When I retired 25 years ago, the minimum hourly wage was $4. A gallon of regular gas was $1. Today gas is $4.50 and more when the greedy oil robbers jack up prices. Those stats represent increases of 200 to 300 percent over the past quarter century. They reflect the inflation that continually raises costs for food, transportation, clothing and everything else.
In total during those 25 years, with inflation rates of 5 to 10% a year, my Social Security income increased less than 2% a year. The raise was 1.7% in 2015, and rumors are that it may be 0.0% in 2016. Also, in all those years, my company pension increased a grand total of 10%, about 1% every two years.
What can we elderly do about it? Probably nothing except cut back on spending. Or, maybe all sensible American citizens should politely ask our government and the defense industry to cut back just a wee bit from waging costly wars that never end.
For example, the Pentagon buys AM General Corporation’s Humvees ($75,000 each), and then hands the huge rigs over to Iraqi soldiers. At the first sounds of gunfire, those brave warriors have already bugged out of at least 2,000 of the expensive vehicles. The victorious terrorists now proudly parade the Humvees through captured Iraqi and Syrian city streets.
According to recent reports, in last year’s pull-out, the U.S. left behind a total of $7 billion worth of military supplies just in Afghanistan. Maybe the U.S. should hire used car salesmen: Hey, terrorists! Have we got a Humvee deal for you!
We who served in earlier wars remember all-too-similar idiocies of Uncle Sam arming the enemy. During World War II, we supplied our then-allies Russia and China with billions in armaments. Just five years later, the same equipment was used by North Korean and Chinese “volunteer” troops against American GIs and Marines in Korea.
I can’t help musing how those limitless billions of dollars on lost Humvees and other left-behind equipment could have been better used. Maybe pay for some Wendy’s early bird special dinners for starving seniors struggling on fading retirement incomes.