I love senior discounts

Jeff vonKaenel

I love getting discounts. Since my 60th birthday, I've been getting more and more discounts. Cheaper meals, cheaper tickets and lower-priced motels. This age-induced bonanza increases every year until the day (God willing) that I reach 65. Then, I will have arrived in discount heaven.

Why? I can understand why restaurants have discounts for seniors. We eat smaller portions. But why should movies and motels have lower prices? We still take up the same amount of space. Perhaps seniors used to get discounts because they were poor? That’s not really the case today. Since 1965, the poverty rate for seniors has dropped from 35 percent to 10 percent. Thank you, Social Security. And due to Proposition 13, most seniors pay a tiny fraction of the property taxes paid by our younger neighbors, while we are still entitled to all the same services.

Maybe senior discounts show respect and appreciation for what we have done over our lifetimes. In that case, we should be embarrassed. While I salute my parents’ generation—sometimes called “The Greatest Generation” for helping win World War II, building the world’s strongest economy and expanding the middle class—my generation didn’t do so well. We took drugs. We piled up debt. We helped create global warming. We elected George W. Bush. And I think we should take some blame for Dr. Phil.

In fairness, we did have some great music.

But who really deserves a discount?

Students. When I went to UC Santa Barbara in 1969, tuition cost almost nothing. Nowadays, students have to take out loans that total the GDP of a third-world nation in order to graduate. We should give them two bucks off a movie ticket.

Single moms. More than four out of every 10 single moms are living on incomes under the poverty rate. And we baby boomers are depending upon those single moms to raise the kids who will pay into the Social Security system, to say nothing about supplying us with nursing-home aides.

The military should get in for free.

And to pay for these new discounts, it seems only fair that certain people should have to contribute a bit more. I think that we baby boomers should throw in a couple of extra bucks to help pay for the single moms. Deadbeat dads should donate at least one extra picture of Lincoln. And those unpatriotic individuals who are reaping the benefits of American infrastructure while claiming an overseas address to escape taxes should pony up at least $500 for their movie ticket. Crooked hedge funders should not be allowed into the movie theater at all.

Should we petition Sacramento’s movie theaters and start a nationwide discount-reform movement? Drop me a line at jeffv@newsreview.com, and let me know what you think.

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About the Author

Jeff vonKaenel
Jeff vonKaenel is the president, CEO and majority owner of the News & Review newspapers in Sacramento, Chico and Reno.