The senior vote: it’s about more than Medicare Advantage

posted at 12:41 pm on August 30, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Mitt Romney has enjoyed surprising strength among seniors — perhaps even more surprisingly after adding entitlement-reform crusader Paul Ryan to the ticket.  Most assume that the argument over raiding Medicare Advantage now to pay for ObamaCare costs later have resonated much more strongly than Democrats expected, and that’s probably true.  Glenn Reynolds argues in a USA Today column that there is more to the story than just Medicare Advantage raiding, and that seniors have an even sharper concern over the economy:

Interest rates on bonds, CDs and money market accounts — staples of the retirement crowd’s portfolio — are at historic lows. (I’m always shocked to see what banks are touting. Really? 0.35% — that is, 35/100 of a percent — on a money market? 0.90% on a CD? Yep.) Stocks are nothing to write home about, still well below their highs of five years ago. As for those real estate investments? Forget about it.

The squeeze is real. Some years ago, when earning say 5% on your money was realistic, a $360,000 portfolio of CDs would produce $18,000 a year in interest — that’s $1500 a month. Couple that with an unexceptional Social Security payment of about the same amount, and that’s $36,000 a year, $3,000 a month. Nothing fancy, but enough to get by.

Now change that 5% to 0.9% and you’re earning $3,240 per year, or about $270 a month. Add that to $1,500 a month in Social Security and you’ve got $1,770 a month to live on; just $21,240 a year. That’s a brutal 41% cut in income. And it is why many senior citizens around the country are being forced to draw down savings to make ends meet.

At the same time, prices are rising, eating away further at that reduced fixed income:

For senior citizens, it’s a double squeeze. While incomes for retirees are going down, costs are going up. Gasoline is now roughly double what it was when President Obama took office and, in many places, it’s back up in the neighborhood of $4 a gallon.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, ground beef recently hit a national average of more than $3 a pound, the first time in history it’s reached that level. (When Obama was inaugurated, it was $2.35). Anyone who has spent time in a grocery store knows that this sort of thing is happening on every aisle — coupled with “shrinkage,” as manufacturers reduce the amount of product in a box while keeping the price the same, a way of hiding price increases from (they hope) inattentive consumers. And it’s going to get worse, according to the Department of Agriculture, when this summer’s drought hits food prices in a few months.

The economics for seniors have become dire indeed.  They need improved economic growth stat in order to survive on their retirement plans.  Raiding Medicare Advantage makes that worse, as their medical care choices become more restricted and costly, but it’s the core economics that are likely the biggest reason for seniors to support Romney/Ryan.

A new Rasmussen poll today provides evidence for that conclusion.  While Romney only edges Obama by four points on the economy, the internals tell a very interesting story:

Voters still trust Mitt Romney more than President Obama when it comes to handling the economy – but just barely. They have more confidence in the president when it comes to national security, and as for taxes, health care and energy policy, the presidential hopefuls are virtually tied, indicative of how close the race remains.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 48% of Likely U.S. Voters trust Romney more on the economy, while 44% have more confidence in the president.

Obama has actually gained ground on this measure, coming back from 12 down earlier in the year.  But the numbers for seniors and independents are eye-popping.  Seniors trust Romney more on the economy by thirty-five points, 65/30, with only 5% undecided.  Independents trust Romney more by twelve, 51/39.  Middle-aged voters give Romney a 21-point lead, 56/35, while voters under 40 — not the most reliable voting bloc — favor Obama 58/33.  Men give Romney the edge by 13 points — while women only favor Obama by three, 47/44.

Seniors give Romney a double-digit advantage on every issue listed in the poll.  Independents do the same on health care, but give Romney only a plurality lead on national security, taxes, and energy.  Their support for Romney is broad and deep, but most focused on the economy.  Expect Romney and Ryan to hit that hard with seniors in the next two months.

 


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Barry keeps courting the young crowd. SENIORS VOTE!

