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Paul Strickland: Save our seniors

Posted: April 15, 2010 2:43 p.m.
Updated: April 16, 2010 4:55 a.m.
Who would have imagined the promised "change-you-can-believe-in" philosophy would include a "dump-the-geezers" reality? We thought it was just another pretty term for the fast track to European-style socialism.

It really would have been nice if the Dems and the new administration would have shown us the master plan regarding "change," rather then just pass unread legislation that bailed out banks and took over private enterprise.

Congressional Democrats probably felt a master plan might have been too scary for us ignorant voters. Why should we be allowed to see Big Government's big picture? After all, we are so stupid we let them get away with passing laws that strip of us our freedoms.

Shockingly, our audacious and pompous members of Congress expect us to thank them for sticking it to us. "Ka-ching" go the new tax dollars into the nanny-state money box.

Let's examine the effect some of this new tax-and-spend legislation will have on senior citizens. In 2010, for the first time since
1975, Social Security recipients received no increase. Curiously, Congress gave out hundreds of billions of stimulus dollars to unknown entities, yet couldn't grant a cost-of-living increase to old folks. What's wrong with this picture?

Jon Krausher of Fox News reported that the newly passed health care reform bill, aka Obamacare, "... slices $528 billion from Medicare, including $136 billion carved out of Medicare Advantage."

The Washington Examiner's Susan Ferrechio has reported, "the Medicare Advantage cuts will force 4.8 million seniors off the popular plan by 2019."

Think about all those newly retired Baby Boomers, many of whom did not go to college. Unlike retired public employees who can
receive upwards of 80 percent of their salaries for life, most American private sector retirees have only their Social Security checks to support them. Not even AARP is looking out for these forgotten seniors.

The organization that purports to be an advocacy group for retired citizens has just thrown them under the bus so it can profit from the recently passed health care legislation. AARP apparently has the dual role of being a broker and an insurance reformer. While
Obamacare cuts billions from Medicare, AARP's Medicap program offers to sell insurance to seniors that covers the items the health reform bill has eliminated. That sounds like a sophisticated shell game by any other name.

American Seniors Association President Stuart Barton says, "The AARP has sold out to congressional Democrat leaders and the White House so it can have a monopoly on selling insurance, and thus reap profits under Obamacare. The AARP is not standing up for seniors."

It strikes me as rather curious that the Democrats, who for years have had senior citizens in their political back pocket, would create legislation that punishes those very citizens, yet at the same time puts big bucks into the front pockets of the wealthiest seniors' advocacy group.

According to news reports, the AARP is losing thousands of members each month, just as the Republicans are gaining senior voters.
It makes one wonder what's up with the Dems willingly saying goodbye to the old folks.

Maybe there's a baseball-like political trade afloat. You know, the Dems could be offering the gray-haired voters to the Republicans if they can get amnesty for 12-20 million illegal immigrants (potential voters) in return. What a coup that would be.

There certainly are an awful lot of angry old folks at tea party events. In fact, last Dec. 21 some showed up to burn their AARP cards in protest of a perceived loss of their guaranteed Constitutional rights.

What a twist of fate, if those same people had also gone to anti-war protest meetings and burned their draft cards in the 1960s.

You can forget the presumption that all protest movements are led by college students.

The bottom line is that AARP card-carrying Gray Power groups of the 1970s have become AARP card-burning protesters at 2010 tea parties. Now that's real revolution.

In this 2010 election year, all of the House of Representatives and one-third of the U.S. Senate will be in play. This is great opportunity for Republicans to conduct a massive registration drive targeting senior citizens. I suspect most of them are in the decline-to-state category currently.

It was not too long ago that both political parties honored the notion that Social Security was an untouchable entity when it came to cutbacks. That was especially true because the government had been robbing the annual surplus money in the fund for decades.

The silence from the mainstream media on this issue is deafening. Where's the outrage - right here, right now?

Paul B. Strickland Sr. is a resident of Santa Clarita. His column reflects his own views, not necessarily those of The Signal. "Right Here, Right Now" runs Fridays in The Signal and rotates among several local Republican writers.


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