I am a senior citizen and proud of it. Like most seniors I get confused once in awhile and pass it off as senior moment. Lately I have noticed many of my fellow seniors having what appear to be senior moments about the proposed changes to Medicare and Social Security. was the most recent example.
Given that the proposed changes for both entitlement programs will not affect anyone 55 or older, why is there such resistance among our age group?
First, fear is a great motivator. Many of our greatest accomplishments were the results of trying to avoid an outcome that we feared. Many of our less admirable moments were the result of fear. Fear brings out our best and our worst. .
Second, Republicans have demonstrated considerable ineptness in their messaging regarding our fiscal challenges. Had they started from the bi-partisan fact that Medicare and Social Security are unsustainable in their current structure, they might have garnered most support for the type of change they believe will fix the nation's fiscal problems. Most of my friends under 55 don’t believe either unchanged will be available when they retire. When Representative Woodall tried to explain the changes, . His but overall Republicans were late to the game and are playing catch up.
Third, my fellow seniors bear some of the responsibility for allowing this debate to reach its current level of bombastic rhetoric. Engaging your mouth before engaging your brain has always produced disastrous results and the debate over Medicare and Social Security is no exception. We are a nation of laws and I don’t think there is a court in our land that has ever found being uninformed or just plain stupid a legal defense. Getting well informed takes some work, but ultimately results in better decisions for all.
Oddly, we have changed Social Security in the past when we raised the eligible age from 65 to its current level. It was phased in over time in an orderly fashion with a minimum of pain. And most surprisingly the world didn’t end in spite of what the Obamas, Reids and Pelosis of that time predicted.
We can produce the same results and insure that Social Security and Medicare are available to generations to come or we can continue to be pawns of MoveOn.org, AARP and the mainstream media while passing the burden on to our grandchildren and their children. Once again it falls to us to make a well-informed decision because no future generation is going to think this senior moment was harmless or funny.
Patrick T Malone of Blairsville is a former Gwinnett resident and co-author of “Cracking the Code to Leadership”. His musings have appeared in the Gwinnett Daily Post, the AJC, the Gwinnett Forum and a variety of business publications. Offended Democrats, Republicans and/or seniors may chastise Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org