John Grant: Brother, Can You Spare Anything? Inflation Hitting Seniors Hard

Some of you may remember the song‭ “‬Brother,‭ ‬Can You Spare a Dime‭?” ‬It was considered the anthem of the Great Depression.‭ ‬Sadly,‭ ‬it comes to mind when I think about the inflation baring down on Americans today.

Fewer of us have any spare change to share.‭ ‬That’s because inflation is now at a‭ ‬40-year high.‭ ‬Seniors are especially feeling the pain of soaring prices for everything from rent to groceries,‭ ‬utilities to gasoline.‭

A report from Florida TaxWatch,‭ ‬revealed that in February‭ ‬2020‭ ‬the median price of rent was‭ ‬$1,340.‭ ‬Now,‭ ‬it’s more than‭ ‬$1,760.‭ ‬The rising cost of rent may end up forcing families and young singles to consider a move elsewhere.‭

Leaving the state may not be an option for senior citizens living on a fixed income.‭ ‬With‭ ‬56‭ ‬million Americans over‭ ‬65,‭ ‬many rely on Social Security and limited savings to pay their monthly bills.‭

High rental rates are already taking a toll.‭ ‬Homelessness is rapidly rising among seniors according to a new study from the University of Pennsylvania.‭ ‬In fact,‭ ‬homelessness is expected to triple in the next decade.‭ ‬Seniors are worried and rightfully so.

We are starting to hear stories about older Americans cutting back on certain foods,‭ ‬driving less to save on gas,‭ ‬and even taking fewer showers to reduce their water bill.‭ ‬Food banks report an increasing demand among retirees and grandparents raising grandchildren.‭

In addition,‭ ‬the psychological effect of inflation can change the economic behaviors of all consumers as well as businesses.‭ ‬If the belief is that prices will continue to go up,‭ ‬purchases may be delayed,‭ ‬and that could lead to stagnation or a recession.

Americans should not have to live like this.‭ ‬Lawmakers must be prepared to manage the rising costs and the expected challenges that come with inflation.

During the last legislative session,‭ ‬Florida lawmakers agreed to set up a‭ ‬$1‭ ‬billion‭ “‬Inflation Fund‭”‬.‭ ‬And at least a dozen states are considering giving rebate checks of several hundred dollars directly to taxpayers.‭ ‬But that might not be enough.

Pandemic-era relief funds helped families but didn’t do much for retirees.‭ ‬For seniors relying on Social Security,‭ ‬there really isn’t a process in place that allows for flexibility when prices increase.‭

These issues are a real concern and that’s why I set up Seniors Across America.‭ ‬I am working with lawmakers to fight for programs and services that benefit seniors.‭ ‬SSA is committed to this mission,‭ ‬making sure all seniors have a voice and aren’t left behind to sing the blues.

John Grant, a former state representative and state senator, an estate planning attorney, and a member of the National Senior Citizen Hall of Fame, has spent much of his career working on behalf of seniors. John is continuing the advocacy work by heading a new venture called Seniors Across America to continue speaking up for our elderly population.

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