Jewish World Review
Oct. 2, 2000 / 3 Tishrei, 5761
Not every senior demands a handout
THERE WAS an old lady who lived in a shoe, and in Vice President Al Gore's
fairy-tale world, it's because Medicare didn't provide her with free drugs.
Gore visited Florida this week, kissed an elderly woman on the head, and
touted his new campaign tome, "Medicare at the Crossroads." The booklet
outlines Gore's plan to provide prescription drug coverage to all senior
citizens – "even middle-class seniors," Gore emphasized – regardless of
I am sick of this wrinkled pandering. And I am not alone. I don't usually
publicize the reader mail I receive, but my recent column about
government-funded prescription drugs and the burden on younger workers
elicited an amazing response seldom reflected in the mainstream media. Out
of 200 e-mails and letters, all but a few dozen agreed that expanding
Medicare with a universal prescription drug benefit is a foolish,
free-lunch fiasco. The majority of letters were written not by
elderly-bashing young people, but by some very wise older Americans.
Gene Mercer, an Arizona Republic reader, wrote: "I am 77 and do appreciate
the Medicare I have received, but we cannot strap this next generation with
increased benefits for so many who do not need it."
Ila Richardson, 72, of southern Oregon, added: "It's sickening to see the
politicians, on both sides, pandering to the elderly for a few more votes.
I have asked several of my senior friends how they feel about this whole
ripoff of the young and they have all said, adamantly, 'Stop doing this!!!'
Phil Edmunds, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution reader, told me he sent a
letter to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) "after getting
yet another solicitation to join that organization of selfish fogies. I
told them I despise the organization for demanding from the federal
government benefits that most of its members have not earned and do not
Jim Perrin, 72, a Denver Rocky Mountain News reader, noted: "The problem
today is that too many senior citizens don't care about the costs as long
as someone else pays for them. I choose not to belong to AARP because they
promote the 'poor pitiful old people' mentality…It makes me angry when I
see groups of senior citizens dressed in Bermuda shorts with plane tickets
in their pockets protesting for more tax money. Getting to be my age
should cause them to be thankful not greedy."
Margaret Scheele, an elderly JewishWorldReview.com reader from
Jacksonville, Florida, wrote: "I am appalled at the pandering of the
candidates on this issue. I am equally appalled at the elderly who think
they deserve this benefit."
Carl Walther, a St. Louis Post-Dispatch reader, said: "Those of us who
worked a full-time job and two part-time jobs at the same time so we could
retire comfortably have very little sympathy with those who expect
taxpayers to cover their lack of planning."
Jackie Upton of Baton Rouge, La., wrote: "My husband and I are 71 and have
been [complaining] about Social Security and Medicare for years…We are well
aware that, as healthy as we are, and even though he paid in the max during
his working years, we will draw out his contributions at some point and
then be drawing money from the young workers, including our five
granddaughters. It is insane! We need medical payment help for
catastrophic situations, not ordinary health care."
Don Akers, a 69-year-old Houston Chronicle reader, said that while he does
collect Social Security and is on Medicare, "I can see that both are Ponzi
schemes, and reductions are needed immediately…We need Republicans to stand
up and say 'No More Entitlements.' "
Bobby Reeves, a 54-year-old Danville (Ky.) Advocate reader, noted: "I am
afraid the Republicans are playing the giveaway game as the Democrats
Indeed. Both major parties and presidential candidates are offering
expanded Medicare benefits at a time when entitlement programs are on
bankruptcy's brink. Meanwhile, Congress has failed to act on separate
federal investigations that revealed $13.5 billion in improperly reimbursed
Medicare claims last year and $450 million in annual Medicare overpayments
Polls and political strategists advise candidates to kiss up to senior
citizens at all costs. But responsible adults are sending a different
message: Keep your lips and hands to
JWR contributor Michelle Malkin can be reached by clicking here.
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© 2000, Creators Syndicate