The basic idea of this section is to help seniors understand some of the risks, both current and future, that they are facing. This is not intended to be a comment about either major political party. The goal is to provide unbiased information so that each senior can make up their own mind about major life altering issues. We will generally refer to the average senior as having a modicum of retirement/savings; however, we are well aware that there are many seniors who survive from one day to the next only because they receive Social Security payments and help from Medicare.
Are seniors being treated fairly by the U.S. Congress and why should you care?
Recently, the Congress was shut down for several days. It does not really matter why or who caused it to happen. The fact is that it happened. Shortly after the shutdown another shutdown was looming and the Congress came up with a 640 page Bill that was entitled The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.
For 90% of Americans this new Bill came out of left field. There was almost no discussion about what was in the Bill from the mainstream media. It just magically appeared and got signed by President Trump.
Does the new Bill impact seniors? The short answer is that I don’t actually know. I have not had a real chance to sit down and read the entire Bill. The sad reality is that most seniors don’t read the legislation when it is available to them. They rely very heavily on their elected representatives to watch out for them.
Most of the time the members of the U.S. House of Representatives are trying their best to do their job. Unfortunately, they have to run for re-election every two (2) years. That means they need to be out finding money to pay off their last campaign or to fund their next campaign. The truth is that it is very expensive to run for elected office at that level.
In general, the folks who put up the money to help the representative get elected expect to have access to that member of the House. The same is true for the U.S. Senate. Money is the most important thing that all members of the U.S. Congress need to have a lot of all the time. There is definitely a correlation between money and what actions a member will actually take on a day to day basis.
Why should the average senior care about what is happening in the Congress? The answer is that the financial future of their family depends on those people. There are many, many special interest groups in America. Many of them are heavily involved with helping the members of Congress raise money so they can run. Each of those special interest groups has goals they want to see accomplished. Most of those organization have executives who run their daily operations and raise money to help their favorite politicians.
It is important that each senior vote whenever possible and make every effort to understand exactly what their current representative/senator is likely to do in the future. They need to join with their friends and neighbors to know when something bad is likely to happen to them. Even if their friends and neighbors are part of a different political party they need to find ways to work together to protect the future of their family.
By the way, the same thing applies to the State of California (or where ever the reader is living). The leaders in Sacramento are mini versions of their friends in the U.S. Congress. They need to find money and they are likely to be getting money from special interest groups right here in our state.
Most special interest groups want something they don’t currently have. It might be a group of dedicated environmentalists who want to stop a new building project from getting the permits needed to build. It could be a group that wants to spend more money helping the poor and homeless. Another group that wants to spend more money on fixing highways. It goes on and on.
Politicians don’t have their own money to spend so they use our tax dollars. Naturally, when a special interest group gives lots of money to their favorite politician they expect that person to vote to give them more of what it is they want. The question of how to pay for this new or increased item is never discussed. The bill just goes to the taxpayers. That is us.
Most seniors are on fixed incomes and need to hold down their expenses. They decide between going to the movies and needing to pay for this or that item (i.e. medications). It is a constant struggle to handle those unexpected emergencies that use up their limited resources. We seniors are required to live by our budgets. This is not the case for our politicians.
It is therefore critical that all seniors be vigilant about things that are going on that can hurt them. It is too late after the horse is out of the barn. Everyone of us should find an existing senior group that is looking out for us and join. The reality is that bad things can happen quickly to good people.