Senior citizen payment is political pandering

Published 10:13 am Friday, October 23, 2009

President Obama’s proposal to hand out $250 checks to senior citizens has nothing to do with the worthy goal of helping older Americans survive the recession but a whole lot to do with pandering to a powerful voting bloc.

Since 1975, Social Security benefits have been linked to cost-of-living increases so that seniors would be harmed less by inflation eating into their buying power. This year, for the first time, the cost of living actually fell by 2.1 percent compared to 12 months ago. Therefore, seniors, for the first time, will not get a cost-of-living adjustment in their benefit checks in 2010.

But it must be remembered that, this past January, Social Security recipients got a 5.8 percent increase in their payments, largely in response to spikes in energy and gasoline costs fueled by record high oil prices in 2008. In addition, seniors received a $250 check as part of the federal stimulus program. …

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What’s really going on here is that the Obama Administration wants to send seniors a $250 lollipop to say we still love you to an important constituency that’s already irrationally afraid the health-care reforms being hammered out in Congress will reduce their coverage or even kill them. …

The (Toledo) Blade