Today, Veterans Day, My Veteran Dad Prefers Social Security to Ceremony
November 11, 2010 - 2:24pm ET
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Today is Veteran's Day. President Obama just sent me an email describing how he is honoring our nation's veterans. Obama is in S. Korea honoring veterans of that war with some sort of a ceremony.
My dad is a Korean War Veteran. I just talked to him this morning. We didn't discuss Obama's S. Korea Veteran's Day ceremony. I'm not sure Dad even knew about it as he didn't mention being invited.
Dad wanted to talk about Social Security. He listed all the ways that Social Security helps him. Mind you, he had a successful business that sent two children to college, paid for a wedding for one and law school for the other. He purchased a nice home for his family and then moved to a comparable home to be closer to me. Through a combination of hard work, skill and luck, Dad could probably survive without Social Security. However, he admitted this morning that since things are so expensive now, he doesn't think he'd be able to live the way he does if he didn't have the benefit. Specifically, he mentioned his home. He doesn't have a mortgage, but Lake County, IL property taxes are notoriously high. Without Social Security, Dad admitted he'd probably have to sell his home and move to a small condo or apartment.
|My dad in Korea. He lived in that bunker during the war
Without Social Security, some seniors won't have such
a nice place to live as that bunker.
Dad knows there are a lot of other seniors, veterans too, who didn't have the golden combination that gave him a good life. They depend on Social Security for food and shelter survival. He wonders what will happen to them as he wonders what will happen to me, his middle aged nieces and nephews, and their children. Dad sees problems all down the line. He said that raising the retirement age, keeping seniors in the workforce longer, is not going to help the economy. We'll end up with either unemployed young people, unable to begin their lives and reliant on their parents who will need to scrimp for their own impending retirements. We'll also end up with unemployed seniors, not yet eligible for Social Security. They'll end up on unemployment, and when that runs out, what? And what about all that spending that won't happen as people lose faith in their continued ability to live even a simple life? How does reduced consumer spending stimulate the economy?
Social Security helps my dad keep his dignity. It's not charity because he paid into the Social Security Trust fund for decades. It gives him security because investments will go up and down, mostly down lately. It also gives him continuity which is important in ones senior years when friends and family leave to retire or die.
Ellen Beth Gill blogs the IL-10 Congressional District at E-10 with her blogging partner Carl Nyberg, also a veteran.
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Views expressed on this page are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Campaign for America's Future or Institute for America's Future