When I was 13 and moved to New York City to be a page for NBC Radio, I
began to see life through the lens of what was and is the great and vibrant
economic engine called America. As I later entered a show business career, I
also began to appreciate and respect the many accomplishments of the senior
citizen community—and understood why its vast reservoir of knowledge and
experience needs to be nurtured and protected during the retirement years.
Throughout my life I’ve been fortunate to have financial cushions to fall back on. As I grow older these become even more critical. However, some of my colleagues in the entertainment industry haven’t been as fortunate. They depend on programs such as Medicare and Social Security as their only lifeline. And they are obviously not alone.
So that’s the main reason I joined with retired business executive Jerry Barton to form the National Association for Senior Concerns (NASCON).
Social Security, as most would agree, needs to be reformed and made financially viable. Why not now?
At our National Press Club launch, we endorsed the Stop the Raid on Social Security Act, sponsored in the House by Rep. James McCrery, R-La., and in the Senate by Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C. Consider that the government now takes the Social Security surplus and spends it, leaving an IOU. Passage of this legislation would halt that raid by appropriating the surplus to the personal accounts of workers each year. After the first couple of years, during which workers are limited to investing the accounts only in government bonds, workers would then voluntarily be able to choose from a full-range of stock and corporate bond funds.
This nation can’t afford to have Social Security go belly up. Yet it most certainly will—and fast!—if Congress agrees to implement the 2004 totalization agreement the Bush Administration negotiated with Mexico. Incredibly, it provides for doling out untold billions of dollars in Social Security benefits to any illegal alien who works or has worked in the United States. I have no problem with extending benefits to workers here legally, and citizens, but this agreement is a mockery of our rule of law and a magnet to attract more illegal immigration.
Medicare, the worst managed and most wasteful federal program, also cries out for reform. Consider just one incredible example: Medicare doles out as much as eight times what other federal agencies pay for the same drugs and medical supplies.
The General Accounting Office also found that basic administrative payment errors—a lot the result of deliberate fraud—costs $12.2 billion annually.
NASCON urges the Congress to finally address far-reaching Medicare reform. The Heritage Foundation calculates that if just some basic Medicare anti-fraud reforms were instituted, it could save taxpayers and recipients over $20 billion annually. That sum, by the way, would be more than enough to fund another NASCON-recommended initiative: a $3,000 refundable health care tax credit for nearly 10 million uninsured, low-income households.
NASCON offers an extremely competitive benefit package when compared to that of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). NASCON also seeks to represent not only seniors, but citizens of all ages before our legislative branch and in the court of public opinion. It is no secret that the AARP consistently favors Social Security and other tax increases, as well as big government control over our lives in general. That is not progressive policy, and certainly not NASCON’s agenda.
So to those who feel they are being misrepresented by other seniors groups, and to all of America’s seniors, there is now a new group hoisting a new banner and offering responsible representation.