GarandFan on August 30, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Chris Christie touched on this in his speech and I hope Romney/Ryan amplify it over the next weeks:

Barack Obama thinks all seniors are selfish. He thinks they will sell out their own grandchildren.

rockmom on August 30, 2012 at 12:49 PM

They know what they see despite the news outlets and the obabma admin tell them differant everyday. Lets hope it keeps up. Getting the truth out with the media decidedly against you is not going to be easy.

paulrtaylor on August 30, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Shut up you bitter clingers… It’s all about vaginal rights…

SWalker on August 30, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Shut up you bitter clingers… It’s all about v@ginal rights…

SWalker on August 30, 2012 at 12:51 PM

BTW, I spent $240 at the grocery on Sunday and barely filled my cart. I spent $57 today to fill my gas tank. I don’t know how seniors on fixed incomes are doing it.

rockmom on August 30, 2012 at 12:51 PM

Breaking News: MSNBC Chris Matthews announces that being a senior is……..wait for it…………..RAAAAAAAAAAAAACIST!!!!!

pilamaye on August 30, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Chicago Democrites and the Alinsky philosophy of “connecting” with voters.

Awesome.

Wait until ALL women get to learn they’re nothing more than vaginas to the tolerant, open minded liberal marxists.

Sharia….Chicago Style.

FlaMurph on August 30, 2012 at 12:53 PM

While Romney only edges Obama by four points on the economy, the internals tell a very interesting story.

Independents trust Romney more by twelve,

51/39

.

And this confirms with mathematical certainty, that Rasmussen is either dramatically over polling democrats, or under polling Independents.

It’s hard NOT to have a lead on any given subject if two out of three major party affiliations strongly support you. So the ONLY way a double digit lead among independents, and presumably a double digit lead with Republicans, could be reduced to only a 4% lead overall, is if democrats are being polled far more heavily than either Republicans or Independents, (one or the other.)

This would also explain why Rasmussen has been showing Obama’s approval at 50% lately.

WolvenOne on August 30, 2012 at 12:54 PM

Just eat your cat food and STFU.

BacaDog on August 30, 2012 at 12:55 PM

Seniors trust Romney more on the economy by thirty-five points, 65/30, with only 5% undecided.

“My death panels will get rid of this scourge.”
/SCOAMF

Bitter Clinger on August 30, 2012 at 12:59 PM

When is O going to realize that Seniors aren’t all that excited about free contraceptives !!

KenInIL on August 30, 2012 at 1:02 PM

Mystery speaker? Marie Osmond!

faraway on August 30, 2012 at 1:07 PM

The senior vote: it’s about more than Medicare Advantage

…not to worry!…JugEars will be promising FREE Viagra by convention time!

KOOLAID2 on August 30, 2012 at 1:07 PM

BTW, I spent $240 at the grocery on Sunday and barely filled my cart. I spent $57 today to fill my gas tank. I don’t know how seniors on fixed incomes are doing it.rockmom on August 30, 2012 at 12:51 PM

It is tough. As mentioned above, ROI have forced many of us to cannibalize investments. The inevitable death spiral will follow, and it won’t be turned around quickly enough to avoid emptying the bowl completely, regardless of election results. Not a comforting thought.

a capella on August 30, 2012 at 1:10 PM

Remember when Obama took over having $2 million invested left you with a decent income? Today that income would be below the poverty level. Dave Ramsey tip ‘o the day.

DanMan on August 30, 2012 at 1:10 PM

Is Obama campaigning or playing golf today?

I mean, with the disaster unfolding in the southeast from Issac, he seems to be missing in action.

BacaDog on August 30, 2012 at 1:10 PM

“My death panels will get rid of this scourge.”
/SCOAMF

Bitter Clinger on August 30, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Exactly. They have every intention of culling the population. It’s what communists do. Leave the younger, healthy workers and get rid of the unproductive portions of the populace.

