Friday, May 9, 2014

Do Senior Citizens Have to Eat?


You wouldn’t think eating would be a required activity if you examined the recent changes in Social Security payments senior citizens receive. Government leaders have always played fast and loose with the rules regarding SS. The way it was set up would have guaranteed that the programs would have ample funding for many generations to come. Raiding the funds has become another politician’s game to finance a multitude of programs that have nothing to do with the original intentions of the program. Recently, they have manipulated the statistics allowing yearly increases to fall far behind the cost of inflation. Increases are based on a confusing concept known as the ‘market basket.’ The market basket is a collection of commodities and services consumers need. It is where we spend most of our money. The market basket is comprised of seven major areas; food and beverages, housing, apparel and upkeep, transportation, medical care, and entertainment. These commodities are broken down into 69 other groupings consisting of 184 different items. The justification for keeping the increases small is the idea that seniors no longer consume these goods at the rate of the younger generation. Reality presents a different picture. Inflation has gone up over one-hundred percent in the last ten years, while social security payments have risen around 30%. Some items, like gasoline and heating fuel, have increased as much as 150%. Health insurance payments increase each year as you get older, and don’t forget about the groceries. On a recent trip to the grocery store where I shop, I was surprised to find that most meat and meat products had doubled since the previous week, with fresh fruits and vegetables showing an increase of around 25%.

I have no idea what they base the concept that seniors don’t consume as much as their children or grandchildren, except for the fact they don’t have the money to spend they once had. Evidently, someone in government has the idea that family, friends, and neighbors come skipping up the drive on a daily basis carrying food and providing services, in the same way a hospital or an assisted living facility does. Many children and grandchildren with retired family members regard them as a bank where they can subsidize college expenses, car payments, and a million other things they need, or think they need. I know a man and woman whose children and grandchildren live in the same town where they live. At the insistence of the younger generation, they eat out each Friday night, and grandpa has to pick up the check for all twelve of them. Grandma’s car is just going to waste sitting there in the garage, so it is borrowed on occasions to go on vacations. I don’t know who is responsible for our current dilemma we find ourselves in, but I strongly suspect that it must have been a bunch of kids. I think it’s time for them to grow up.