Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

September 16, 2013

Sept. 16, 2013: Letters to the editor

(Continued)

Social Security has not added a penny to our deficit. It is fully paid for with worker and employer payroll taxes. The talk of greater life expectancy (and the assumption that you should spend those extra years at work!) is misleading. A lower infant mortality rate has raised overall life expectancy, but it has remained nearly the same once people enter adulthood. In fact, any gains that have been made have been almost exclusively for the highest income and education levels, not for the physically demanding blue collar and service sector workers who would suffer terribly if the retirement age were increased to 70, as some in politics have suggested.

The average retiree on Social Security receives $1,200 per month. If people think the government spends too much, they should not criticize these modest Social Security benefits retirees paid for throughout their working years, but rather tax breaks for big corporations.

Sen. Tom Harkin’s bill, called the Strengthening Social Security Act of 2013, would require the establishment of a price index that accurately reflects costs for Social Security beneficiaries, among other improvements. Called the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E), this alternative would be used when computing increases in cost of living adjustments and would consider typical seniors’ costs, including medical care and housing costs, to ensure that seniors’ Social Security benefits keep pace with inflation.

Politicians and pundits try to pit one generation against the other to advance their own agendas. This is insulting because it assumes people only care about themselves and others their own age. People are better than that, and in 2013, life is more complicated than that. Generations are more intertwined than ever before.

While it often seems like we live in complicated, fractious times, we still believe that more unites us than divides us. Regardless of when and where we were born, or what we do each day, we all want to live a healthy, secure life and enjoy dignity and peace of mind. While Sept. 8 may be officially known as Grandparents Day, I hope it was a day that brought generations together to improve the lives of people of all ages.

Let’s all work together for a better tomorrow and for a brighter future for the next generation of retirees. Let’s preserve Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. I want my grandchildren to be able to live their lives and work hard, knowing their future will be secure.

Let’s not be the last generation to retire.

Robert G. Bishop

Miami County

Democratic chairman

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