Baby boomers aren't babies anymore. The oldest among them are already starting to retire, and the crest of this demographic tidal wave won't break for many years.
That's why the results of our latest survey are both a newsmaking and a political bombshell. We asked seniors, "Have you ever been a victim of what might be termed a consumer scam?"
Ten percent said "yes." That's one out of every 10 seniors who responded to our poll.
The InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion survey was conducted for the Elder Consumer Protection Program at the Stetson University College of Law in St. Petersburg, Fla. The poll was conducted in July among 600 adults aged 65 and over across the nation. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.
The problem of seniors getting hoodwinked by criminals is prominent among the concerns of the over-65 crowd, but it's by no means their only one. Their many and growing issues are going to be an enduring challenge for America's policymakers for years to come.
The needs of seniors used to be predominantly the domain of the New Deal/Great Society Democrats in Congress. Now, they are the worry of even the most self-serving, indifferent politician. Many of them have no choice but to work for senior interests if they want to stay in office. That's the efficiency of our political system at work.
This perpetual political problem is compounded by the otherwise happy fact that seniors are living longer and better than ever before. But not without costs. Medical costs. Retirement costs. And yes, political costs.
And seniors don't just want things. More times than not, they need them. Consequently, elected officials need the seniors.
Given this sobering information about seniors and consumer fraud, it's safe to presume that as America continues to "turn gray," criminal bank accounts will continue to "turn green" unless decisive action is taken.
Such action won't be easy. Seniors report being the victim of a wide variety of devious misdeeds, including (in descending order of frequency) home improvement scams, telemarketing scams, sales schemes, lottery/big money scams, work-at-home scams and others.
Unfortunately, the common thread among the prospective solutions for what ails our seniors is money. As often as not, it's tax money. And as the retired class demands government proceeds in ever-greater amounts, the nation's less populated demographic of young people may be forced to contribute a bigger and bigger portion of their salaries to subsidize their elders through excessive taxation. In years to come, class warfare may be replaced by generational warfare.
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