Seniors need to refocus the National Debate on improving Senior benefits
Seniors have been dragged into a polarized national debate over who is better, Trump, Biden, Obama, Bush or Clinton. But when it comes to Senior needs, data shows none have really done much to help us. Seniors need to change the focus of the National debate. Worse is the AARP, the American Association of Retired People. The CEO, a career government worker, makes more than $700,000 a year. The AARP is not a lobby. It’s an advertising promotion system that generates revenues by selling your info to advertising who inundate you with junk and often deceitful insurance programs and offers. The AARP should be fighting to waive property taxes for Seniors, but they are not.
By Ray Hanania
For people 65 years and older, there should be only one priority concern to ask: Who is fighting for the rights of Senior Citizens, 65 years of age and older?
Do politicians think seniors are stupid? Many apparently do.
Last year is a good example of how the interests and needs of Seniors are ignored, pandered to, and marginalized..
President Biden and the Congress approved a 5.9 percent increase for Social Security for 2022, which is welcome. Since 2000, the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) has increased only 2.3 percent on average.
COLA increases have been erratic and inconsistent and are tied to the broader economy rather than to the economy as it impacts people relying on Social Security as their main source of income.
To make matters worse, Biden and the Congress increased the cost of Medicare Part B by 14.5 percent, pretty much wiping out any increased income in Social Security.
In fact, since 2000, the COLA for Medicare Part B has increased an average of 6.5 percent every year.
The politicians — Democrats AND Republicans — have been pulling the wool over your eyes in a pandering shell game. They emphasize how they increased Social Security benefits, and downplay the Medicare costs. Medicare costs increased three times more on average than Social Security payments.
You’re losing money.
When you look at the numbers, every president and every administration and every Congress has been inconsistent in caring for seniors.
Yet, I know many of you feel that you have to engage the political process along with everyone else in our polarized world by defending one political party and criticizing the other political party.
That’s the problem. The debate they have dragged you into with emotion and news media manipulation is irrelevant to what’s most important in your life as a Senior 65 years of age or older.
For those who are under 65, all we can say is just wait until you reach 65, if you reach 65 at all considering how violence is spreading in the era of the so-called “defund the police” movement.
When the typical 40 year old reaches the age of 65, chances are Social Security won’t exist — even though you have been paying for it since the day you started working at your first job. It’s something you need to be concerned about, especially those 40 and older.
The point is, stop drinking the cool aid Seniors. Stop allowing the biased news media and the complicit politicians from leading you by your Senior nose falsely telling you their political party cares about you. The numbers I just showed you prove they don’t really care.
As a Senior, what you need to do is start making your needs the priority, regardless of political party.
If we have to have a political party to hang on to, we should call it the Senior Party and start making the needs of Seniors your number one priority.
But until then, stop getting dragged into the anti-Trump and anti-Biden polarization which has only one purpose, to “sell newspapers” and to distract voters from the real issues.
You are being distracted from the real issue, which is how little you as a senior are getting.
I blame the AARP as much as anyone for allowing this to happen. AARP, the American Association of Retired Persons, has done nothing except take your information and resell it to advertisers for their profit. And when I say profit, the CEO of AARP makes more than $700,000 a year in salary and wages. The average salary there is $223,000.
And they can get away with calling AARP a “non-profit.”
During my first, and last year, of paying for an AARP membership, I got nothing except to be inundated with advertising promotions from advertisers and from the AARP to buy scam life insurance policies.
The current AARP President, Jo Ann Jenkins, is a career government employee serving first at Department of Housing, Department of Transportation, Department of Agriculture and the Library of Congress. She sits on at least 30 boards including General Mills, the Wall Street Journal, the Kennedy Center, and the Symphony Orchestra.
She has no idea what it’s like to be a Senior in today’s world, depending in a large part on Social Security!
Stop drinking the cool aid! Stop being led into political fights that avoid the most important issues that impact your life as a Senior. Stop giving your vote to government officials who don’t care about you and stop paying for the lavish lifestyles of robber barons like Jenkins and the AARP.
They make more from you than you make from them!
I wish when I was younger, before I turned 65, I would have recognized how important this was to my life. Young people take these issues for granted because it seems so far away and they can deal with the problems later.
But they forget they are paying for all this, too, and their future lives are at stake. If things don’t change now for Seniors 65 years of age or older, then things will be worse for these young people when they turn 65.
In the meantime, Seniors need to be smarter.
We need to focus on our needs and influence our elected officials to focus more on our needs, too.
I’ve written about changing the laws to waive taxes for seniors 65 and older on Social Security who make $100,000 or less, $150,000 for married Seniors. Some have suggested the ceiling should only be $65,000 for one senior, or $100,000 for two Seniors. Impose a .5 percent Income Tax hike on everyone to cover the waiver.
I think we should go further and eliminate property taxes, too, for Seniors in those categories. And even impose ceiling costs on utilities like gas, water, electricity and even Cable TV which has skyrocketed in costs and have broken every promise they made when they began.
The point is, this is what we should be talking about, helping Seniors survive, not engage in the hate-driven polarized political arguments dominating the national discussion today.
I spell Seniors with a Capitol S. You should, too., for your sake and for the sake of the young people who are right behind us in this challenge
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( Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter. A political analyst and CEO of Urban Strategies Group, Hanania’s opinion columns on mainstream issues are published in the Southwest News Newspaper Group in the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers. His Middle East columns are published in the Arab News. For more information on Ray Hanania visit www.Hanania.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)