Statement Of Jo Ann Evansgardner
Environmental Protection Agency
Aging Initiative Public Listening Session
April 23, 2003
A life is a life. Each of us lives day to day. Who is to be given the godlike power to decree that one person's life is less valuable than another's? Certainly not the Federal Office of Management and Budget.
The arrogance of this Senior Discount is breathtaking. They would arbitrarily rule that my life is worth less because I am 78, and justify it with mumbo-jumbo statistics based on an outdated, undersized opinion poll from a foreign country with a very different class-based social structure.
Even the author of the study, Professor Jones-Lee, says that this proposed use of his data is inappropriate.
Ageism, the devaluing of individuals based on age, is a frightening force. I have felt its sting often. Think how a government regulation such as this will legitimize it.
It will increase the tendency to lump people into a dishonored class when what every human being wants is to be considered as an individual and to be judged for character rather than class.
It is a slippery slope. It opens the door to governmentally sanctioned, arbitrary classifications. The next category to be devalued may be the one you belong to. Or the government could overvalue the members of a category, say young white men.
It is so absurd. Don't the proposers of this regulation know that we elderly are reliable voters? Do they think we will just lie down, roll over and let the government declare that we are worth less?
I love a fight. This a big one, perhaps the biggest of my life and I will fight it, if necessary, to the end of my so-called worth less days.
And so will my age peers. Henry Adams observed about 150 years ago,"Young men have a passion for regarding their elders as senile." And the motive may well be the same today as it was then --- to usurp power and profit monetarily thereby.
Devalue us, and devalue wisdom. Devalue us, and devalue society's best impulses. Devalue us, and betray yourselves. When you're 70 you'll understand -- if you are lucky enough to reach that age.