Public relations and the Golden Buckeye

Last night presented me with one of those moments of reflection. Should I – or shouldn’t I?

It’s overall a good thing from a public relations and public policy perspective that the state of Ohio provides people age 60 and over with a Golden Buckeye Card. The card provides discounts at a host of participating business and also on prescription drugs. That’s great.

And there are a lot of us carrying around the Golden Buckeye Card these days. According to the Ohio Department of Aging, more than 17 percent of people living in Ohio are at least age 60. That’s out of a total population of about 11.4 million. And I’m sure the discounts provided by the Golden Buckeye program are important and valuable to many people.

Truthfully, I’m not one of them. And fortunately I don’t need the discounts on movies and or anything else offered to us seniors. I’ll also admit that I’m not thrilled about advancing through the queue with money in one hand and the Golden Buckeye Card in the other.

I’m sure I’ll get past that in another decade or two. But not last night. We went to see Juno, which was great. But certainly not the movie that you want to buy tickets for as the teenage cashier yells, “Hey dude. You really 60?” So I’m a buck poorer today.

But then this morning during my run I had another thought. Why doesn’t the state of Ohio give a Golden Buckeye Card to everyone? Give it to children without health care. Give it to low-income families who are struggling in an economy that appears headed for recession. Give it to those who are losing their homes because of the sub-prime mortgage disaster. There are plenty of Ohioans who could use the discounts. More than 11 percent were living below poverty levels in 2004. I doubt the situation has improved any, if at all, today.

I’ll gladly give up my card if state officials give one to someone who really needs it. Now about Social Security – well, that’s a different matter. I’m gonna need that.


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