Let us keep our promise to seniors

We get it: Social Security is the pits when it comes to balancing the national budget.
Apr 23, 2013


The United States has long been saddled by this nearly $800-billion-a-year monster, and it has only become more monstrous in recent years.

But here’s what we don’t get: Why would President Barrack Obama, who campaigned twice under promises not to mess with Social Security benefits for our senior citizens, seek to do just that?

The government made a promise to its senior citizens. These patriots have paid into the system with decades of hard work and lots of pennies, dimes and Ben Franklins from their paychecks for all of those years. In return, they were promised a small safety net to help pad their retirement years. For some, their once-a-month check is their only source of income.

The reality is that the pyramid scheme concocted in the 1930s will only go so far once people stop paying into it. Our government leaders now see its flaws, but most don’t want to touch it for fear of aggravating the voters — many of whom are senior citizens, or soon will be.

We agree something must be done, just as something must be done about the billions spent in international aid, or the trillions spent on a seemingly endless war. What we don’t agree with is the chained consumer price index scheme that Obama’s team has cooked up. It smells downright rotten.

We owe it to our seniors to see them through retirement with the promises that were made to them years ago. We also owe it to the younger crowd that has paid a little bit into Social Security with some sort of compensation for the money they’ve invested into a system that likely will not be there when they retire. And we need to talk about the eventual phase-out of Social Security.

It needs to be fair. Being fair does not include bilking seniors out of their piggy banks. That’s exactly what the chained CPI proposal under Obama would do.

That roughly $1,000 might not mean much to someone on Capitol Hill who makes a bundle by swindling the poor and seniors out of their benefits, but it sure does mean a whole lot to seniors trying to pay their heat, food and medical bills.

Pony up the money promised, and figure out a better path forward. Because, cowboy, this ain’t it.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.



haven't kept any campaign promises so far...way start now?


now you know why grandpa kept his money hidden in the basement, stashed in between hundreds of books he kept, didnt trust the bank or the goverment


Although I believe most people agree that we should honor our promises to our seniors, including promises under what the editors correctly identify as FDR's "Ponzi Scheme" the chained CPI is a very small part of the problems facing seniors today. We could start with Obamacare, which reduced some $750 billion dollars from Medicare in order to pay for Obamacare, while adding more seniors under Medicaid without providing for a way to pay for the increased numbers. As we speak it is increasingly difficult for doctors to survive financially if they treat patients on Medicare and Medicaid - for seniors that means it will be increasingly difficult to find a doctor of their choosing.

But even that pales in comparison to what Obama's fiscal policies have done to seniors. Most seniors are responsible people, who planned for years to care for themselves in their retirement, relying on their savings and on their Social Security checks. The chained CPI will result in a reduction of Social Security benefits by .2 or .3% (which does not result in a loss of $1,000 except for the truly rich). That is spit in the Big Lake compared to what has been done to savings under Obama. Pre-Obama, seniors could reasonably expect to earn 5% on savings (CDs, bonds, money markets). If a couple had $360,000 in savings, that 5% would produce $18,000 a year in interest — that's $1500 a month. Couple that with an unexceptional Social Security payment of about the same amount, and that's $36,000 a year, $3,000 a month. Nothing fancy, but enough to get by.

Now change that 5% to 0.9% and you're earning $3,240 per year, or about $270 a month. Add that to $1,500 a month in Social Security and you've got $1,770 a month to live on; just $21,240 a year. That's a brutal 41% cut in income. And it is why many senior citizens around the country are being forced to draw down savings to make ends meet.

These figures are taken from a USA Today article from August of last year http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/n..., which also points out that when you add the rise in the price of gas under Obama and food, many seniors truly have a difficult time,

So, as much as you are right to question if there isn't a better way to save money than screwing seniors by chaining the CPI (reduce federal spending overall, permit gas and oil drilling on federal lands, relax unnecessary environmental regulations, reduce foreign aid in general, and aid to enemies in particular, reduce government charity on the taxpayer dime (Obamaphones), etc, etc.) it would make more sense for the editors to focus on Obama's policies that have decimated the savings of responsible seniors in a future editorial.


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