I Am The 47 Percent
We own a business. We pump septic tanks, provide portable restrooms for weddings, graduations and constructions jobs. We used to do installations of new septic systems for contractors, back when the housing market was a rapidly growing bubble of nothing. That construction was where we were making our money. We had a good living going on and then the bubble burst
By 2011 our business had lost so much income that it was paying the business expenses with nothing left for our family. So, Hubby decided to apply for his Social Security early. It was a decision he didn’t want to make since it would cost him in the long run, but we had to have something to buy food with. My income covered all the living expenses except food and clothing.
For the past 2 years we’ve been living on $16 to $18,000 a year. It hasn’t been easy. On that amount of money we don’t qualify for Medicaid, Hubby isn’t old enough for Medicare until next year, and the price of health insurance at $800 a month for the two of us was beyond our means.
On August 27 of this year, Hubby suddenly had abdominal pain, pressure in his chest and serious projectile vomiting. All symptoms of myocardial infarction. His son was with him and rushed him to the local emergency room for treatment where we spent 7 hours undergoing tests which ruled out a heart problem. Unfortunately, the problem he had was just as deadly. Hubby had a blockage in his small intestines.
They tried to move it via fluids with a nasogastric tube in place to ease the almost constant vomiting. That didn’t work, so first thing next morning, he was whisked off to surgery to remove what the surgeon was sure was a tumor. Turned out he had scar tissue caused by Crohns Disease. The tissue was causing a stricture therefore he developed a blockage. All this was probably helped along by the healthier higher fiber foods we’ve been eating which he’s not supposed to have.
The hospital bill without the surgeon and anesthesiologists bill is more than $32,000. We are in a situation, making so little money that the most we could pay to reduce our indebtedness is $100 a month. And that would be after we give up our TV and internet satellites. There’s $7000 due to be paid to the doctors which would also have to be paid at the same time.
There is a program set up to assist people like us in paying the hospital bill. The hospital starts out by offering half off the bill and then the program pays a percentage of the remaining half based upon it’s determination of our income. Frankly it’s a charity. We’ve never asked for charity in our life, but circumstances being what they are, we have no choice.
We’re both in our 60′s with health problems. While I can increase my income to some extent if our company can get new clients, neither of us can take on the work of a second job. Twenty years ago maybe, but not now. So, this charity is our only hope of getting a bill for services rendered that is manageable with our income.
I wish I could tell Mr. Romney that I don’t feel entitled to any of this. It is, unfortunately, a step we must take in order to continue to have a roof over our heads, heat in the upcoming winter and food in our stomachs so we can work to pay whatever it is decided we owe. Even with the charity amount, it may be necessary for us to give up our satellites. They are our only means of entertainment. One doesn’t spend money foolishly when one doesn’t have much to start out with. I am exceedingly grateful that program is there. I am also grateful for the Medicare program which Hubby can take advantage of in 8 more months.
Another thing I’d like to point out to Mr Romney is exactly how much we, as business owners pay in taxes. He seems to enjoy perpetuating the myth that the 47% doesn’t do so. However, even with the decreased amount our business is making, we will be paying some pretty hefty amounts in taxes that others don’t even understand that a business pays. He, however, does.
We run 2 trucks in order to conduct our business. In addition to the ungodly amount of insurance we must carry, we need fuel for those trucks. By the end of the year, we will have paid $8802.00 gasoline tax to both federal and state. By the end of the year we will have paid New York State $4000.00 in annual sales tax, not counting sales taxes we pay on non business purchases we make every day. By the end of the year we will have paid the Dept. of Motor Vehicles nearly $500 to register our vehicles. On top of that we will be paying an additional $150 in something called Highway Use Tax.
By the end of the year we will have paid to both the state and the county we reside in $600 in Environmental taxes, and an additional $14,000 in dumpage taxes to the city whose sewer plant is kind enough to accept the septage we haul. Total taxes paid by our business amount to: $28, 452. We are paying this amount of taxes on $40,000 in business income.
When the business made twice that and provided us with income, we paid around $3500 annually in income taxes. We still pay Social Security and Medicare taxes, but for the past 2 years our income taxes have been returned to us. I am the 47%, I pay for the privilege of being called that.