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SS ‘Freeze’ Means Seniors Must Scrimp

From a tear-stained Associated Press:

Social Security freeze means seniors must scrimp

By Matt Sedensky, Associated Press Writer

PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. – If her check were bigger, 76-year-old Agnes Conti might be able to spring for a better cut of meat for her pot roast. She could afford to send her nine grandchildren more than $20 for their birthdays and Christmas. She’d be able to spring for some nice new clothes, like she sees on QVC, not what she settles for at Walmart.

If only. The government has said the Social Security checks Conti and tens of millions of other seniors rely on as their primary source of income will not increase next year as consumer prices have fallen overall. And while the retired hospital clerk will get by, she’ll be watching her spending even closer, knowing she can’t expect the annual raise she’s been accustomed to.

"We were good citizens all our lives. We went to work, we lived by the book, we weren’t on welfare, we didn’t ask the city for anything," Conti said while taking a break from crafts at a senior center here. "And what do we get?"

At the Southwest Focal Point Senior Center in this Fort Lauderdale suburb, seniors lamented the cost-of-living freeze, praised a White House plan for $250 checks to soften the blow, but took all of the news in stride, saying they’ve had a lifetime of experience living on a fixed income and would manage with the money they currently receive.

Frank Ferreira sits in the center’s lobby, near a decorative fireplace and an autumn centerpiece. The 90-year-old retired truck driver loves to sing, even practicing on a karaoke machine at home, and loves to dance even more. He gets about $890 a month from Social Security, most of which he hands over to his daughter to help pay his share of the bills.

The money isn’t the biggest issue, Ferreira said. It’s the message the government is sending about caring for seniors

The freeze in next year’s checks is the first since automatic Social Security cost-of-living increases were adopted in 1975, and follows a 5.8 percent increase in January, the largest since 1982. By law, the adjustments are pegged to inflation, which is negative this year because of lower energy costs.

The Obama administration plan to send $250 stimulus payments to about 57 million seniors, veterans, retired railroad workers and people with disabilities, would amount to a roughly 2 percent raise for the average Social Security recipient. If approved, the checks would cost about $13 billion, though there is no plan yet how to finance them

For those in poverty, the raise could have made a huge difference. But for the average senior simply living on a fixed income, it is seen less in dollars and cents, and more in the tangible costs they might be more careful with.

Polieto cooks eggplant, chicken cacciatori and pasta fazool. A raise could have given her more leeway with her grocery bill.

"Then I could buy some steaks, maybe," she said. "But I’d rather have a pork chop."

Never mind that as a group ‘seniors’ are the wealthiest class of people in the US. And never mind that Social Security was never meant to be one’s only source of retirement income.

And forget the fact, as the article notes, that this is the first time there has not been a Social Security increase since 1975. And it comes immediately after the largest COLA increase in its history, a hike of 5.8%.

And never mind there still will be a Social Security raise, since Mr. Obama is going to give SS recipients a (on average) 2% raise.

No, we are supposed to be choked up at the thought of oldsters having to shop at Walmart instead through the QVC network — and having to eat chicken instead of steak (or pork chops).

With unemployment at 10% and taxes constantly being hiked to pay for all of these and other unearned ”benefits,’ it’s getting harder and harder to work up the tears.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, October 16th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

6 Responses to “SS ‘Freeze’ Means Seniors Must Scrimp”

  1. MinnesotaRush says:

    The ACORN gang and its’ ilk seem to be doing nicely (homes, cars, cell phones, food, cash …); and our public servants in congress and the administration aren’t missing out on any COLA’s.

    Just sayin’, ya know.

  2. U NO HOO says:

    I receive Social Security and I aint beeching about no raise. I don’t need no steenking raise.

    My emploer’s pension has never and will never go up.

    I read the fine print and live with it.

    Keep the measly $250 stimulus or whatever Obama is calling it. If he can’t give me enough for an extra week’s go away vacation I don’t want to be bothered.

    Poke chops and arugula sound good to me.


  3. Liberals Demise says:

    Someone invite dingleBarry over their house for Purina Cat Chow on crackers and kool-aid. See if it tastes like that dip he doses out on Wednesday nights to his socialist clan.

  4. Tater Salad says:

    Sorry President Obama, I do not want your $250.00 to buy my vote for your so-called “reforms”. As a combat wounded Vietnam veteran, Marines and disabled I will however take the money and it will go to the Republican Party to replace you and your Marxist commrades in the coming 2010 elections and yours in 2012. Have a nice day Sir! I was wounded multiple times and it just makes me hurt inside to know that me and my buddies (!st Marine Division) gave your hearts and soul keeping this country free from socialism and communism and you and your commrades are just giving it away without a shot. God Bless America damn it!

  5. retire05 says:

    I find this who “the Democrats gave us Social Security” thing to be absolutely laughable. Now, Obama, in his great wisdom, thinks seniors can be bought for a measly 250 pieces of green paper that is rapidly losing its value due to his policies.

    Let’s not forget the facts on the ground: when FDR, and the Democratic Congress passed the largest Ponzi scheme ever known to man, they set the age of retirement at 65 for a reason. The average life expenctancy of a white male, at that time, was 58. Much less for a black male. So men would have to live at least 7 years beyond norms before they would collect a dime. And in the wisdom of the Democrats, knowing that women lived longer, and stood a better chance of collecting SS, they reduced the benefit to women.

    You see, Social Security was a feel-good bill. It was meant to show that FDR, the great savior, was going to take care of all America’s old folks. Few at the time even bothered to point out that you were only meant to pay into the system, but not live long enough to take anything out.

    Then, using the Democrats standard of wisdom, along comes LBJ. He decides that there is waaaay too much money just lying around in the Social Security Fund and hey, why not just go ahead and use it. And then came another brilliant idea; hey, let’s require seniors, who have working spouses, to add their SS payments into the joint income so we can tax money that was never meant to be taxed.

    So now they think they can buy seniors off for $250. Because, after all, it will be taxable for most senior, will not even cover the cost of Medicare Part B for three months, and the nation will say “How wonderful the Democrats are”.

  6. Confucius says:

    Never mind that as a group ‘seniors’ are the wealthiest class of people in the US.

    Don’t forget how they get all the discounts and best parking spaces. (Not including the NO PARKING ZONEs, where they seem to like to park.)

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