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Source: (consider it) Thread: The time has come to end discounts for seniors
cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:

I don't know about in Canada; but, in the US, *lots* of seniors have a low income.

There are a lot of people of every age group with a low income, but again, in the US,
seniors are the group least likely to be in poverty.

In 2014, the rates of poverty by age were:
21% of people under age 18
14% of people 18 to 64 years of age
10% of people 65 years of age and over

So again, children-- most likely to live in poverty. Seniors-- least likely.

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Amanda B. Reckondwythe

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Well, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.

In the US we already have SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly called Food Stamps). Eligible persons in all age groups receive a debit card that is automatically loaded with funds representing their entitlement. The card can be used to purchase groceries but little else. Use of a card rather than stamps cuts the cost itself of having to print stamps, and prevents fraud resulting from persons selling their stamps.

So why not expand SNAP to include public transportation passes, movie theater discounts, health services, and other benefits that persons of low income of all ages should be entitled to?

But wait . . . Republicans control the government. If anything, they'd like to eliminate SNAP altogether.

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe:
Well, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.

If you dispute the statistics I offered, do you have a differing pov to offer?


quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe:

In the US we already have SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly called Food Stamps). Eligible persons in all age groups receive a debit card that is automatically loaded with funds representing their entitlement. The card can be used to purchase groceries but little else. Use of a card rather than stamps cuts the cost itself of having to print stamps, and prevents fraud resulting from persons selling their stamps.

So why not expand SNAP to include public transportation passes, movie theater discounts, health services, and other benefits that persons of low income of all ages should be entitled to?

But wait . . . Republicans control the government. If anything, they'd like to eliminate SNAP altogether.

A good suggestion IMHO.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Soror Magna
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Point One:

quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
One reason for discounts is that it probably benefits the business in the long run. I'm thinking of a restaurant near by my old stomping grounds that offered a discounted senior's night. Surprise, surprise, it's packed with seniors on the senior's night. From a business point of view, while offering 15% off to seniors might mean an initial cut, if more people are attracted to that night, it could easily make up the cut and generate profit overall. ...

Point Two:

quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
There are a lot of people of every age group with a low income, but again, in the US,
seniors are the group least likely to be in poverty.

In 2014, the rates of poverty by age were:
21% of people under age 18
14% of people 18 to 64 years of age
10% of people 65 years of age and over

So again, children-- most likely to live in poverty. Seniors-- least likely.

The straight line between those two points: the seniors' discount is a way of enticing customers that in general have more money to spend. Nothing to do with helping poor seniors on a fixed income - they're just incidental beneficiaries of this marketing strategy.

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Moo

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There is a basic difference between discounts offered by private businesses and those offered by governments.

Private businesses offer discounts because it benefits them. A local supermarket chain offers 5% off to seniors on Tuesday. This has the effect to getting many seniors to do their weekly shopping on Tuesday. It reduces the number of customers on other days, which are likely to be busier.

Moo

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Garden Hermit
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Life is one long round of Happiness when you get to my age (67). Looking at my Calendar, I've got to go for another X-Ray next week to check my Cancer Op worked, followed by the week after for another Colonoscopy and Blood Tests. (Real Fun that one.) The week after that is the Dentist (more fun) and the week after that more tests for my High Eye Pressure. Parking at the Hospital is a nightmare so I have to go by Bus. Then regular trips to the Pharmacist. Every day is taking Grand-children to and from School so their Mum (unfortunately separated) can actually do a Full Time Job and not be on too many Benefits. All my Children want me to be in when their Central Heating needs servicing and to take their Cars to and from MOT/Servicing. My Friends seem to be keeling over regularly and I have to go to their Funerals. My fault for having so many friends I suppose. I haven't got time to use my Discounts whatever they are. Enjoy yourself before you retire is my Advice, or don't have children. Preferably both.
Yours Curmudgeonly, Garden Hermit.

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BabyWombat
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Can’t say that hubby and I take advantage of restaurant discounts or the like, mostly because we’re food snobs and would rather cook and dine at home. Discounts on bus, museum fees, etc. are indeed important to us -- yes, small change perhaps but they offer sense of courtesy and gratitude for what we’ve contributed to society. We no longer consider museums without discount as something we can afford.

