My parents loved restaurants. I fondly recall as I was growing up how on Saturday nights my parents would delight in dressing up and venturing out to a restaurant—either a new find or an old favorite. It wasn’t much of a shock, then, when my dad abruptly quit his job after 35 years at the American Brass Company, sold what little property he owned, and went all in on the purchase of a beautiful continental restaurant called Armond’s.

My father unfortunately faced two huge and eventually fatal obstacles in his new venture. First, he knew nothing about the restaurant business and second, he purchased the place at the very beginning of a late 1960s recession, which caused a dramatic downturn in the restaurant business.

After nine long years of losing money, my dad sold his dream place at a nightmare price, permanently ensuring financial insecurity for my parents as they approached their “golden years.”

Sign Up for E-News

Years later, my mom suffered a massive stroke and we were forced to seek help at a local nursing home. Seeing her with half her body immobilized and her memory gone was one of the saddest experiences of my life. What little money my father had at that point was soon turned over to the nursing home and we were forced to rely on Medicaid since Medicare doesn’t cover nursing home care. Thank goodness for that assistance because the truth was that as much as we would have liked to have my mom come home, my dad could never have given her the care she needed. My mom lasted three and a half years in the nursing home and as sad as that was I don’t know what we would have done if the financial help wasn’t there.

The idea of millions of elderly patients being thrown out of nursing homes due to the lack of governmental assistance is a nightmare beyond comprehension. Yet that’s exactly what the new Republican (and Trump-backed) budget proposal would do.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released a 49-page review of the new Republican plan and reading it made me literally sick. The measure would result in the loss of healthcare for 22 million Americans by 2026. The cruelest cuts would be absorbed by lower-income people between the ages of 50 and 64, including citizens suffering from chronic illnesses or battling addiction. In all, $772 billion formerly earmarked for needy Americans would, over the next decade, be siphoned instead into the pockets of the very wealthy. To understand the ramifications for seniors, it’s important to note that 42 percent of total Medicaid spending last year was dedicated to long-term care like nursing homes. These patients, like my mom, are the most vulnerable and most needy of all Americans and the thought that the services they so desperately need might be on the chopping block is a national disgrace.

The rationale for such a proposal is based on two underlying premises. The first is the long-held and false idea that any federal assistance program somehow robs the rich to lavish benefits on the poor. I can assure you that my mom’s care, although critical for her wellbeing, was not lavish by any stretch of the imagination. The second is the fulfillment of the unwritten political promise that the Grand Old Party will do whatever it can to protect and enhance the fortunes of the very wealthy. This new budgetary initiative does exactly that at the expense of people, many of whom will have their very lives placed in jeopardy, all in the name of a massive tax reduction for the very wealthy.

Imagining millions of infirmed elderly released from nursing homes and forced to return home or become homeless due to the lack of governmental assistance reminds me of an old Japanese legend entitled Ubasute (abandoning of old women). No one really knows if it is fact or fiction but, as the story goes, hundreds of years ago extremely hard economic times forced families in Japan to face an excruciating dilemma: what to do when seniors living at home became a “drain” on very limited resources?

As the legend goes, the elderly who were sick and weak would, in an effort to help their financially strapped family, voluntarily venture onto a mountain, or some other remote, desolate place, to die, either by dehydration, starvation or exposure. There is a famous painting of a young man carrying his elderly mother, both with tears in their eyes, up a mountain’s path. During the journey, she stretches out her arms, catching the twigs and scattering them in their wake, so that her son will be able to find his way home. The painting inspired a famous Japanese poem:

In the depths of the mountains,
Who was it for the aged mother snapped
One twig after another?
Heedless of herself
She did so
For the sake of her son

I am not going to entertain the suggestion of the more ironical among us that perhaps we have discovered a new use for the much underutilized Trump Park in Yorktown. Instead, I implore you to keep in mind that we are a benevolent people. No tax break is worth a moral break with our longstanding commitment to those in need. The untold suffering, misery and even fatal consequences that these inhumane cuts will exact on the poorest of the poor should move the coldest among us. Write and call your congressional representative and implore them to take a stand for decency and humanity and vote against this mean-spirited bill. I know that’s what my parents would have done.

James Martorano served as Yorktown councilman from 1992 to 2011. He is currently a member of the Yorktown Board of Ethics. An attorney, he has worked for the Legal Aid Society for 40 years.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Cuomo’s Frivolous Lawsuits Cost Us Money

Since Donald Trump became president, New York State has filed more than 100 lawsuits against the federal government. This includes those filed by both Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. It does not include lawsuits filed by the City of New York. Most of them are political in nature, filed to please the plaintiffs’ voting base. In the real world, if we had filed ...

Live and Learn

When I was a senior at Fordham University (1970), the school initiated an experimental program allowing a small number of seniors to teach a professor-assisted accredited pass/fail course. I applied and to my amazement was one of three students selected. The course I taught was titled Philosophy of Education.

The underlying theory of my course was that every educational system has an ...

A Trip to the 'Liberry'

Raise your hand if you didn’t—did not—call the library the “liberry” when you were little. I’m guessing not a lot of hands just went up.

Didn’t just about all of us say “liberry” when we were learning to read? (Well, whaddya expect when a place is named something way too easy for little kids to mispronounce?)

OK. Now, raise your hand if ...

I'm Mrs. Heat Miser

To be perfectly honest, I did not need a large rodent with insomnia to convince me that we had six more weeks of winter. It’s been so cold outside lately that when I go out, my nostrils stick together. The dog is so hesitant to go out that he does his business right on the deck, less than five feet from the door, and then gives me a look of contemptuous indignation when he comes back in the ...

Should Valentine's Day Be Celebrated at School?

Dear Dr. Linda,

I’ve been a third-grade teacher for over 20 years and have never allowed my students to celebrate Valentine’s Day in my class. I know my colleagues think I’m mean, but I’m refusing to celebrate it for many reasons.

1) Children hand out cards to each other and there’s always some child left out or who gets very few; 2) Children are always asked ...

What Next for Sober Houses?

February 7, 2018

To the editor,

As Yogi Berra famously said: “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

As reported in the Jan. 25 edition of Yorktown News, 482 Underhill Ave. is back in the sober house business, this time operating as a “family,” not a convalescent, home. And because it’s operating as a family home, there are no town regulations, standards, guidelines ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, February 22, 7:00 PM

NY Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital, Cortlandt Manor

Book Club for Women with Cancer

Health & Wellness

Sat, February 24, 10:00 AM

Jefferson Valley Mall , Yorktown Heights

Yorktown Indoor Farmers Market

Food & Drink Health & Wellness

Sat, February 24, 12:00 PM

Club Fit, Jefferson Valley

Yoga for Women with Cancer

Health & Wellness

First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown Receives GreenFaith Certification

February 16, 2018

The First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown has completed the requirements for GreenFaith certification (www.greenfaith.org). GreenFaith is an organization which helps religious communities grow in environmental leadership. GreenFaith certification was a two year process that required a number of accomplishments in the areas of stewardship, education, worship, environmental justice advocacy, and ...