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Ray Hanania Columns

Special Column: Seniors pushed to end of the line by government

Monday, Nov. 15, 2021


In this Special Column below, I look at how Seniors have been pushed to the back of the priority line when it comes to their needs and the government's concerns. Seniors are taken for granted by politicians but they are pandered to by the same politicians. The politicians play a shell game to make it look like they care for us through their hyped-up rhetoric about seniors, but they ignore seniors when it comes to parsing out services and benefits. Seniors have a unique clout that they fail to take advantage of especially in voting. And groups like AARP are failing Seniors, serving mainly to inundate us with advertising promotions. Advertisers are paying AARP big bucks to have AARP push their services in the many worthless emails and mailers the seniors get.

We, Seniors, can and must change that. 

Last week in the Des Plaines Valley News, SW News-Herald and Regional Newspapers I wrote about how Seniors  are disproportionately bearing the heaviest burden of the economic slump caused by the Coronavirus COVID Pandemic. Nothing of real substance is being done to address challenges facing seniors. Seniors are included in the political rhetoric but not in the substance of what is being done including in President Biden's recent budget.

I list the four things Government MUST DO for Seniors, but won't unless we speak out. 
Click here to read the column.

I hope you enjoy this week's SPECIAL COLUMN and that it motivates you to act. Thank you for subscribing.

Ray Hanania
rghanania@gmail.com

 
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Monday, Nov. 15, 2021

Special Column: Seniors pushed to end of the line by government

 
  • Buried in the flurry of the news during the past several months are embarrassing funding proposals that pander to the needs of senior citizens but do little to help them. 

 

  • Social Security COLA is going up to 5.9 percent but the monthly premium cost of Medicare Part B is going up 17 percent. Average it all out and seniors are actually getting less this year

 

By Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania


When will Senior Citizens use the power of their clout to force our government to recognize our needs and make our needs a priority?

The fact is that seniors are the one demographic that is pandered to the most by politicians but who get the least from government.

The politicians love to talk about how important we are and for a very good reason. Seniors, or Baby Boomers, account for 16.5 percent of America's population (or 50 million) according to the U.S. Census and are a powerful voice in voting. Seniors have the highest voting rates of any voter age group.

At election time, politicians can depend on our votes. But are we being smart about how we vote and what we demand for our vote?

No!

Last week, President Biden pushed to pass his budget proposals for infrastructure and for social programs. They said that Medicare would be increased, but in truth they were lying. Medicare will be expanded to include some support for "hearing."

But it was the news this week that President Biden downplayed that impacts seniors the most.

Medicare costs for Part B will go up more than 15 percent this year. The average monthly premium of $150 will rise to more than $175 a month. Biden asserts it must go up because of the economic pressures caused COVID, Coronavirus pandemic.

COVID is being used as the excuse to increase all kinds of costs and taxes while reducing services.

I think the truth is, though, that Medicare Part B costs are going up in order to off-set the money being spent by the government on everyone else and on every other democratic except Seniors. The vast majority of spending is going to Americans who have the ability to work and earn but who are being encouraged to stay home and enjoy the Federal handouts. College loans for many, not all, will be forgiven which means someone -- the Seniors -- will have to pay those costs.

Worse than the added costs Seniors must pay is that there is very little other benefits for seniors whose investments and savings and hard work over their six or more decades of life have helped build this country.

The only increase for seniors will be an increase in the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) for Social Security. Cola increases have average a minuscule 2.5 percent since 1999. In 2011 and 2012 there was no COLA increase. That allowed government to give a 3.7 percent increase in 2013, to make it look like they were doing something. In essence that was like giving a 1.4 percent increase each year.

Fro 2014 to 2019, a five year period, the COLA increase was under 2 percent with nothing in 2017 and only .5 percent in 2018, long before COVID and the Coronavirus pandemic.

In 2020, the COLA increase was only 2.8 percent, the second highest since 2010. In 2021, the COLA was only 1.3 percent.

In essence, they gave us nothing for years so they could throw us a bone this year. To distract from the hike in Medicare Plan B, Biden is increasing COLA in 2022 for Social Security by 5.9 percent.

Remember only 16.9 percent of the population or about 50 million people are over 65 years of age. But more than 69 million people receive social security benefits. Seniors are the largest portion but only a portion of the total.



This week, almost like an after thought, it was announced that President Biden will do two things. He is going to increase Medicare Part B premiums by 15 percent and that he is going to increase Social Security (COLA payments) by 5.9 percent.

If you take this year's 5.9 percent and spread it out over the past decade, it averages an increase of under 2 percent. In the end, Seniors are losing out again.

Put the Medicare Part B hike against the Social Security COLA "increase" and you are actually losing money, thanks to President Biden.

Have you figured out you are not the president's real concern yet?

It is time senior citizens demanded more. In my column this week I wrote that Government must do four things:

 

  • Eliminate ALL taxation for seniors 65 years of age and older who earn $100,000 or less. That includes no taxes on property. NEVER tax social security or income combined under $100,000. Any income over $100,000 would be taxed at current rates.

 

  • Make healthcare and prescriptions free for all seniors (65 and older). No costs. No co-pay. Nothing.

 

  • Force public utilities companies to reduce by 50 percent billing costs for services -- telephone, electricity, heat, cable and WiFi.

 

  • Allow for ALL of these benefits regardless of whether a senior has a younger, non-senior spouse (under 65) who works and earns income. Separate the income taxes of those couples into two separate filings, but still classify the younger filing as "married" to allow all current available deduction claims.


If you don't think you deserve more from government after your 15 plus years of working and paying into Social Security, paying taxes and building up this country, then you are your own worst enemy.

Seniors have a powerful voice. We need to use it.


Please share this column with your senior friends in order to make a difference and urge them to subscribe. Who else has your voice? Click here to subscribe.

 

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You can find my mainstream columns in the Des Plaines Valley News, The Regional News, the Southwest News-Herald and The Reporter on the Southwest News Newspaper Group website, & SuburbanChicagoland.com


For more information on Ray Hanania's columns, or to Book Ray Hanania as a speaker, visit www.Hanania.com. Email Ray at rghanania@gmail.com.)

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