Cody1991 on August 30, 2012 at 1:12 PM

Exactly. They have every intention of culling the population. It’s what communists do. Leave the younger, healthy workers and get rid of the unproductive portions of the populace.

Cody1991 on August 30, 2012 at 1:12 PM

Yep. Then he can say “Hey, look!! I fixed the Social Security and Medicare problems by eliminating the recipients.”

Bitter Clinger on August 30, 2012 at 1:16 PM

BTW, I spent $240 at the grocery on Sunday and barely filled my cart.

rockmom on August 30, 2012 at 12:51 PM

Publix BOGO’s are the way to shop.

lorien1973 on August 30, 2012 at 1:18 PM

Seniors have been around for ages and have seen everything.
My question to the younger crowd….have you talked to your grandparents about who they are voting for and WHY? Every parent who has children of voting age, needs to ask their children to go talk to their grandparents so they can give them insight on this country.

USMCmom on August 30, 2012 at 1:19 PM

Yep. Then he can say “Hey, look!! I fixed the Social Security and Medicare problems by eliminating the recipients.”

Bitter Clinger on August 30, 2012 at 1:16 PM

These policies are horrific, but they suit the Dem party because they do not embrace the culture of life. It won’t be seniors alone who are affected. It will be the disabled, permanently disabled children, children/adults with limited life expectancies because of health conditions.

Remember how Sarah Palin reacted to this panel of bureaucrats? She knew exactly what it meant especially as a mother with a special needs child.

Cody1991 on August 30, 2012 at 1:22 PM

To add to that awful interest rate, and returns on other investments, and outright LOSS in many of the several stock crashes,
many elderly struggle with the fact that they MUST take the income out on the schedule because it was not taxed when it went in, when they would rather let it just sit there unimpeded until the values come back.

Fleuries on August 30, 2012 at 1:22 PM

Seniors trust Romney more on the economy by thirty-five points, 65/30, with only 5% undecided.

I am wondering, where are the Seniors getting their information from?
Many cannot do the internet.

Do you think they tune into FoxNews? I am wondering how many still just watch the Today Show and watch the MSM broadcast news.

Fleuries on August 30, 2012 at 1:26 PM

They have more confidence in the president when it comes to national security, and as for taxes, health care and energy policy, the presidential hopefuls are virtually tied.

Huh? What? Americans are against Obamacare. They like the bowing, the apologies, Solyndra and WINDMILLS?

Not buying it one bit.

RobertMN on August 30, 2012 at 1:28 PM

Cat food! Do you know how much a pound that is!

O, and his ilk are losing ground every which way they turn, their meme is only important to like minded thinkers…

If they think they can gain ground with this, saying seniors would
not sacrifice for their grandkids they have another think coming.

I am on a fixed income, and believe me, I live as cheaply as I can, I don’t drive and still it’s hard to make ends meet… I don’t know how many do manage… many I know live on just over 800 a month, I fair a little better…

I lost my savings and just haven’t had the wherewithall to restart.

Not gonna complain tho, there is no point…

Scrumpy on August 30, 2012 at 1:29 PM

Cody1991 on August 30, 2012 at 1:22 PM

I am one of the permanantly disabled… and so far, doing ok… but once I reach retirement age, I know things will change for the worse, and I will be one of many millions trying to survive on 800 a month…

Scrumpy on August 30, 2012 at 1:32 PM

BTW, I spent $240 at the grocery on Sunday and barely filled my cart. I spent $57 today to fill my gas tank. I don’t know how seniors on fixed incomes are doing it.

rockmom on August 30, 2012 at 12:51 PM

Gas prices are skyrocketing over the last few weeks and the press is trying to bury this. I think that’s a foolish move too, cuz if the national average hits 4 bucks again(and we’re almost there), it’ll be forced onto the front pages and they’ll have to discuss it very close to election time.

Doughboy on August 30, 2012 at 1:32 PM

Fleuries on August 30, 2012 at 1:26 PM

Please don’t count out the “Codger Vote”.

