In the past week, a professional organization and a club to which I belong have both announced that they will no longer offer discounted rates to members who are senior citizens. Good on them.

Many senior discounts have their origin in an era when low incomes were concentrated among the elderly. In Western Europe and the United States, that world is gone. Whether you look at poverty rates or unemployment data, there is no question who is getting crushed economically these days: Young adults and children.

If you are a senior citizen and you live in poverty, then God bless you. But if you are a senior citizen who is doing well, and you eat in a restaurant where young adults (some of them parents) receive poor wages and benefits in exchange for working their tails off to serve you, do the right thing and add your senior discount to the tip.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-Based Community]

Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is a professor of psychiatry at Stanford University. He served as a senior policy advisor at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy from 2009 to 2010.