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  • John Grant

Hard-hit seniors

It’s no secret inflation is hitting Americans like never before. Seniors especially are feeling the pain. While groceries, gas and insurance rates are skyrocketing, Social Security cost of living adjustments (COLAs) aren’t keeping up. This is a major reason why so many seniors are heading back to work. In fact, the fastest-growing age group in the workforce is people over the age of 75.

Folks, the American retirement system is showing its age and is in desperate need of a facelift. A few nips and tucks won’t be enough to camouflage the ugly truth. Roughly 12 million seniors are struggling with hunger and 1 in 5 Americans over 50 have no retirement savings. Those who rely heavily on monthly Social Security payments are witnessing the buying power of their benefits weakening every day.

Two Arizona members of Congress believe they have a plan to ease the growing troubles of our senior population. They’ve introduced the Boosting Benefits and COLAs for Seniors Act that would change the way cost of living adjustments are calculated. This legislation uses a different index to measure COLAs and the suggested recalculation would mean higher benefits for seniors.

This type of plan is encouraging, although some lawmakers say the bill doesn’t have legs; it lacks real system reform, and it won’t clear the hurdle of party politics. While it may not be a complete solution to the nation’s retirement woes, it’s a start. The conversation must continue. The American Dream and retirement as we knew it is clearly fading away, or at least drastically changing. As we navigate a shift in the American retirement system, it’s worth noting that there are still some positives. Older workers make great employees because they are experienced, responsible and reliable. They have a lot to offer, including years of learning, patience and wisdom. Seniors can also benefit from having a job by keeping their brains sharp and staying socially engaged.

Looking on the bright side only covers part of the story and isn’t a solution. A long-term fix requires more than good intentions. Retirement reform is a developing crisis, and the time for meaningful change is now.

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