Notch Babies Redux

A recent column by Adon Taft in Hernando Today labeled my column on Notch Babies as "nonsense".

Nonsense Indeed!  For several years now, the self-appointed experts and apologists for the Social Security system and the AARP have chosen to look at only their selected statistics and ignore the simple fact that a  goodly number of older citizens have been arbitrarily singled out to receive less benefits than those younger and older than they are.

No matter what spin you put on it, the fact is, people born between 1917 and 1921, are getting less social security money than those born a year before or a year after that. We don't "Claim to be" Notch Babies, we were designated as such in 1972 by legislation passed by congress and confirmed as such in 1977.

According to Social Security Administration reports, in 1989 there were 12.3 million americans in the notch category.  Sadly, as Taft reports, by 1991 the number has been reduced to 2.5 million as the older retirees died. I am sure that by the time this year's census is analysed, the number will be further reduced. It is inevitable that the monetary discrimination against Notch babies will end when the last survivor takes his or her final breath.

Semantics, statistics, and denials, will not override the one basic fact about notch babies: they are receiving less social security benefits than people born before and after them. It all started with a mistake, and was compounded by another mistake five years later.

Consequently, most notch babies, according to Taft, "received less in benefits than most of those born before 1917". Taft went on to say that this was all according to law, and will not be changed whether I or other notch babies think it is unfair or not.

The AARP, which formerly was supportive of notch babies, withdrew it's support at about the same time that AARP membership increased by taking in those 50 years old. Legislatures submitted bills correcting the situation, but did not receive much support because the Social Security situation seemed on the verge of bankruptcy.

I, and other notch babies think it is about time, with surpluses showing up in government funds,  for a fair look at notch babies and do something to remove the inequities that exist for them. It seems that all agree that notch babies are getting less money than they would have if the mistakes if 1972 and 1976 had not happened.

It is hard to imagine why people like Taft refuse to admit that an inequity exists and are so vehement in attacking notch babies. The "notch" term was not invented by us, and most of us never knew we were notch babies until comparisons were made and graphs were drawn. Those of us who are veterans do not like to be told by anyone that we should shut up and not question what has happened to us.

We don't believe that two wrongs can make a right. We feel that no amount of rhetoric will change the simple fact that we were and are being short changed. Sweeping a problem under the rug of bureaucracy is easy to do, and seems to be the solution that Taft proposes. I don't agree.

Most of us notch babies are not members of any organized group, but feel that people telling us to be quiet and accept what the government has done is not the way to go. While we are still alive, we will continue to protest in hopes that reasonable minds will admit to the facts and propose a solution.

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