Look at the Tea Party Demos.~ we know who really pays higher taxes. We share info in the Morning Coffee Shops (Local A & W here w/ Senior Bfst Spec.) each morning, Hair Dressers & other venues. Cronkite is gone & we saddle up to Fox New Morning show, Hot Gas, Drudge & others.

We know how much this Economy hurts our meager investments ~ And we are mad as…well very angry!

angrycodgr on August 30, 2012 at 1:36 PM

Uh, everythin’ is, uh, free. Don’ let ‘em, uh, tell ya any, uh, differen’. Free stuff, uh, ain’t a gonna hurt your’n wallets none.

- Barack Obamuh
[speaking to the Seniors - in his best, Suthin' dialect]

OhEssYouCowboys on August 30, 2012 at 1:37 PM

Barry keeps courting the young crowd. SENIORS VOTE!

GarandFan on August 30, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Rommney need to make a short little ad aimed at the 22 y.o. With “the one” at the cash register handing the bill to the 22 y.o. for his share of the debt “the one” has created for him.

Animal60 on August 30, 2012 at 1:38 PM

I am 60 years old..I will be 61 in the not too distant future..for people my age, there is no tomorrow to make back the losses of today. We know we will soon reach the place where we can not work anymore while at the same time we have to pay higher and higher health care costs…it is scary. When I was younger, I never felt this kind of vulnerability.

Terrye on August 30, 2012 at 2:19 PM

While the terrible income issues for seniors is not being spoken about at all in the MSM, it will be issue number one when Romney becomes president. And, believe it or not, it will not be a problem inherited from the economic illiterate Obama.

jukin3 on August 30, 2012 at 2:23 PM

I think the political/media class has a bad habit of over-simplifying what’s happening with any particular group, but it’s especially bad with Seniors.

Seniors care about themselves, sure, but they’re resigned to the idea that someone will be taking care of them one way or another. Between social security & medicare, they’re OK, and they know that the DNC’s claims are pure rhetoric.

They are worried about their money, sure. That much is true.

But they’re also worried about the affairs remaining for their children and grandchildren. Imagine what it’s going to be like for them if they can’t leave them any money, Social Security is going broke, MEdicare is going broke, and the economy is collapsing. Their children are going to have a much harder time than they will.

Which then breaks down to their grandchildren. Seniors love their kids, but love their grandkids more, and they know that while their children may have it bad, their grandchildren are going to be completely f***ed when it comes time for them to retire, if the current system is in place.

Why was the Tea Party comprised of so many Seniors? It wasn’t because they were Glen Beck fans. It’s because they are old enough to recognize that if the decline continues, the next generations of Americans are screwed.

Nethicus on August 30, 2012 at 3:16 PM

I am wondering, where are the Seniors getting their information from?
Many cannot do the internet.

Do you think they tune into FoxNews? I am wondering how many still just watch the Today Show and watch the MSM broadcast news.

Fleuries on August 30, 2012 at 1:26 PM

I work in the banking industry, and you’d be surprised at how many octogenarians are banking online these days (not to mention younger seniors).

right of the dial on August 30, 2012 at 3:17 PM

My parents are worried they’ll be told to take the pain pill and that their life savings will be confiscated.

ldbgcoleman on August 30, 2012 at 3:19 PM

Since I’m not there yet, I hadn’t considered the investments. Yikes!! That’s a huge hit.

Cindy Munford on August 30, 2012 at 3:22 PM

Support R&R so you can put the TAB of your decades lone R&R on the backs of other people’s children. It is the new new conservative American way.

astonerii on August 30, 2012 at 3:35 PM

And believe it or not, we seniors have been there done that in various elections and know a ‘good or bad’ person who wants our votes. We have also been where we had nothing, made something out of our lives, didn’t have ‘big bro’ so much telling us what we must or must not do. And the healthcare thing is a major issue, do we live or die or get a ‘pill’ under bhocare? The other issue, are taxes on what we might have in a tiny saving account/stocks/or anything else we rely on going to be taxed so we have less than nothing? In our case, I think the SS issue should be front and center even if it hurts us down the line for our debt.

