Freeloader Hater Kathy Posner

I wrote a blog called “Seniors as Freddy the Freeloaders,” which dealt with the free fares that senior citizens receive from the CTA. (Ha! That will be going away soon!) I ended the blog with, “Just because one turns 65 years of age does not mean they should be entitled to free CTA fares for the rest of their days. They did nothing to earn it.” Now seniors are waving their golf clubs in protest that their discounted golfing fees are being raised $1 per round at the six park district courses, which are privately managed. The price has increased from $9 to $10; I guess we will have to hold a benefit for the seniors! They should be happy they have the time to play golf during the day. Everyone else is out working earning a living! Just for comparison-- at the other end of the spectrum-- green fees at Pebble Beach in California are $495 per round. If you are a guest of the hotel, that includes a cart. Non-senior golfers will pay between $16 to $22 per round depending on location. Guess what? Seniors also get to park for free at the Marovitz and South Shore courses on the lakefront, while “young” motorists will pay about $1 an hour starting this year for one of the 4,000 newly metered spots located by Lake Michigan. Why should seniors receive discounts? Why are they members of a “special class” of people? Does being older necessarily mean that you are poorer? Why does adding years to your life mean that your prices should be lower then other people’s for the same exact thing? Young people have less money since they could not have saved anything yet. Giving older people discounts is as unfair as rich celebrities who get SWAG bags at award ceremonies and their meals comped in restaurants. The website allows seniors to access information on more than 150,000 age-related discounts. Can you imagine if businesses advertised that only blue-eyed people got a price cut? Or that only Italians could get something at a cheaper price? All the various local and national Commissions on Human Relations would be up in arms holding protests about discrimination. How do the seniors get away with it? What sparked my maybe somewhat misguided outrage was a story in the Sun Times about 76 year-old Earl Ramsden who has been golfing for more than 50 years at the Marovitz Course and is upset about the $1 price hike. He was quoted in the paper as saying, "The fact is the Chicago parks were intended for the public -- for people who don't have money," said Ramsden, a retired jewelry salesman who has cut his golfing days from seven to four. "This should all be free to the people. I mean, how many people can't afford to go anywhere?" he said, referring to a recession that has kept people close to home during the summer months.” First,Ramsden has been golfing for 50 years at a public course that I as a taxpayer am forced to support but do not use. I subsidize his golf fees; he should be satisfied with that. Second, the man had been golfing seven days a week! How tough can his life be if he could golf seven days a week? Seven days of golf at $9/day means he was accustomed to spending $63/week. Why did he have to cut back to four days a week when he could golf six days at the new $10 price and spend $60? That is still less then he spent weekly last year. So what is the real reason that he has cut back to four days a week? The Sun Times story missed the mark in not questioning Ramsden more closely and being more methodical in the analysis of why he had to cut back on his golf outings. Where are the investigative journalists when you really need them?

Editors Extra: I agree with Kathy Posner on this one. I remember years ago when I was walking through the beautiful public golf course in Glen Cove Long Island where I lived. Everyone came after me and told me I could not be walking through the golf course. I was outraged. I payed taxes for a golf course that I never got to use because I think the game is outright stupid. I felt I had the right to walk through something that I pay for. The course was beautiful and I have these golfers running after me and telling me to get off the course. If golfers want to golf, that is fine, but make them pay for the upkeep and the privilege and not the tax payers who do not even use the course. I do not expect them to pay for my bar tab, even know they do not drink.

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