Mahatma Gandhi, the founder of modern India who got the British rulers out through non-violent action, was fond of saying that: Any nation can be judged by the way it treats its animals and its prisoners. Gandhi might well have added one more group: that nation's elderly.
So it is deplorable that America violates Gandhi's rule when it comes to our own seniors, by first freezing their vital social security retirement benefits for two years in a row, 2009 and 2010, and now ignoring the resurgence of very significant inflation in the United States. My previous articles pointed out clearly and convincingly that the pretext for that unprecedented two-year social security freeze was totally invalid as regards the elderly, whose costs (such as fuel, housing, and medical care) have been rising much faster than the overall Consumer Price Index on which this atrocious benefit freeze was based.
Now, this sad plight of America's senior citizens is made much worse by the renewed inflation in such areas as food prices, which have risen by as much as twenty percent in recent months, as well as the ongoing climb of fuel costs to astronomical heights. Gas prices alone are predicted to rise to a range of four to seven dollars per gallon this year.
Certainly, the burgeoning Federal budget deficit and growing public debt are issues which urgently need to be addressed. There are significant reductions in both which can be made through ending, now, both of America's costly and fruitless wars; reducing other unnecessary so-called defense spending; rooting out fraud, waste, and inefficiency; and seeing to it that the rich and ultra-rich begin, at long last, to pay their fair share of the tax burden, as they used to in the mid-Twentieth Century. None of those measures calls for the further shafting of America's seniors, at present by failing to compensate for the renewed inflation, and in the future by misguided attempts to raise the retirement age.
As one of America's growing elderly population, I began work in New York City when I was twelve years old, and have continued for the next six decades, still working well into my seventies. I'm not complaining, nor do most seniors; we continue to do more than our share to build and improve this nation so that future generations will find it even better than we did. All we ask in return is that the promise of a decent retirement income, dependent in large part on our social security benefits, be kept. That promise began under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and has been a sacred trust for nearly seventy years-a trust still to be honored today!