Inflation is killing older Americans, plain and simple. Unless corrected, Democrat overspending and cuts to fuel production will have a growing impact on America’s seniors, already suffering. Primary research drawn from AMAC’s two million-plus members, makes the point poignantly.
As AMAC’s national spokesman, what the latest research unearthed is unreported, an important story: Social Security benefits are adjusted annually, but that adjustment misses the mark – because inflation, which triggers elevated interest, reduced value of lifetime savings, hits older Americans hard.
Objectively, the Social Security “cost of living adjustment” is based on the percentage increase in the consumer price index for “urban wage earners and clerical workers” (CPI-W) in the third quarter, applied to the next year. But that measure greatly underestimates inflation’s impact on seniors. Here is why.
First, the CPI-W is based on the price of a “basket of goods” typically purchased by younger, urban, working Americans. That basket fails to account for older citizens’ purchasing habits.
Thus, those who have retired often spend more on housing – mortgage, rent, property taxes, insurance, repairs, and senior living – than others, their largest expense.
Similarly, older Americans tend to spend a disproportionate amount of retirement income, whether savings, pension, or Social Security – on medical care, for obvious reasons. That includes everything from prescription drugs to mobility accommodations.
On the numbers, conservative estimates put medical expenses for seniors well over working citizen expenditures, closer to $6800 annually the younger cohort’s $5190 annual average.
Transportation is another overlooked expense for seniors, as commuting may fall but 80 percent of those over 65 live in rural and suburban locations, are “car-dependent.”
Add higher expenses for winter heating and energy mandates such as electric versus gas stoves, and life gets expensive fast. Then look at inflation effect on life savings. Dollar values are dropping markedly.
Not only do older Americans buy things that cost more before inflation, and pay higher prices due to government overspending and energy costs, but the value of their saved dollars is falling.
As they are no longer earning, seniors with savings and pensions get no wage inflation to match the inflation associated with goods and services rising in cost, unlike those – say – working in unions.
Comments from those surveyed by AMAC are stunning, and make the point better than numbers. A few worth pondering:
“Being retired and living on a fixed income… to survive has gotten very expensive.” “No vacations so that we have enough money for meds and food.” “We’re having to cut back … to be able to afford those we cannot cut back on, such as insurances, repairs to car, house.” Many include cutbacks on medicine.
“Am a 70 year old who collects Social Security and works at least 26 hours a week to be able to make ends meet each month… cannot keep up on monthly expenses” and “because I work, 85 percent of my Social Security is taxed.”
“My home is most likely going to be taken away due to my not being able to pay taxes at the end of the year.”
“The rise in prices in every area of my life, from housing, gas, food, services and just plain living has made a big dent in my ability to live without the anxiety …” “Biden has been an abject failure … gas prices are ridiculous and grocery increases are off the charts.”
“Our payments for mortgage, food and utilities increased more than $1,000 a month for our expenditures …We will never again be able to buy a new car …Biden is killing us, not so slowly.”
“Never thought I would see things get so bad in my lifetime.” “The present Administration seems to arbitrarily set new increases in every phrase of our life…”
“I have to be very conscious of what I am buying … to decide whether I can do without certain foods or services, such as electricity or saving gas on trips. It is criminal what this Administration is doing …”
“The cost of gas, groceries, clothing, utilities and other necessities has risen beyond what the government would have one believe… We had to cancel plans to visit relatives in other states…no longer do I drive to town … We eat twice a day now rather than three times.”
“Inflation has driven up the cost of everything. As a retiree, most of my income is fixed. So inflation limits my economic freedom … to buy, choose, travel, entertain…Gas prices are killing our budget.”
“Higher prices on food, gas and electricity! Less money and higher costs.” “My wife and I are retired … were doing fine 3 years ago with our Social Security. Now we are barely paying our bills … had to cut back on many things … eating out once a week, travelling to see the grandkids … Sunday drives.”
In a nutshell, hundreds of comments parallel these, with no end in sight under this Administration. When you think inflation is manageable, think again – not for older Americans. Thank you Mr. Biden.
Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC.