In his 1994 book, "Beyond Peace," Richard Nixon predicted that our nation’s biggest challenge would not be war with a foreign enemy, but rather an internal “war” over how to allocate money within our borders.
With our national debt about to exceed $17 trillion and another budget fight looming, his prediction is being realized.
Many current fiscal issues are actually decades old, but a newer economic and cultural war targeting seniors has been intensifying. The conflict will only worsen; demographers tell us that about 10,000 Americans will turn 65 each day for nearly the next two decades!
This war is being waged on two fronts. First, a vicious cultural divide is festering among younger Americans toward seniors.
A Facebook study from March 2013 monitored 84 different groups of 20-29 year olds, conducted by Cal Berkeley, Yale, Hunter College, and Hopkins School in New Haven. The report's findings are alarming: “Seniors are a burden to society;” “I hate everything about them;” “They don’t contribute to society;” “Anyone over 69 should immediately be put in front of a firing squad.”
Even President Obama, during an ABC town hall meeting, marginalized seniors by callously saying we just have to tell seniors "to take a painkiller.”
Society is losing respect for and patience with seniors. Elder abuse is becoming more prevalent, and views on caring for seniors during their retirement years are changing.
Obamacare hurts seniors in multiple ways. The last government estimate cuts over $700 billion from Medicare during its first decade. Additionally, it establishes an independent medical advisory board, tasked with reducing Medicare spending by 0.5 percent in 2015, increased to a mandatory reduction of 1.5 percent annually by 2018.
this could have a chilling effect: Fewer doctors, hospitals, and clinics will participate in the Medicare program, making it more difficult for seniors to find doctors and secure appointments.
The board will focus on reducing expenditures in Parts B and D (the prescription drug plan) of Medicare.
Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, predicts that Medicare Part D premiums will increase 40 percent, while drug costs and out-of-pocket expenses for medication also rise.
Reductions to payees will place a greater financial burden on seniors, both for increased Medicare Supplement insurance premiums and for treatments not fully covered by either policy.
Bioethicist Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel was a key architect consultant for Obamacare, and it was constructed with a bias against both the young and old. Those between the ages of 15 and 40 are given the greatest protection, based on the low investment already made for those under 15 and the belief that the return on investment for those over 40 is low.
Then there is momentum growing in Washington to follow Australia's model and increase the qualifying age for Medicare and Social Security to 70.
Aside from Obamacare, the Federal Reserve policy of zero percent interest rates is seriously hurting seniors. Many have saved for much of their lives, intending to live off of interest and growth from their investments.
Zero percent interest means they must use their principle to survive, dramatically reducing the length of time their nest eggs will last. In 2012, economists James Harrigan and Antony Davies presented data showing that between 1998-2005, seniors’ net worth increased 11 percent annually, but between 2005-2010, it decreased 2.8 percent annually!
Seniors are already faced with a daunting challenge: savings remain stagnant, but food and medical costs continue to rise.
Last year, the government decided to garnish seniors’ Social Security payments if they co-signed on any student loans that became delinquent.
There is bipartisan support in Washington for reducing Social Security cost of living increases by substituting products in the calculation, forcing seniors to change eating and living habits, reducing their ability to maintain a standard of living.
The war on seniors is not just an American phenomenon. A recent article published in the April 2013 Generation America magazine (GenerationAmerica.org), entitled “No World for Old People,” details how seniors are being neglected, abused, and marginalized worldwide.
I’m not sure if this tide can be turned, but I hope our government doesn’t turn its back on those who helped make America a haven for the abused and oppressed worldwide.
I understand concern over the debt and what percent of the budget goes to Social Security and Medicare. Remember, however, that seniors have paid, via a lifetime of payroll deductions, to cover this government retirement insurance.
If our government hadn’t spent Social Security’s $2.7 trillion surplus and instead invested those dollars for seniors’ retirement, our elected officials could have avoided the current “crisis” they created.
This war on seniors is real, and we must redouble our efforts to stop it.
Chuck Woolery has been a Hollywood personality for more than four decades as a recording artist, actor and, most notably, as a legendary host of such game shows as “Wheel of Fortune,” “The Dating Game,” “Love Connection,” and “Lingo.” As a Navy veteran, Woolery has held conservative political views for most of his life. He did not share these views publicly due to the pervading liberal atmosphere in the entertainment industry. Read more reports from Chuck Woolery — Click Here Now.
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