It’s Time to Take the Time for Older Americans
The State of the Union address last night was well written, well delivered, and received with much standing and much applause . . . but it seemed to ignore the fastest growing, most vulnerable and the most politically active segment of Americans, those who have retired or are close to retiring. There was much talk about the middle class, but little talk about the greatest class. There was much talk about hard working Americans, but little talk about those who have already worked hard, for forty or fifty years or more. There was also much talk about giving Americans more opportunities, but very little talk about those who made their own opportunities and built the greatest nation on earth. The President said, “A return to the American values of fair play and shared responsibility will help us protect our people and our economy.” If that’s true, then he wants to return to the America built by older Americans. He said, “Let's never forget: Millions of Americans who work hard and play by the rules every day deserve a Government and a financial system that do the same,” yet then he talked very little about those who have worked hard and played by the rules and deserve and rightly expect their government to also play by the rules and keep its promises concerning Medicare and Social Security.
Maybe the President just didn’t have time, I bet he wanted to talk about older Americans but just didn’t want to make an already long speech longer. I’m going to assume this was the case and add some things that I’m sure he would have said if he just had more time.
The President talked about controlling fraud in the financial and mortgage banking industry but I’m sure if he had more time he would have also talked about controlling fraud in Medicare and Social Security. I know he realized that almost 10% of every dollar spent in Medicare is lost on waste, fraud and abuse. I know that the President realizes that paying Social Security benefits to illegal aliens weakens that critical program. I bet the President is going to also add more investigators to those units who are fighting fraud in Medicare and Social Security.
President Obama talked about reducing regulations and the intrusion of government to help businesses prosper. I know if he had time he would have also vowed to reduce regulations on doctors and hospitals, to reduce the government’s interference in our health care decisions and to let the free market continue to offer expanded choices at competitive prices in Medicare Part D.
I know that when the President said, “I'm prepared to make more reforms that rein in the long term costs of Medicare and Medicaid, and strengthen Social Security, so long as those programs remain a guarantee of security for seniors”, that, had he had more time, he would have added that this security would encompass those that are retired and those that are nearing retirement and that any cost cutting would not affect the cost or access to benefits or choices enjoyed now by those retired and in the future for those nearing retirement.
I know that President Obama is focused on jobs, the economy, and yes, getting re-elected. A good economy is important to the wellbeing of everyone, no matter their age, but the drive to a better economy can’t be accomplished on a trail of broken promises to those older Americans who worked hard, played by the rules, lived within their means and prepared for their retirement based on a Government that also played by the rules and kept its promises.
It’s time to take the time to ensure that any new policies, regulations or laws fully consider and maintain the health and financial security of older Americans.