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Why I wasn’t invited

October 2, 2012
The Daily News


I am not someone who has been real active in politics. My father, Jack Gingrass, was a well respected Democrat and I valued his opinion and loved discussing the merits and problems of various candidates and issues with him.

I can almost hear what he would have said about Mitt Romney dismissing "47 percent of Americans." I realize Mr. Romney was speaking to an elite group of Republicans and telling them what he thought they wanted to hear.

But to say almost half of the United States citizens see themselves as "victims" and are unwilling to take "personal responsibility," was offensive.

As I listened to what he said, it became obvious that he was lumping into this group: working families, students, military personnel serving in combat zones, people with disabilities and seniors - of whom I am one.

In 2011, the 47 percent of Americans that did not pay federal income taxes included nearly 20 million seniors. That's more than half of all seniors in America. People who worked hard, played by the rules, paid into Social Security and Medicare their entire working lives.

Now many of our seniors are scrimping by in retirement. The thought that Mitt Romney thinks these people are moochers looking for a handout is very disheartening. My husband and I were fortunate enough to have had jobs that also provided a pension check. We both taught school for over 30 years.

This portrayal of the "moochers" is not exclusive to Mitt Romney - it's a central Republican theme.

That's why Gov. Rick Snyder and Lansing Republicans last year voted to raise taxes on Michigan seniors and slash taxes for corporate special interests. In the "Republican World," seniors who have worked and saved for their retirement are moochers who should pay more, while wealthy CEOs deserve a tax break.

For anyone born after January 1, 1946, our pensions are now subject to state taxes.

I truly don't understand how a widow or widower can exist on their Social Security check. As the cost of food, medical expenses, drugs, gas, heating costs and clothing rises, it is hard enough for these seniors to survive, let alone experience the humiliation of being called a "moocher" or "greedy geezer" (former Sen. Alan Simpson) or part of the "welfare transfer system" (Ryan)

Just one more quick thought. The fund-raiser dinner brought in $100,000 a couple, that equals 80 months of what I receive in Social Security payments as a retired teacher. I guess you know why I wasn't invited to the dinner.

Please remember to get out and vote and if you are undecided, ask yourself which of the candidates best understands what your life is like.

Mary Henderson

Iron Mountain



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