comes to the U.S. governments support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization he said.

How we continue that type of outreach and how it helps our security that we are helping those countries to be healthy and be stable, he said. There will be some great conversations and be some ideas about new investments that can be made.

This article originally appeared on Fox News.

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Bill Gates: Robots that steal human jobs should pay taxes – New York Post

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Dynamic Communities Announces Eric Pearson, Information Security Expert, As GPUG Amplify 2017 Keynote Speaker – MSDynamicsWorld.com (press release)

Posted: February 15, 2017 at 9:35 pm

TAMPA, Fla., Jan. 26, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Dynamic Communities, the supporting organization behind the official user group for Microsoft Dynamics GP (GPUG) announces Eric Pearson, IT Examination Analyst for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, as the GPUG Amplify 2017 Keynote Speaker.

Pearson is an Information Security expert with over two decades of hands-on experience protecting the nation’s vital information. He has been involved in the protection of Information Technology, from the days when it was referred to as ‘Operations Security’ in the mid-90s, all the way to today’s Cybersecurity. Pearson, a UCLA alum and regular speaker on this important topic, has also spent time at the Social Security Administration and Lockheed Martin.

“Keynote speakers frequently motivate attendees surrounding their professional careers, but what if one motivated you to become more shrewd in your day-to-day life at home or with your business as relates to cybersecurity?” said Bob McAdam, GPUG General Manager.”We’re happy to have ‘secured’ Eric Pearson for this unique topic and know you will thoroughly enjoy his presentation at GPUG Amplify.”

“With over a billion personal information files stolen during 2016, there has never been a greater need for cybersecurity training than there is for 2017,” said Pearson. “Join me at the GPUG Amplify conference and learn the essentials of cybersecurity and how to protect your vital information.”

GPUG Amplify will be held March 20-22 at the Marriott Anaheim, Anaheim, CA and welcomes Microsoft Dynamics GP end-users and business leaders to discover the latest solution innovations, engage in industry roundtables, and attend decision-maker oriented educational breakout sessions, delivered by subject matter experts to help attendees extend the reach of their Dynamics GP investment. This year will also offer a Partner Sales and Marketing Pre-Day, exclusive to Dynamics GP Partners (separate registration is required). To register, or for more information on GPUG Amplify, visit: http://www.gpugamplify.com.

Members of GPUG receive discounted registration for GPUG Amplify. Not yet a member? Join the thousands of fellow Dynamics users who participate in this rich online community for learning and networking:www.gpug.com/join.

About Dynamic Communities: Dynamic Communities is the business management organization that supports technology-centric user groups, like GPUG, and associations – providing necessary resources and business operations such as staff, systems and event production. Dynamic Communities is independent from Microsoft; however, the two organizations maintain an intentional close working relationship so that our members can provide a collective voice to Microsoft on user concerns, needs, and requests.

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Dynamic Communities Announces Eric Pearson, Information Security Expert, As GPUG Amplify 2017 Keynote Speaker – MSDynamicsWorld.com (press release)

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Some GOP lawmakers want entitlement reform in next budget – The Hill

Posted: at 12:37 am

Members of the conservative Freedom Caucus said Tuesday entitlement reform should be included in the next budget that passes the House, despite President Trump’s campaign promise that he would leave Social Security and Medicare alone.

“I think any budget that we pass out of the House must include entitlement reform,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.

But, he said, benefits to taxpayers who paid into the system should be left untouched.

“I think it’s incumbent upon conservative members of Congress to put forth a conservative budget, and the only want to really address that is through saving Medicare and Social Security.”

But Meadows said he thinks Trump will be open to reform as long as benefits for current beneficiaries are not diminished.

“We have to act now in order to save the benefits for those future recipients of those programs,” Meadows said.

Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s pick for budget director, was also a member of the House Freedom Caucus and will have the president’s ear on entitlement reform.

Mulvaney pushed for an overhaul of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid while in Congress.

“I believe Mick Mulvaney was brought in to provide a different perspective and based on my conversations with Mick, he thinks that the White House will welcome that different perspective,” said Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashSome GOP lawmakers want entitlement reform in next budget Republicans dismiss growing protests at home GOP lawmaker proposes abolishing Department of Education MORE (R-Mich.), another Freedom Caucus member.

“I hope that President Trump will consider what he was to say on that matter. Mick has always been a strong fiscal conservative. I hope that President Trump will heed his advice.”

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Some GOP lawmakers want entitlement reform in next budget – The Hill

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Local officials get primer on cuts in Medicaid – Marietta Times

Posted: February 14, 2017 at 11:50 am

Medicaid is the most-funded program in the states budget, but within the next four months a significant loss in revenues due to federal mandates is expected to hit local counties hard.

