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Bearing The Load
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Who Says Seniors Aren’t Hit By Inflation?

By James Donahue

Americans dependent upon monthly federal Social Security payments have enjoyed yearly payment increases based upon national statistics showing the general increase in the cost of living.

The “raise,” calculated on the price of certain goods and services from July to September during the previous year, usually goes into effect in January of each year. But this year, because of the manufactured financial crisis that has left millions of Americans homeless and out of work, government statisticians are saying the cost of living has dropped. Thus there will be no cost of living adjustment for Social Security recipients.

It could not have happened at a worse time. No matter what the statisticians say, the seniors are facing real hikes in the cost of just about everything they buy. That is because seniors, who are living on fixed incomes, spend most of what they have on food and medical needs, both of which are going up in price.

Seniors also are facing higher costs of government services. That is because local and state governments, long dependant on revenue sharing dollars funneled down from federal levels, are losing this rich source of revenue. The federal bail-out programs, instituted by the outgoing Bush Administration and followed through by the current leadership, has all but bankrupted federal coffers.

Seniors who drive will be paying more for license plates, driver’s licenses and fuel costs as gasoline prices are on the rise once again. Those who utilize bank services like credit and debit cards are being hit with higher interest charges and extreme fees for overdrafts when they make errors in arithmetic.

And there is another factor that government statisticians may be completely overlooking. Workers who lose their jobs and lose their homes are either living in the streets or they are moving in with friends and relatives. The most common place for them to turn is to what they remember as “home.” This is the place where they grew up; where, if they are fortunate, mom and dad still live.

And if they don’t feel inclined to give up and flee to the old homestead, you can be sure those children are getting help from the parents just to stay afloat financially, make those house and car payments and get some food on the table while frantically searching for another job.

Even though they are often in no position to help, what parent would turn their back on their children in the midst of such a crisis? Consequently this so-called “recession/depression” is putting a drain on those fixed social security checks.

These are hard economic times for the general public. Everybody is biting the bullet in the hope that we will all get through this crisis before we join the many that have found themselves living in a tent city and rummaging through garbage cans in search of their next meal.

In is small wonder that the general voting public is so outraged when we hear stories about high-flying top executives at big banks, finance and insurance companies and other big corporations who dipped into federal coffers to stay solvent, but then helped themselves to multi-billion dollar bonuses so they could continue living the high life.