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Financial Planning

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To the editors:

The election being over, it now seems open season on Carol Moseley Braun. Michael Miner joins the pack already loosed by the Sun-Times and the Tribune [Hot Type, November 13]. The Tribune, in commenting on the Braun endorsement interview, later described the candidate as woefully lacking comprehension of the issues. This from the newspaper that endorsed George Bush and judged him capable of not only discerning the issues but called for his reelection!

As for the medicaid issue, let's lay that one to rest. A friend recently visited a financial counselor and asked what was the term for transferring assets from elderly dependent parents to the children--the answer she got was, "That's called financial planning." I work in this field and constantly get publications across my desk from authorities in that area recommending just such transfers of ownership in order to qualify for government benefits. For years insurance companies have been importuning parents who apply for college financial aid to transfer substantial amounts of their conventional investments into annuities. This little ploy, agents inform willing buyers, allows those assets to be classified as retirement funds, exempting them from consideration from the family asset calculations in order to more easily qualify for a student loan.

To those that complain that Braun stole public money, then buying those large quantities of tax-exempt municipal bonds that the wealthy are now loading up on because Clinton is going to raise their taxes should be subject to equal scrutiny, yes? Or is that just good "financial planning"? Ms. Braun, had she gotten good advice, could have placed the $28,700 windfall in an irrevocable trust for the benefit of her mother where it would not have affected medicaid payments.

Carol Moseley Braun has been chosen by the will of the people of Illinois to fill one of our highest elective offices. Let's finally just give her a chance to do her job and see how she works out.

Bill Sheldon

Glenview

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