Advocate PDF 2016

Pre 2012 Archives

Advice to the media

By Rachael Levine

I am very disappointed in those in the media who continue to talk about “seniors” being relatively well off compared with those who are without any adequate income. No doubt having income from any source is more desirable, but these repeated assertions feed the notion that somehow all seniors are living the life pictured in the AARP magazines.

Herewith, my advice to the media:

When you talk about “seniors,” talk about the difference between those with private income from investments, pensions and savings – and those whose food and roof depend upon Social Security.

Talk about those who retire in relatively good health – then talk about the many for whom multiple health problems begin to demand costly medical attention.

Talk about those would could – and those who could not – afford the AARP’s Medicare Advantage plan that’s been a great boon to insurance companies, but that ran into big problems in overpaying providers.

Talk about the need for health care for all to lower medical costs for all – including seniors.

Talk about those who may have retired with their mortgages paid off, but who cannot afford the repairs and upkeep, insurances and taxes that make it possible to remain in their homes.

Talk about the differences between those who worked all their lives in caregiving, construction, food preparation, teaching, farming, fire fighting, fishing – and those who picked up a briefcase or opened a computer to begin their workday. Then consider whether raising the age of retirement for all workers is an acceptable way to “save Social Security.”

Talk about those who lived in poverty in childhood, and who may never have escaped an environment of substandard housing, environmental hazards, limited or no medical care, poor nutritional choices, and an ongoing, endemic indifference to the well-being of their children and grandchildren.

Talk about those who share their Social Security income with children who can’t quite meet their mortgage payments, or with grandchildren who need help to stay in school; or who provide a roof over the heads of these children and grandchildren.

In the light of these realities, Mr. and Ms. Media, reject the complacent view that all “seniors are relatively well off.” Then join the campaign to “scrap the cap” on Social Security withholding taxes as a way to improve the lives of all who depend on a monthly Social Security check.

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