FGA Testifies Before U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging
- BY Sarah Coffey
Senator Rick Scott (FL), member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Aging, gathered several experts to talk about inflation and its effects on older Americans in a field hearing in The Villages, Florida.
FGA’s own Data and Analytics Director, Hayden Dublois, testified on the key causes of inflation, and key solutions that could relieve the strain of inflation on older Americans.
Click here to watch Senator Scott’s full committee meeting and view Hayden’s testimony below.
Inflation is especially detrimental for seniors
Inflation has hit many Americans hard—but for seniors living on a fixed income, it’s a one-two punch. On average, those over age 65 are spending nearly 13 percent more on basic cost-of-living purchases. And seniors with retirement savings have also seen their investments dwindle thanks to upheaval in the markets.
“[Inflation is] a hidden tax on seniors across the country.” – Hayden Dublois
In Florida—which has a significant population of seniors—inflation is costing families an additional $794 per month. Additionally, Hayden pointed out how seniors have seen a price increase of nearly 29 percent on transportation costs alone since January of 2021. For individuals who are dependent on ever-dwindling Social Security benefits (that are hardly keeping pace with the rate of inflation) and must live on a fixed income, inflation is having a devastating impact.
Three key causes of inflation
Hayden presented three main drivers of inflation…
One is the nation’s labor shortage driving up the costs of everyday goods and services. There are more than three million workers missing from the workforce compared to pre-pandemic workforce participation levels. The federal government has expanded benefits for able-bodied adults without dependents (while suspending work requirements), and with stacked benefits, some Americans can simply make more money staying home than they can working.
Another key cause of inflation is outrageous government spending. The poorly named Inflation Reduction Act’s excessive spending will only make the crisis worse, and Sen. Scott was particularly intrigued when Hayden noted that the federal budget deficit could be all but erased if only spending were rolled back to pre-pandemic levels.
“If we rolled back spending to pre-pandemic levels, the federal budget deficit would be effectively eliminated.”
A third driver of inflation is the Biden administration’s consistent undermining of American energy. Hayden explained why depending on foreign sources of oil and gas has caused utility and gas prices to skyrocket and pointed out the numerous ways the White House has gone out of its way to stifle the domestic energy industry through canceling the Keystone Pipeline, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria, and rejecting drilling permits on federal lands.
Hayden presented FGA’s policy solutions aimed at addressing runaway inflation:
- To resolve the labor shortage and drive consumer costs down, get Americans back to work: End the federal public health emergency or at least untie it from welfare expansions. Implement universal work requirements to encourage able-bodied adults to reenter the workforce.
- To reduce energy costs, reverse the Biden administration’s decisions that have undermined domestic energy production.
- To rein in government spending, implement the REINS Act—which would require legislators to approve costly regulations before they take effect.
There are solutions that would significantly ease the burden of inflation upon Americans, especially seniors who have been hit hardest. FGA is grateful to Sen. Scott for the opportunity to have this important discussion and share our research and proven policy solutions.