Brookfield, WI – America too often overlooks its senior citizens. Call it age discrimination, disrespect, or just a lack of appreciation, but seniors are a great untapped resource. Democrat Tom Palzewicz, running for Wisconsin’s Fifth Congressional District seat, envisions a new, post-COVID economy that embraces seniors’ knowledge and experience and embraces what they bring to the table.
Seniors are often overlooked as if they no longer know anything because they are retired or have reached a certain age. On the other hand, Palzewicz recognized true expertise when he and his brother set up their business.
“We brought my mom in to be our executive assistant when my brother and I were first starting our business,” Palzewicz recalled with a smile. “She had just retired as a 25 year executive assistant at Charter manufacturing. She’s wonderful. She just came in and did whatever we needed to do.”
“Once again, because we’ve tied jobs to healthcare, it doesn’t allow us to tap into this pool. This is a massive brain drain in our country because when people retire, they take all that knowledge with them, and you have two choices. You can become a consultant. If you’ve made enough money and have access to healthcare, or you just have to go scrape by, and you don’t get to use that knowledge.”
“If we decouple those two things, if we decouple the healthcare market from the labor market, we create tremendous opportunities for seniors to give back. A lot of them just ended up working in nonprofits or volunteering their time in ways that they care about. If you’re a company that provides benefits, it’s very difficult to hire people who are already retired or in their advanced age, because there’s just too much liability that you have to assume. If we change healthcare, there’s this huge amount of experience that could be passed along in a work environment that we’re missing out on.”
Palzewicz believes in examining budget priorities to determine cost-effective programs for healthcare, infrastructure, and national defense.
“Here’s a case in point. Europe invests more of its money into people and infrastructure. Their quality of life is so much better than ours because they have their priorities set from a budgetary standpoint. We continue the two things that Republicans have always run on: higher defense spending and lower taxes. Those two priorities are actually incompatible if you do the math. Look at Fitzgerald’s stuff. It says exactly the same thing. He’s running on more defense spending and lower taxes. This is like a parallel line that slowly will meet at some point and cross over. People either don’t understand it or don’t care.”
“Republicans bring out this magic wand and say, ‘I’m going to lower your taxes and the government’s going to get more money.’ And it never happened not once. People still believe it though. If you said, ‘if we had to cut everything, what’s the one department you would keep?’ they would say, ‘defense spending and give me my taxes back.'”
Palzewicz favors a common-sense approach that allows for every age group to participate in the economy. Retirees, seniors can be an effective, productive element in the American economy, given small adjustments to include them.