We do not have children or grandchildren, yet all our life, continuing into old age, we are charged school tax based on the valuation of our house. Yes, the cash amount varies with income only in the sense that those more wealthy may have a grander home. However, the percentage rate is across the board as set by school district. We pay it without murmur for the good of society in having an educated public. It is not based on income, only house value, and there are those who struggle to pay. Balance that with the small change on buses and museums, and society still benefits. Take away our tiny discounts, and I swear we’d be like Diana Trent in As Time Goes By -- whacking all and sundry with our canes.

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Let us, with a gladsome mind…..

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BabyWombat
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Opps.... Diana Trent in Waiting for God. Silly me.

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Let us, with a gladsome mind…..

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Barnabas62
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I suppose if we were more impoverished we wouldn't be able and available for our three surviving parents and our sons, daughters in law and grandchildren.

Funny thing. We both thought at our age that it would be feet up time, with the generation above having passed away and the two generations below visiting and supporting us. We sure got that wrong. But we don't expect to be subsidised to help us with these unexpectedly heavy family support responsibilities. Some things you just do out of love.

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:
Point One:

quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
One reason for discounts is that it probably benefits the business in the long run. I'm thinking of a restaurant near by my old stomping grounds that offered a discounted senior's night. Surprise, surprise, it's packed with seniors on the senior's night. From a business point of view, while offering 15% off to seniors might mean an initial cut, if more people are attracted to that night, it could easily make up the cut and generate profit overall. ...

Point Two:

quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
There are a lot of people of every age group with a low income, but again, in the US,
seniors are the group least likely to be in poverty.

In 2014, the rates of poverty by age were:
21% of people under age 18
14% of people 18 to 64 years of age
10% of people 65 years of age and over

So again, children-- most likely to live in poverty. Seniors-- least likely.

The straight line between those two points: the seniors' discount is a way of enticing customers that in general have more money to spend. Nothing to do with helping poor seniors on a fixed income - they're just incidental beneficiaries of this marketing strategy.

Exactly. Which is fine of course when you're talking private business-- its a savvy marketing strategy. A bit more questionable when you're talking public funds (e.g. for public transport) which then have to be subsidized by younger people.

Although maybe that's the point-- that with Citizen's United (in the US) now government itself is clearly up for sale to the highest bidder, so it makes sense for government, too, to market itself by offering special perks to the wealthier consumers... er, voters.

[ 26. March 2017, 21:05: Message edited by: cliffdweller ]

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Lamb Chopped
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quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:
Point One:

quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
One reason for discounts is that it probably benefits the business in the long run. I'm thinking of a restaurant near by my old stomping grounds that offered a discounted senior's night. Surprise, surprise, it's packed with seniors on the senior's night. From a business point of view, while offering 15% off to seniors might mean an initial cut, if more people are attracted to that night, it could easily make up the cut and generate profit overall. ...


Right avatar, but not me,

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Golden Key
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cliffdweller--

One problem is that the official markers for poverty don't keep pace with inflation. So someone trying to get help might be faced with a maximum income level that was appropriate 10 or more years ago; but living costs a lot more now, and the person really is living in poverty.

Plus SF gov't routinely wayyyy underestimates the number of homeless people here. (Better to get numbers from an agency that helps the homeless.) There are many thousands more than there are shelter beds, more than the city would ever let people know.

A couple of articles that may help. They're not recent, but IMHO they get the point across:

-- "Many elderly below SF's hidden poverty line" (SF Examiner, 2010).

-- "California seniors have highest poverty rate, study finds California's seniors have nation's highest poverty rate - 20% are below threshold due to state's high cost of living" (SF Gate, 2014).

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--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

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cliffdweller
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# 13338

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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
cliffdweller--

One problem is that the official markers for poverty don't keep pace with inflation. So someone trying to get help might be faced with a maximum income level that was appropriate 10 or more years ago; but living costs a lot more now, and the person really is living in poverty.

But given that the stats I offered are one snapshot in time (2014) that factor would cut equally across all demographics. Regardless of whether or not you agree with where the official "line of poverty" lies, the fact remains that more than twice as many children are living below that line than are seniors.


quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
Plus SF gov't routinely wayyyy underestimates the number of homeless people here. (Better to get numbers from an agency that helps the homeless.) There are many thousands more than there are shelter beds, more than the city would ever let people know.

