Seniors and the Magical $250 Bribe

by GREGORY D. LEE October 20, 2009
The government just announced that, based on zero inflation, Social Security recipients most likely will not receive a cost-of-living allowance next year. This would be the first time since President Nixon signed into law an annual increase in Social Security payments according to the Consumer Price Index.
Bribe's on the way, Gramps.
This should be good news for everyone. Inflation is down and the government doesn’t have to borrow more money to spend additional billions on this already-bankrupted Ponzi scheme.
Despite zero inflation, President Obama still wants to send seniors $250 just before the mid-term elections next year, costing an estimated $13 billion dollars. Republicans are also in favor of the idea if Congress will cut an equal amount elsewhere.
That’s the fundamental difference between the two parties. But I predict the Republicans will roll over and vote for the increase even though it means increasing the deficit. They don’t want Democrats airing commercials saying they wanted to cut Social Security.
What’s so magical about $250 a year, or $20.84 a month? Will that stimulate the economy and bring it out of recession? Why not $500? Better yet, $1,000? The idea of bribing seniors for their votes next year is revolting. How about making Social Security wages income tax exempt next year instead?
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said, “Any senior living in the real world knows that the cost of living has gone up over the last year.” Says whom? As reported by the Associated Press, the Labor Department says that over the past 12 months, gasoline prices have fallen 29.7 percent, and overall energy costs have decreased 21.6 percent. In general, consumer prices have declined 2.1 percent since the third quarter of 2008.
“Without relief, millions of older Americans will be unable to afford skyrocketing health care and prescription drug costs, as well as other basic necessities,” said Tom Nelson, chief operating officer of AARP. What makes him think that just because you are older, you can’t afford “basic necessities” and prescription drugs? Doesn’t he know seniors 65 and older enjoy the lowest rate of poverty among any other group of U.S. citizens? Seniors have had a lifetime to prepare for retirement, and in many cases, Social Security is only a portion of their portfolios.
Yet politicians assume the elderly, disabled, immigrants, minority members, women, college students or all of the above need to be on the government dole. They want these people dependent on government programs, which they love to expand.
When California had to make major cuts this year in its budget, Democrats sent e-mails to constituents asking their help in convincing Gov. Schwarzenegger not to cut a giveaway program called “Cal-Grants” used for college education. In his e-mail, my state assemblyman attached a YouTube clip featuring several high school aged minority members, one of whom said that if he had to pay for his own education, it would be “inconvenient” for him. Another kid said she and all her friends were relying on the money. Then the clip showed another legislator who said she would not vote to cut a program that would “destroy the dreams of young people.” Please give me a break.
I replied to my assemblyman’s e-mail that these kids could fund their college education through getting a job, or by applying for a variety of federal programs, including Pell grants, student loans, and the G.I. bill. I guess he wasn’t interested because I never heard from him. He wants to keep young Californians dependent on a state that can no longer afford anything except the “basic necessities.”
Members of Congress need to forego any increase in Social Security next year because of zero inflation. They should also agree not to attack each other for being fiscally responsible, for a change. Contributing Editor Gregory D. Lee is a retired DEA Supervisory Special Agent. He writes a weekly syndicated column for North Star National and can be reached through his website:

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