Food, heat or medicine? Would you ever want to have to choose? Unfortunately, that’s the position newly proposed EPA regulations will put many of seniors in according to a report from the 60 Plus Association.
In the report being released today, the proposed regulations would have a huge impact on energy costs and will disproportionately impact seniors, 1 in 7 of whom the Kaiser Family Foundation says are now living in poverty.
Energy, like food and housing, is an indispensable necessity of life. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, electricity prices have jumped more than 6 percent in the Mid-Atlantic States last year alone. Yet, instead of alleviating the heavy financial burden of energy prices for seniors, President Obama is exacerbating the problem. He is proposing to reduce our nation's carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030, and the impact would be devastating for our nation’s seniors.
The president’s Clean Power Plan directly goes after coal, which generates about 41 percent of the nation’s electricity and is our most affordable and abundant source of power. Our report found that current and pending EPA regulations will increase the price of electricity in America at rates above the general rate of inflation, by as much as 20 percent in some states, and shut down numerous traditional plants. Decreasing the use of coal in favor of alternative energy sources would increase the heavy financial burden of electricity costs for seniors.
In the United States there are 27 million households aged 65 or older. Among those households, 63 percent are living with a gross income of less than $50,000 annually. That means the majority of our nation’s seniors are living on fixed incomes. For many of them, their primary source of income is social security.
For those living on fixed incomes, seniors and non-seniors alike, any increase in household costs is hard to absorb, and electricity represent 61 percent of total residential bills for seniors. I’ve met thousands of seniors as I travel across the country and hear horror stories all the time of those being forced to make difficult choices. That’s not a position we should force upon our golden generation.
As President Obama moves forward with costly regulations, his policies could also end up hurting him politically. Recent polling conducted in eight states by the 60 Plus Association found that over 90 percent of seniors are planning to vote this November. With seniors representing such a large portion of this year’s electorate with so much at stake, it is dangerous to alienate such a large voting bloc.
Seniors are motivated and are very concerned about the added burdens being placed on them. Our polling found that an average of 72 percent of seniors say they are living on fixed incomes with 73 percent concerned about the costs associated with new power plant regulations. Additionally, an average of 61 percent want Congress to focus on reducing energy prices rather than new regulations. That’s a pretty clear message from seniors that President Obama is currently ignoring.
The 60 Plus Association has the support of 7.2 million seniors nationally. We are deeply concerned about their wellbeing and we have an obligation to highlight policies that will negatively impact them. The harsh reality is that seniors are going to bear the brunt of President Obama’s newest EPA proposal.
As the Chairman of the 60 Plus Association, I have and will continue to encourage our supporters to stand up against President Obama’s anti-senior policies. America’s seniors deserve energy policies that foster economic growth, increase energy security and keep costs low. It is time for President Obama to start listening.