Friday, March 12, 2010

Wealthy Senators and the Consequences

Most of us are shocked by the obscene amount of money required to successfully run for elected office now, particularly on the federal level. Hence, more millionaire politicians, from the mayor of NYC to the U.S. Senate. I believe that fact leads to a variety of consequences and one of them especially affects Dave and me.

I really don't like the term senior citizen, probably because I am one, but as a group we seniors are vulnerable to the decisions of these rich pols who don't have a clue how the rest of us live. The decisions that have me riled up at the moment are 1) not to give Social Security recipients a cost of living increase this year because according to the fat cats we don't need it, and 2) now the Senate has decided that President Obama's promise of a $250 check to Social Security recipients this spring to soften the blow would cost too much, and besides of course, we still don't need it.

I would love to see each U.S. senator put on a Social Security budget for one month. Toward the end of that month we would send him/her to fill the gas tank on the old car we drive, then to the drug store to buy normal items like toothpaste, deodorant, maybe a greeting card, a pain reliever, and most important refills for a few prescriptions. Following that, Sen. X would have to go to the grocery store to buy a week's worth of groceries for two people, including non-food but necessary items like laundry detergent, paper products, soap, and perhaps some pet food. Then home to find the mail carrier has brought utility bills for the month. We would then ask them, "How are you going to pay for all this?"

How I would love to be a fly on the wall for that conversation. Maybe I'm wrong, but I believe that once a person rises that high in elective office, he or she is so cushioned from the real world lived by the majority of U.S. citizens, seniors or not, that they are no longer representative of their constituents. Of course those millionaires in office never were.

Out here in reality we are still having a tough time making ends meet. That $250 probably seems like chump change for the members of the U.S. Senate, but to people like us it's a good amount of money that could have been put to very good use - partially paying the bill to heat our homes, for instance.

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