Just my thoughts as an ‘seasoned citizen’!
L

letget on August 30, 2012 at 3:38 PM

By they way, who in their right mind imagines that Romney is going to let the Fed allow interest rates to go up… It is not the ECONOMY holding the interest rates low, it is the FED as it syphons off hundreds of billions of dollars a year to pay for the deficit spending that failed to be a grandma and failed to be a grandpa are relying on to get their checks to them every month?

Probably should have invested in some kids there and the more kids you have the less you have to ask from each them to help you in your old age. But with Romney and Ryan promising to keep the generational slavery thing going on for at least another two full generations, the assault on family continues.

I not only send money to my grandparents, but I am paying the tab for another retired person or couple that refused to have children because the safety net of Uncle Sam was always there to comfort them.

astonerii on August 30, 2012 at 3:41 PM

And believe it or not, we seniors have been there done that in various elections and know a ‘good or bad’ person who wants our votes. We have also been where we had nothing, made something out of our lives, didn’t have ‘big bro’ so much telling us what we must or must not do. And the healthcare thing is a major issue, do we live or die or get a ‘pill’ under bhocare? The other issue, are taxes on what we might have in a tiny saving account/stocks/or anything else we rely on going to be taxed so we have less than nothing? In our case, I think the SS issue should be front and center even if it hurts us down the line for our debt.Just my thoughts as an ‘seasoned citizen’!
L

letget on August 30, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Thanks. your input is very important to us. This man is a senior, already retired, living on Social Security and has some investments. I did not hear a word about children, his children cannot sacrifice some to help him? Instead, this man who is basically living tax free for the most part right now says he does not mind it if we increase the debt burden on the future generation of Americans… or that is how I read that last highlighted part. Why the hell should he? If you have morals, you would know that is an evil act, putting on the children the sins of the father, but here he is saying it anyways.

You wonder why I lost faith in the Republican party? This man, another guy I argued with about SS on these threads a long time ago, and the Ryan chain gang road map to the enslavement of your children is why. If the best you can do to solve our problems is throw them on the backs of someone else, you can get other people to support you with their vote.

astonerii on August 30, 2012 at 3:47 PM

Support R&R so you can put the TAB of your decades lone R&R on the backs of other people’s children. It is the new new conservative American way.

astonerii on August 30, 2012 at 3:35 PM

.
There’s 5 Trillion reasons to point out how idiotic your statement is.

And no, I am not a fan of communism. And yes, I’m sure the private sector is doing just fine.

FlaMurph on August 30, 2012 at 3:49 PM

I did not hear a word about children

We do not have children that might help us. Many don’t. We made a choice back when bho was running, after hearing what he/mo had a ‘vision’ for cratering our Republic, to do all we could to get out of debt and not rely on anyone. MANY MANY others do not have that choice.

bho has NOT disappointed one bit on his ‘vision’ and if he is re-elected, katy bar the door for the USA!
L

letget on August 30, 2012 at 4:09 PM

What’s up with the under-40 crowd supporting Obozo so heavily? IMO they are the ones getting the shortest end of the stick of all. 25 point lead for Obozo? When you’ve god $100K of student loan debt for a piece of paper largely meaning only you hung around for 4 years? When your retirement will suck if you ever get one? The only chance any of them have at a decent standard of living is a government job (under current conditions) or starting a business and making it successful. Do they want to spend the rest of their lives in Mom’s basement?