County commissioners and representatives from the area met Monday in Marietta to discuss concerns with Gov. John Kasichs proposed budget for the next two years concerning the loss in tax revenue and what the lack of funds could do to local governments.

The fact of the matter is that we have a lot of unmet needs in the state that theres not money for, said Rep. Jack Cera, D-Bellaire.

In July 2014, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services advised state Medicaid directors that taxing a subset of health care providers at the same rate as a statewide sales tax is subject to the definition of a health care related tax and is not permissible. CMS gave Ohio until the end of June of this year to remove the tax, which generated more than $209 million in fiscal year 2016.

Kasichs plan offers a transition aid program to wean local governments off of reliance on the revenue, but local county commissioners say there is no weening without a replacement source of income.

With flat revenue streams from property and income taxes, Southeastern Ohio counties rely on sales tax to fuel their general funds.

Folks are more dependent now on this sales tax than they have ever been, explained Brad Cole, managing director of research for the County Commissioners Association of Ohio. This will first start to impact local governments in the final quarter of this year.

Washington Countys current general fund draws 6.14 percent, or $827,368, of its revenue from the tax. In Noble County 8.42 percent, or $168,168, of the county general fund comes from the tax. The $279,055 take for Morgan County is 16 percent of its general fund budget and in Monroe County 7.05 percent, or $228,684, of the general fund comes from the tax.

There are a lot of mandates from the state already that go unfunded, said Washington County Commissioner Rick Walters. So if theyre going to reduce revenues, they need to reduce the mandates we are forced to fund on our own.

Ohio Rep. Andy Thompson, R-Marietta, said the current budget proposal by Kasich will be reviewed well before July in budget committee meetings and that the concerns of commissioners present, along with those across the state, will be of great benefit.

Well have to look at this and make corrections, said Thompson. I suspect well be huddling on this project but I hope there will in the end be more authority passed back down from Washington and Columbus to local governments so that you have more freedom and latitude to spend your tax dollars where you need them.

The meeting at Buckeye Hills-Hocking Valley Regional Development District also addressed the continuing opiate epidemic and its cost on local government funds, specifically in the cost of care for the children of addicts.

Let us take care of our own kids here in Southeast Ohio instead of having to send them to Pittsburgh because we have no facilities to house them, said Washington County Commissioner Ron Feathers. Right now state mandates reach too far into our pockets and we end up spending $350 per day to send kids outside the county that need therapeutic care.

Noble County Commissioner Ty Moore agreed with Feathers and suggested that local counties band together to fund local treatment options for both adults and youth in an effort to defray costs of out of region care.

At a glance

In July 2014, federal officials advised Ohio Medicaid that taxing a subset of health care providers at the same rate as a statewide sales tax is subject to the definition of a health care related tax and is not permissible.

Ohio has until the end of June of this year to remove the tax.

6.14 percent, or $827,368, of Washington Countys general fund is drawn from the tax.

8.42 percent, or $168,168, of Noble Countys general fund is drawn from the tax.

16 percent, or $279,055, of Morgan Countys general fund is drawn from the tax.

7.05 percent, or $228,684, of Monroe Countys general fund is drawn from the tax.

Source: County Commissioners of Ohio Association.

Program on Social Security at WSCC Maximize Your Social Security, will be offered from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. …

BELPRE – A group of Belpre pastors and ministers who work with the Belpre Police Department is interested in …

WATERFORD- A partnership with Marietta College, Gov. John Kasich’s proposed budget and new ownership of the former …

A $670.7 million settlement in principle has been reached resolving the C8 lawsuits pending against DuPont, …

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Local officials get primer on cuts in Medicaid – Marietta Times

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13 attorneys general seek Second Amendment protections | Local … – Ottawaherald.com

Posted: February 7, 2017 at 7:54 am

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has asked congressional leaders to take action to protect Second Amendment rights of Social Security beneficiaries, according to a news release.

A group of 13 state attorneys general, including Schmidt, Wednesday urged congressional leaders to repeal an overreaching federal regulation that they said denies certain Social Security beneficiaries the right to keep and bear arms, according to the release.

In late December 2016, the Social Security Administration under then-President Obamas direction published a final rule that broadened a previously narrow prohibition for those adjudicated as a mental defective or who have been committed to a mental institution to include numerous individuals that Congress never intended to cover with this exclusion, such as program beneficiaries with representatives or alternate payees, according to the release.

This new rule allows the Social Security Administration to designate an individual a mental defective by its own discretion and relies heavily on overly broad definitions included in previous guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice, according to the release.

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13 attorneys general seek Second Amendment protections | Local … – Ottawaherald.com

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White-Collar Crime Punishment – Fraud Magazine

Posted: December 20, 2016 at 1:15 pm

What factors should be considered in determining the length and terms of a sentence? Should a crimes violent or non-violent classification carry the most weight? Frank S. Perri offers that focusing too much on a crimes violent or non-violent nature can lead to a punishment too severe or not severe enough for the crime committed.

