Information & Referral
By Alan M. Schlein
For the first time, seniors have a long-time advocate for the elderly heading the key committee that controls funding for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. While other Senate Finance Committee chairmen have been strong supporters of seniors and their issues, the elevation of Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., to head the committee, puts in charge a person who has steadfastly supported and advocated for seniors issues over his 30-plus-year Congressional career.
Wyden became the Finance Committee chairman recently when Montana Sen. Max Baucus was nominated to become ambassador to China. The committee is arguably the most powerful committee in the Senate because of its wide jurisdiction including control of all tax policy.
Wyden’s new position instantly vaults him into the ranks of the Senate’s most influential members, giving him a big say over any legislation involving taxes, health care and trade, among other things.
As Finance Chairman, Wyden will face a huge agenda of unfinished business including a big package of expired tax breaks, looming cuts in Medicare payments to doctors, a major highway trust fund projected to run out of money later this year and a trade deal his predecessor worked out with Republicans.
Long Time Senior Advocate
Wyden has been a senior advocate from before he came to Congress. He was the co-founder and then directed the Oregon chapter of the Grey Panthers, an advocacy group for seniors in the mid-1970s, and served as the director of the Oregon Legal Services Center for the Elderly, a non-profit law service.
By Karen Telleen-Lawton
Dear Karen: Yikes! My bank informed me that my credit card was breached. I wish I could say it was the Neiman Marcus one but it was plain old Target. I was really stressed out until I got my next statement. But there was nothing odd about it – no weird names, no unexpected charges. Am I in the clear? What about next time? – Targeted
Dear Targeted: For the current breach, the most important action item is to cancel any card you might have used at Target during the time of the breach: November 27-December 15, 2013. Then you can reestablish new accounts. It may be less likely that your information will be abused as time goes by, but I’d use this warning to take positive steps in managing your financial security. Reassess which cards you really need, reducing them to the minimum needed for transacting your life. One caveat: reducing your credit may marginally affect your credit score, but just consider the trade-offs.
I was glad to see your follow-up question about next time, as these breaches are increasingly common. If you still plan to use credit and debit cards (it is hard to get by in today’s society without them!), I recommend these ways to protect yourself against the effects of hacking: