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Debunking 'The Myth Of The Greedy Geezer'

This article is more than 7 years old.

You know the greedy geezer, don't you? That resource-sucking, Social Security-inflating senior who's being blamed by some these days for the federal budget deficit now and in years to come, depriving today's children of their rightful legacy?

Well, in a sweeping piece in the Columbia Journalism Review, health care reporter Trudy Lieberman explodes the idea that the Social Security debate should be framed as a conflict between old and young.  She begins:

A meme that has been bubbling up in the media for months goes something like this: The elderly have it too good. They claim too much of the country’s financial resources and will eat their children’s—and grandchildren’s—breakfast, lunch, and dinner unless Social Security and Medicare are cut. The country can no longer afford to give seniors so much.

Trudy Lieberman
Trudy Lieberman

In fact, Trudy argues, this false generational conflict draws attention away from what may be the true conflict around Social Security: Between the richest 1 percent and the rest of us. Listen to her discuss the issue by clicking the play arrow on the sound file above, and read her full article here.

This program aired on March 20, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.

Carey Goldberg Twitter Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth section.


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