I actually work for/with just such a homeless shelter, albeit south of you. I'm not really sure what your point has to do with the demographic comparison I was making though-- city governments are inclined to underestimate homelessness in general, not senior homelessness in particular.


quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:

-- "Many elderly below SF's hidden poverty line" (SF Examiner, 2010).

-- "California seniors have highest poverty rate, study finds California's seniors have nation's highest poverty rate - 20% are below threshold due to state's high cost of living" (SF Gate, 2014).

These articles indicate that the rate of senior poverty in SF is much higher than it is in the rest of the country, which is interesting but again, does not address the comparison I'm making. It doesn't compare senior poverty in SF with any other demographics. The factors the articles cite to explain the higher rates of senior poverty (rent, etc.) would be equally true for younger persons.

--------------------
"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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lilBuddha
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Millennials earn less than thier predecessors.
Whilst this doesn't necessarily translate into a greater percentage of poverty, it is a part of the resource imbalance.

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If it's not here soon, I might be done
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Gramps49
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Time Magazine (Apr. 3, 2017 p.48) states that one in three seniors have not put anything into retirement and 6 in 10 seniors have less than $10,000 for retirement.
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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
Time Magazine (Apr. 3, 2017 p.48) states that one in three seniors have not put anything into retirement and 6 in 10 seniors have less than $10,000 for retirement.

And yet, seniors are half as likely to be in poverty as families with children.

Look, it sucks to be in poverty-- whether you have a lot of peers in the same boat or not. In fact, it probably sucks more when your friends are always heading off on exotic cruises and eating out at pricey restaurants.

And, as I mentioned before, senior poverty differs from that of younger adults because seniors are more vulnerable-- they don't generally have the ability to change those circumstances as younger folks do, and health complications make poverty (especially homelessness) far more deadly. (otoh, there are particular lieflong developmental challenges for children who grow up in poverty, especially the estimated 2.5 million homeless children in the US.)

But the kinds of discounts offered to seniors won't really help with those problems-- things like Medicare, Social Security, and Housing First do (and are a good reason why the rate of senior poverty has dropped so dramatically in only a few generations).

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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quetzalcoatl
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Ah, cliffdweller has made it clearer, that discounts are different from benefits for older people. I was going to say that if anybody wants to take away my free travel (in London), and free prescriptions, it will be from my cold dead hands!

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Golden Key
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cliffdweller--

I think we've got our wires crossed, a little bit. [Angel]

I never said that there are more seniors in poverty than any other group--just that a) there are *lots* of them, and b) there are far more than people think.

IMHO, statistics can be useful, but aren't *necessarily* completely accurate.

Perhaps I inserted the bit about local homelessness clumsily. I was trying to point out that gov'ts don't always tell the truth about people in need.

*No one* should live in poverty...except perhaps politicians who want to cut programs meant to help.

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
cliffdweller--

I think we've got our wires crossed, a little bit. [Angel]

I never said that there are more seniors in poverty than any other group--just that a) there are *lots* of them, and b) there are far more than people think.

Yes. Although the context was why does this demographic group (seniors) get benefits that are subsidized by that demographic group (younger adults). In that context, even though 10% of seniors live in poverty, the fact that that is half as many as families with children is more relevant to the discussion at hand IMHO.


quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
IMHO, statistics can be useful, but aren't *necessarily* completely accurate.

Perhaps I inserted the bit about local homelessness clumsily. I was trying to point out that gov'ts don't always tell the truth about people in need.

Yes, something I know quite well given that I'm working in the field. But there are sources that are more accurate. It helps to know something about how the numbers are derived, the purpose for which they are derived, and who's paying for the study. Follow the money, as they say. There are interests on both sides of the equation-- those who benefit from low-balling the numbers, and those who benefit from inflating them.


quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:

*No one* should live in poverty...except perhaps politicians who want to cut programs meant to help.

Amen to that.

[ 27. March 2017, 20:01: Message edited by: cliffdweller ]

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Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
Right avatar, but not me,

Sorry. [Hot and Hormonal]

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Lamb Chopped
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No prob.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
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Pancho
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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
quote:
Originally posted by Pancho:
I'm afraid society's dreary attitudes towards elders are going to effect Generations X and Y more than the Boomers. The Boomers, at least, have a great social influence to shield them, and enormous capacity for self-regard to get them through. The others, not so much.