I don’t get it at all.

jclittlep on August 30, 2012 at 5:15 PM

My husband and I have no hope of saving enough for retirement. Due to us both being unemployed we have not been able to save anything for retirement in over 3 years. In fact we have had to draw down savings to keep our children in school. We are 51, which is working against us when trying to get hired, and we don’t have that many years to go before we are too old for anyone at all to be interested in hiring us. We will never be able to replace the savings that we had to use during the past 3 years. Here in northern Alabama Obummer has killed the space program so unemployment is very high, with more people losing their jobs every week.

sherrimae on August 31, 2012 at 12:31 AM

My husband and I have no hope of saving enough for retirement. Due to us both being unemployed we have not been able to save anything for retirement in over 3 years. In fact we have had to draw down savings to keep our children in school. We are 51, which is working against us when trying to get hired, and we don’t have that many years to go before we are too old for anyone at all to be interested in hiring us. We will never be able to replace the savings that we had to use during the past 3 years. Here in northern Alabama Obummer has killed the space program so unemployment is very high, with more people losing their jobs every week.

sherrimae on August 31, 2012 at 12:31 AM

Do you think employers do not think you are worth it because of your age, or the arbitrary best if used by age 62 date that the government labels you with? Lots of people add value to companies well into their 70′s, my grandmother did for her employer.

Social security is bane on this nation, and your lack of ability to get hired has in large part it to blame.

astonerii on August 31, 2012 at 9:04 AM

We do not have children that might help us. Many don’t. We made a choice back when bho was running, after hearing what he/mo had a ‘vision’ for cratering our Republic, to do all we could to get out of debt and not rely on anyone. MANY MANY others do not have that choice.

bho has NOT disappointed one bit on his ‘vision’ and if he is re-elected, katy bar the door for the USA!
L

letget on August 30, 2012 at 4:09 PM

I did not think you had children. The government made the calculation for having children less valuable to people by offering to replace the goodwill and safety net that children offer with the warm caring arms of stealing the wealth of OTHER PEOPLE”S CHILDREN to give to YOU.

BHO is not who ruined your retirement, you did that decades ago when you decided to beleive in the government promise of Mana from Heaven, instead of self earned security, including the earned security of a family you raised to be good productive citizens earning enough to give you 10% of their income each. If you had 5 kids, that means you would be getting 50% of their average income. Add that to some savings and a part time job or hobby that makes a few bucks, and you have a right good lifestyle.

Yeah, there are some people who are not able to have children. Those FEW people could easily be helped by their families and the local specific community. And again here, best if used by 62 is an arbitrary number picked because 50% or more of the population at the time the bill passed were already long dead. Now 50% of the population lives well into their 70s and a large chunk 80s and 90s. Science shows that number can be raised to 120 in the next couple decades, meaning that if you retire at 69, more than half your adult life will be spent on vacation paid for by OTHER PEOPLES CHILDREN.

Slavery by any other name is still slavery.

astonerii on August 31, 2012 at 9:11 AM

I had worked in grocery retail.. was approaching my late 40′s.. had my pension from work.. social security,.. I had a tiny pension from a previous employer, same trade.. and 17 years with Kroger, excellent conformance records.. and I was torn over spending the money for a private retirement account.. or setting aside mony for college for our two kids. That decision was taken from me, when I had a major work injury.. to make a long story short.. I’m now 100% disabled, spinal injuries, I draw Social Security Disability. Based on my ten best years.. I get 1490 a month, then an additional 720 for my two kids, till they reach 18.. so I get just under 2200 a month total.. and my wife in her mid 30′s works full time, so we’re making/getting about 41,000 a year.

They put me on Medicare last January, and then tried to con me into thinking I HAD to enroll in AARP’s insurance plans.. I kid you not, they sent me pay books,.. per-addressed envelopes and and very much tried to make it appear, the GOVERNMENT had signed me in, that I had no choice..

I threw it all away.. and am trying to find an alternate plan since they won’t allow me to enroll in advantage..

AARP has glued itself to OBAMACARE at the hip, not only shilling for it, but trying to bully seniors and disabled into buying their insurance by almost fraudulent practices.

mark81150 on August 31, 2012 at 10:08 AM