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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

It Is Owed To Those Retirees, Of Course

Bill Suda sent in this cute story from CNN Money about the Greatest Generation. It does not represent every member of the retiree generation, of course.

NEW YORK (MONEY Magazine) -

Q. I live in a nice, but not fancy, retirement community. Every week one of our clubhouses provides a special lunch for low-income people that is subsidized by the government and costs only $1.50.

Many of my friends here routinely take advantage of this lunch, even though they are all financially secure. They say they're entitled to the meal because "income" means money earned from a job and they're too old to work, and because this country owes a lot to seniors for all that our generation has done. Can they be right?

Answer: We hear that the DAR chapter in your community says it's okay for their members to get in the chow line too, since their families founded this country. Just kidding.

The subsidized-lunch bunch is kidding too -- kidding themselves. Those meals are meant for the truly needy, not the self-appointed worthy. The respect that our country owes seniors (whether they're members of the "greatest generation" or the Ozzie and Harriet crowd that followed) doesn't allow them to rewrite the rules.

Yet that's precisely what your friends are doing when they decide that their income, whatever its source, shouldn't be counted in a means test.

Moreover, by pretending to be poor, they're poaching from a program that can afford to serve only so many meals -- meals that are clearly intended for people less fortunate than your friends.

Aren't they just the Greatest Generation? Don't we owe them so much that they should never spend another dime on anything? They really are teaching the younger generations some important lessons. Obviously, the above does not represent all members of the retiree generation.

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