Huffington Blogger: Older Americans Become Public Enemy No. 1

Tuesday, 17 Dec 2013 07:30 PM

By Michael Kling

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Cuts to pensions of retired city workers. Reduced cost-of-living increases to military pensions. Medicare cuts and larger pension contributions for federal employees.

They show that the elderly have become the enemy, writes Richard (RJ) Eskow, senior fellow with the Campaign for America's Future, in a blog for The Huffington Post.

Some believe a court ruling that allows Detroit to cut pensions to its retired city workers opens the door to pension cuts across the nation.

The federal budget deal also takes aim at seniors, says Eskow. It reduces pensions for military personnel retiring before age 62, requires federal workers to contribute more to the pensions, and cuts Medicare provider reimbursements, which will make it harder for seniors to find participating doctors.

Editor’s Note: 5 Phases of a ‘Retirement Heist’ Exposed (See Video)

Like Detroit's pension ruling, the budget deal opens doors, he says. "Its Medicare cuts could be the first step toward shifting the excessive cost of health care to America's seniors. And its pension changes for Federal employees suggest that the promise of financial security after a lifetime of work is null and void."

"Somehow we've turned against older Americans. And since we'll all join that group someday — if we live long enough — that means we've turned against ourselves."

The cuts to pensions break our covenant with working people, he says. Instead of asking Wall Street to pay for fixing problems it created through fraud, we're asking the elderly to pay, Eskow says.

"They're trying to convince us to break a lifetime's promise to others, and to ourselves, by telling us: We have met the enemy, and she is old."

How do executives and politicians persuade the public to turn against the elderly?

"By calling seniors selfish if they expect their government to honor its part of a bargain they kept for half a century. By convincing frightened Americans that their financial problems were caused, not by Wall Street, but by the bus drivers on their city streets and the teachers in their children's schools."

"If I were a retired public-sector pensioner, I'd be worried today," said Olivia Mitchell, a professor at the Wharton School of Business and the director of the Pension Research Council, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Constitutions of many states have protected municipal pensions, but the Detroit court ruling shows that cities can avoid paying pensions by filing for protection under federal bankruptcy laws, experts say.

The Campaign for America's Future describes itself on its website as "the strategy center for the progressive movement."

Editor’s Note: 5 Phases of a ‘Retirement Heist’ Exposed (See Video)

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