Friday, October 16, 2009

Cause and Effect

Really? Scrimp because they didn't get a cost of living increase?
Is anyone bothered by the tone of this story? I distinctly recall seeing stories a few days ago where one state actually lowered its minimum wage because the cost of living had declined, and the state is required by match changes in the cost of living with its payments.

I realize the cost of living may be affected by the cash for clunkers or other programs but unless someone can write a story that explains specifically the way seniors are more squeezed than others--and they may be by medical or other costs--than this kind of story really doesn't inform anyone in any significant way. And many of these folks are already on a really tight budget--blaming it on the lack of a COLA increase seems odd.

Social Security freeze means seniors must scrimp

By MATT SEDENSKY, Associated Press Writer Matt Sedensky, Associated Press Writer – 49 mins ago
PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. – If her check were bigger, 76-year-old Agnes Conti might be able to spring for a better cut of meat for her pot roast. She could afford to send her nine grandchildren more than $20 for their birthdays and Christmas. She'd be able to buy some nice new clothes, like she sees on QVC, not what she settles for at Walmart.

If only. The government has said the Social Security checks Conti and tens of millions of other seniors rely on as their primary source of income will not increase next year as consumer prices have fallen overall. And while the retired hospital clerk will get by, she'll be watching her spending even closer, knowing she can't expect the annual raise she's been accustomed to.

"We were good citizens all our lives. We went to work, we lived by the book, we weren't on welfare, we didn't ask the city for anything," Conti said while taking a break from crafts at a senior center here. "And what do we get?"

At the Southwest Focal Point Senior Center in this Fort Lauderdale suburb, seniors lamented the cost-of-living freeze and praised a White House plan for $250 checks to soften the blow. But they took all of the news in stride, saying they've had a lifetime of experience living on a fixed income and would manage with the money they currently receive.

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