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Commentary

Why I don’t need a senior discount

Marketplace Contributor Feb 15, 2013
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Commentary

Why I don’t need a senior discount

Marketplace Contributor Feb 15, 2013
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Reputable economists are predicting that Baby Boomers will bankrupt Social Security and Medicare. And millennials are none too pleased by this prospect. Some have even taken to calling us parasites and leeches.

At the risk of offending my fellow Boomers, I propose that we give up our senior discounts. It seems like the least we can do. After all, every time I get an old age price break, a Gen Y-er somewhere is subsidizing me.

As a 57 year old, I qualify to purchase a host of goods and services at prices 10-20 percent lower than my under-50 friends. I’ve racked my lawyer brain, but can’t come up with any justification for this “youngster tax.” While this seems like a form of reverse-age discrimination, it’s not illegal. That’s because those laws only apply to employers.

These discounts have been around since the 1950s and were instigated by AARP. They now pervade almost every industry-from restaurants to hotels to clothing stores to the national parks.

Perhaps there was some justification for giving oldsters a break 60 years ago, when Social Security benefits were stingy, people retired at 65, and expired soon thereafter. But, things have changed. Today people over 65 are less likely than younger people to live below the poverty line. Not only that, they have the highest net wealth of any age group.

These discounts are now absurd. If I live to 100 I’ll be entitled to a senior discount for half of my life. I, like a lot of Boomers, don’t need the price break. A recent college graduate who can’t get a job is more deserving.

I’m appealing to my generation — why not be a little magnanimous and give up your senior discounts? If nothing else, it might buy you some good will with your kids.

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