Ok, so can we have the Boomers not get discounts? Being one, they keep telling me that 70 is the new 50 etc., and we know that the Boomers have a raft of assets, while the Millenials are struggling. The majority of Boomers as a group are seniors now. I say that I'd prefer we benefit the Millenials.

<snip>

And yes, I do qualify myself for senior discounts. Part of my thinking is that our economic policies aren't progressive the way they should be. And the usefulness of senior discounts is one that should go. Put the money into childcare and reduced post-secondary education expenses.

I'm not sure you understood what I meant.

I do think seniors should be honored by society in a special way for the good of society. That's pretty much what the majority of human societies have believed throughout history until recently.

I don't think it's taking money away from needy or other sections of society. We can help and honor both or more. I think you're making a false dichotomy.

[I do wonder if the statistics about seniors as a whole being better off are a bit misleading. There are very few people who become millionaires before the age of 25. You're more likely build and gather considerable wealth the older you get. That has got to have an effect on the average rate of wealth among different age groups.]

I don't think the solution to this society's dreary attitudes towards the elderly is to become even more dreary towards them. One of the things I was getting at above is that there are fewer social bonds to protect the elderly today, and I'm afraid they are going to become fewer for Generations X and Y tomorrow, and I find it ironic that a lot of the social attitudes of today's X'ers and Y'ers is going to contribute to their loneliness and lack of familial and social support in their future senior-hood. The focus on personal autonomy among younger folk is going to bite a lot of us in the butt bigtime in the future.

This past year there was a bishop or cardinal (I can't remember who) who said something funny about some couples (presumably the ones who have a choice in the matter) who focus their energy on pets and doting on them instead of building a family. It was something like, your dog is not going to bury you.

He had a point. Who is going to look after you in you old age if not your children or other family members especially if the social safety net gets eroded? Much of society doesn't care about old people like it used to. I don't just mean social programs. I mean it on a personal level, like the people at the nursing home I mentioned who never received visits from their own families. There are a lot of people in that situation today, unfortunately, and I'm afraid there might be more in the future.

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“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places and calling to their playmates, ‘We piped to you, and you did not dance;
we wailed, and you did not mourn.’"

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Pancho:

[I do wonder if the statistics about seniors as a whole being better off are a bit misleading. There are very few people who become millionaires before the age of 25. You're more likely build and gather considerable wealth the older you get. That has got to have an effect on the average rate of wealth among different age groups.].

The charts I linked to above did not cite the average income of each age group (as your post would suppose) but rather the percentage of each age group living below the poverty line. Seniors as a group had the lowest percentage of people in that category-- children the largest percentage.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Galloping Granny
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Retirement age and hence national superannuation age here is 65 and there is considerable argument for raising it to 67. It was 60 for women when I reached that age but I got something like 5c in the $ until I retired.
For our National Health prescriptions we pay a $5 tax on each one for the first 20 (I think) in the year, after that they're free. But many poor people can't pay that and go without.
A noted politician's price he exacted from the majority party in return for his votes they needed was the Seniors' Gold Card, which entitles us to free bus/train transport between certain hours, which differ from one city to another. During off-peak hours bus passengers are predominantly grey-haired – or students, who in this city don't have subsidised fares. This is universally regarded as a serious scandal, but the voters haven't yet got it sorted.
Many shops that I'm not interested in give 'gold card discounts'. But when I recently bought a new MacBook I had a question out of curiosity: as a relic of the generations who didn't make large purchases until they'd saved the cash, whenever I see ads that offer 'No interest and pay nothing for 18 months' I wonder what the cash price is. I was told 'the margin on Apple products is very small so we don't include them in such deals – but with your gold card discount your mouse and the adaptor you need won't cost you.'
We built our house when our Government loan cost us 3% interest, and had some extra income, but I'm very glad of state support as the decrepitude of age kicks in. It costs the health services less to provide help to keep people in their own home than to take them into care if they can't comtribute financially.
You don't know your friends' financial situations, but I can guess when they buy petrol whenever there's a discount day, and visit family when they can plan their trip to be all free on their gold cards.
Sorry if I've got off the point – new benefits kept occurring to me, probably a drop in the bucket for the really wealthy but some still available for the poor.

GG

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The Kingdom of Heaven is spread upon the earth, and men do not see it. Gospel of Thomas, 113

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