I certainly knew it was nefarious, a little wormy, unethical, make no mistake about that but criminal? Fraud?- Jay Jones, convicted white-collar criminal, as quoted in The New York Times Magazine

Jay Jones lived the good life; unfortunately, he bought it fraudulently. As a result of his behavior, he left at least 4,000 people jobless when the debt collection business he helped co-found went bankrupt, according to a June 6, 2004, article in The New York Times Magazine.1 He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud investors and was sentenced to five years in prison. He also owes about $1 billion in restitution to the victims of his fraud, according to the article. Was his sentence too light?

Consider the case of real estate attorney Chalana McFarland, who committed a myriad of fraudulent acts, including identity theft, illegal use of Social Security numbers, money laundering, and a mortgage scam that devastated lending institutions and families who bought homes, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release.2 She was sentenced to 30 years in prison, even though she could have been sentenced to a life term and ordered to pay $12 million in restitution for the scheme that she controlled with the assistance of her co-conspirators, the press release said. Was her sentence too high?Although its reasonable to have a debate on what constitutes a proportionate and fair punishment to a fraud-based crime, anti-fraud professionals must be aware that the manner in which the debate on appropriate punishment is being framed can be misleading. One of the common arguments made by opponents advocating lenient sentences for convicted white-collar criminals is that their crimes are non-violent property crimes, and many are first-time offenders who dont fit the typical image of a street criminal. In this article, well address:

The inherent dangers of imposing punishment based on the premise that fraud is a non-violent property crime

Misperceptions surrounding the first-time offender argument in determining an appropriate punishment

Why white-collar crime sentencing might have increased over the years


I had no desire to live, no prospect of earning a living, no way to pay the bills. Retiree and Madoff fraud victim, as quoted in the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law.

This quote exemplifies the voice of thousands recounting the personal and financial losses suffered when a trusted business advisor, professional, employee, business owner or other individual defrauds them. Psychiatrists Drs. Marilyn Price and Donna Norris wrote in their article in The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law, white-collar criminals commit crimes that have victims whose lives are significantly affected and, at times, destroyed by these acts.3 However, there are academicians in law who downplay frauds underlying harm by removing the human element and labeling it a non-violent property crime. They have written extensively on the topic, advocating that white-collar criminals should receive more lenient sentences because of the crimes non-violent distinction, according to law professor Ellen Podgor of Stetson University.4

Yet, whats misleading about their argument is the assumption that only violent criminals inflict harm thats worthy of extensive punishment. In part, the harm that fraud victims incur is downplayed because the majority of the research on victimology has focused on conventional non-white-collar crimes.5

Thus the degree of perceived harm suffered by victims of white-collar crimes is compared to the harms suffered by victims of non-white-collar crimes because theyre the largely accepted conventional construction of crimes in the public conscience.6

White-collar crime is considered a special breed in the criminal justice system because theres a long history of perceived leniency for these criminals; many erroneously believe that white-collar crimes have no victims.7

Also, fraud offenses arent consistently included in crime victim surveys because criminologist might perceive that there are no visible victims, or the social harm is diluted among a number of people.8 Thus, fraud victims whose harm hasnt been captured by surveys would naturally appear to be victimless when compared to victims of non-white-collar crimes.

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White-Collar Crime Punishment – Fraud Magazine

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Freedom America, Inc.

Posted: January 14, 2016 at 10:46 pm

Freedom AMERICA Inc. | Call us at 813-600-5314 (Brandon, FL), 863-682-6381 (Lakeland, FL)

We understand how important it is for you to be able to trust your advisor, particularly in the wake of recent highly publicized corporate failures and investment management misdeeds. Regardless of the direction the stock market and interest rates it’s important to have a trusted advisor to look after your best interests. That trusted advisor is Jonathan Jackson. He isexperienced, responsive and understands your need for integrity and transparency.

RETIREMENT PLANNING: People can no longer rely on Social Security to cover all their retirement needs. Individuals are living longer, health costs are rising, non-traditional retirement plans are being eliminated and the cost of living is constantly increasing. Freedom America Inc. can help you start planning today to safeguard your future retirement needs. At Freedom America Inc., our advisors are thoroughly trained to help our clients avoid unnecessary risks during or before their retirement years. We will help you protect your hard-earned retirement assets in diverse markets and provide you with the lifetime income you will need (while potentially reducing your tax liabilities).

Our goal is to help you not worry about your money while you try to experience complete enjoyment during your retirement years. To schedule a FREE no-obligation consultation, please call us at: 813-600-5314 (Brandon office) 863-682-6381 (Lakeland office)

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