Rich Galen

That, as it happens, is precisely the amount Joe Banker and his wife do not have in their checking account because the Social Security System has attached his checking account taking control of his wife's paychecks as well as his VA benefit checks.

The only way to fix the situation is for Joe Banker to quit his job at the press parking lot remain unemployed for at least 60 days and reapply for disability.

I recognize I only got Joe Banker's side of this story, but if it is even largely accurate then it demonstrates what happens when the federal government tries to run major social programs and writes rules which are unbendable, even assuming they can be understood.

There are tens of thousands of Joe Bankers in America: Guys who have gone off to war, come home bruised and battered but, over the years have made their way, staying above water, but not by much.

If we are not vigilant, there will be tens of thousands more Joe Bankers as the result of their service in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I hope this Joe Banker finds a life raft to cling to.

Show me the alley, show me the train;

Show me the hobo, who sleeps out in the rain;

And I'll show you a young man

With so many reasons why;

There but for fortune, go you or I.

Phil Ochs

On a the Secret Decoder Ring page today: A bio of Phil Ochs, a photo of Joe Banker a fascinating Mullfoto and an amusing Catchy Caption of the Day.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at