DEAR ABBY: You blew it! "Christine in Albuquerque" voiced the thoughts I've held for a long time. The discounts given to senior citizens by parks, theaters, public transportation and restaurants are largely unjustified.
I, too, was under the misconception that today's seniors are a poor and hungry lot until I researched the subject. Imagine my surprise to learn that there are more poor people in my own age group (24 to 35) than there are in the senior citizen group!Get with it, Abby. - CHRISTINE IN CLEVELAND
DEAR CHRISTINE: Believe me, I'm with it now. Did I get mail? Flog me with a Forbes! My desk is piled high with articles from the Wall Street Journal, Barron's, Time, Fortune and Money, plus various "studies" including figures, facts, graphs and charts.
Read on for a peek at my mail:
DEAR ABBY: We've reached the point where senior citizens are getting a disproportionate amount of help from the government. Thanks to AARP, with a membership of 38 million, theirs is one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington.
The working poor are the ones who could use some help. They frequently have no medical insurance and struggle to make ends meet from paycheck to paycheck. - COLUMBIA, MO.
DEAR ABBY: You owe Christine an apology. According to Time magazine, Feb. 22, 1988, during the Reagan administration, payments to the elderly have risen 35 percent. Now, more than 25 percent of all government spending goes to the 12 percent of the population who are 65 years old and older. Meanwhile, Aid to Families With Dependent Children was cut 19 percent, and school meal programs were cut by 41 percent during the same period. Also noted in this article, the percentage of the elderly living below the poverty level was reduced from 20 percent in 1970 to 12 percent in 1984. - SENIOR, WILMINGTON, DEL.
DEAR ABBY: Of course there are some poor among the elderly in this country, but collectively, they are the wealthiest group of people in the United States. They have no house payments to pay, they're not educating children, they get Social Security and pensions, and spend their golden years on cruises and travel. No names, please. I'm one of them in . . . FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA.
DEAR ABBY: Don't cry for the elderly. Senior citizens' per capita income is now higher than the average American's, and their median income has doubled since 1960. They hold title to about 50 percent of all household net worth, and 40 percent of all financial assets. - J.W. IN S.F.
DEAR READERS: Enough already! So next time I see an elderly bag lady, instead of offering her a few bucks for a meal, I may hit her up for a loan.
DEAR ABBY: What is your opinion of a man who wants me to live with him, yet will give me no definite confirmation of a wedding date? I have known him for three years and love him very much. He tells me that he loves me, but he hasn't asked me to marry him. I love him enough to live with him forever, yet I don't want to throw away years of my life waiting for him. He knows how I feel. - K.G.M. IN TEMPE, ARIZ.
DEAR K.G.: This man knows you love him enough to live with him forever. He says he loves you, but he hasn't as yet found a good reason to marry you. Time is precious and irreplaceable. Don't invest any more time in him than you are prepared to waste.
- 1988 Universal Press Syndicate