Hey Congress: Respect Our Senior Citizens And Show Them The Money

November 14, 2010

(ChattahBox Op/Ed) – Show them the money, please!  The Lame Duck Congress convenes on Monday to begin the balance of the 111th Congress and to get to some unfinished business.  Priority number one, for Democrats anyway, will be an instant bonus check to 58 million Social Security recipients of $250.  This should be a no brainer, but will it be?

The bill, with a total cost of about $14 billion, is an attempt to make up for no cost of living increase to Social Security recipients last year, and there will also be no cost of living increase in 2011.  In effect, the senior citizens who rely on their SS checks to help make ends meet have not been able to keep up with rising prices, and they have risen and will continue to do so.

Now for those of you who are wanting to remind me that Social Security was never intended to be someone’s total retirement, it has become a critical component for many senior citizens as their pension and retirement investments, many of which were tied to the stock markets, have tanked after a disastrous Bush administration policies and his ongoing record growth of government and increasing our deficit by forcing us into the Iraq War which was responsible in a large part for the destruction of our financial stability.

Just give them the $250 and let’s get on with it already.  That money, all $14 billion of it will go directly back into the economy, and it would be almost instantaneous.  $250 would only give these people a small shot in helping defray the cost of co-pays on needed medication, or allow them to pay down some debt.  It would be a small token and an appreciated injection of cash that will help these people immediately.

Gas where I am is just at $3 a gallon.  The cost of food staples are increasing.  The colder weather is on top of us and heating bills are rising now.  And for those on a fixed and unstable income would certainly welcome the $250 and would use it well.

An attempt to do this same thing was rejected in the Senate a few months back and there is no guarantee that even as this will assuredly pass the House this upcoming week that the budget and deficit minded politicians will and could balk at it again in the Senate.  But without the fear of an election breathing down their necks, perhaps a few more Democrats in the Senate will flip their vote for this small token of cash for the senior citizens who do need that money.

It has been two years since senior citizens have seen an increase in their Social Security benefits and next year will provide no increase either. Most people, no matter how small the increase may be, traditionally have seen an increase in their annual wages, so the question to ask yourself before you become critical of this $250 check is how would you feel if you worked for three years at the exact same wage level while the costs of everything you purchase went up?  That is the reality of what is happening.

To reiterate, I get that Social Security was never intended to be someone’s sole source of retirement income, but the reality proves differently than concept, which is usually the case anyway.  When the company you dedicated your life to goes under and files bankruptcy, and your retirement health benefits that were promised disappear, and the cost of buying gas, food and medicine keeps rising faster than your investment portfolio, what other options do our senior citizen’s have?  Give me that answer and I’ll shut up.  But we all know that the very same people that are suffering through this economy in the latter years of their lives are being punished by a political system and government policies that have done nothing but weaken our economy for too long.  It’s $250, so let’s get real and send that money out.  It isn’t their fault that the country they built is being destroyed by the people that benefitted most by their hard work, is it?

Tony Trupiano is a former national syndicated progressive radio talk show host, author, and a former candidate for Congress. He is also a nationally recognized media trainer.  He can be reached at tony@mediatony.com and can read his Blog at www.mediatraining.me.


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