What the WSJ wrote today:
Can our retired readers be bought for $250? Apparently President Obama thinks they can, because two weeks before Election Day he has endorsed sending bonus checks for that amount to the nearly 58 million Americans on Social Security.
It’s hard to imagine a more blatant vote-buying exercise, especially with polls showing that seniors have turned sharply against the Democrats this year. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader (pro-tem) Harry Reid have both promised check-writing votes in the lame duck session, assuming they can fit that into all the other things they want to do before they lose their super-majorities.
The excuse for this bribery is the announcement by the Social Security Administration that, for the second year in a row, seniors will not get a cost of living increase in 2011. Prices rose by only 1.5% in the last year, having fallen nearly 2% in 2009, and seniors aren’t supposed to get an increase until prices exceed their last peak.
But lest you think this is a grave injustice, Social Security recipients received a 5.8% increase two years ago. That was the largest increase in 20 years and was based on what proved to be an ephemeral increase in energy prices. Thus for 2009 seniors received a bonus increase of about $500 above inflation.
Meanwhile, Social Security is now running a deficit—paying more in benefits than it collects in taxes—and the $250 checks would cost taxpayers close to $15 billion. Democrats would add that amount to the fiscal 2011 deficit that is already estimated to be back to more than $1.4 trillion, even as they insist that taxes have to rise to reduce the deficit.
We wrote last Friday:
Here’s $250, gramps. Get yourself a better brand of cat food.
So, the Journal was a little more verbose, big deal. We had it first, and we had it pithiest.
We will give last word, however, to those who need more words to make their point:
With the Federal Reserve keeping interest rates near-zero for nearly two years, retirees who live off their savings are making almost nothing in interest. But what seniors really need is a return to more robust economic growth and more normal interest rates, and that cause won’t be helped by the government adding to its already destructive tax and spend record.
Amen, sonny. Everyone has a price; I just hope geezers value themselves higher than $250.