The “Poor” Elderly and “Disabled”

The supposed bombshell that is Mitt Romney’s “inelegant” remarks last May about the 47% of “households” who pay no federal income taxes has caused critics across the political spectrum to highlight the fact that many of those 47 percenters are “elderly.”

Apparently, being “elderly,” and I am, has entered the lexicon along with “children” as a great rhetorical weapon in the entitlement war. The “elderly” connotes the image of frail, pennyless grandmothers and grandfathers eating dog food out of a can.

But according to an analysis by the non-conservative Pew Research Center:

The wealth gap today between younger and older Americans now stands as the widest on record. The median net worth of households headed by someone 65 or older is $170,494, 42 percent higher than in 1984, while the median net worth for younger-age households is $3,662, down 68 percent from a quarter century ago [My emphasis]…

Please spare us the demagoguery about the poor elderly.

There is also the little matter of the explosion of folks on Social Security disability:

Has the recession really caused more people to become disabled? If you believe that, well…

Romney may have committed a gaffe, that is, blurted out the truth, but the fact that a majority of Americans get more back from the government than they put in is representation without taxation. Yes, rich “elderly” folks paid into Social Security and Medicare and thus are entitled (that word again) to reap the benefits, but look at how much more people receive from Medicare than they pay in:

Clearly Obama and the Democrats benefit from such large numbers of “dependent” voters.

It may be too much to ask of politicians, but Romney and Ryan owe the country an honest debate on this even if the truth is the last thing a lot of people want to hear.

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