The elderly now represent 10 percent of the population of the United States, cast more than 15 percent of the vote and are growing fast enough to command major political attention. No doubt these facts account for the emphasis on action instead of rhetoric at the current White House Conference on Aging, the second of its kind. Arthur S. Flemming, its chairman, wants the emphasis to fall on the older citizen’s “inadequacy of income”—a mild phrase, considering that one fourth of all Americans over 65 are forced to live on a poverty-level income, as defined by the Department of Labor. Many more must make do on fixed incomes little above that level while wrestling with inflationary prices, rising property taxes, wretched transportation systems and even nursing homes that it would take a Dickens to excoriate adequately.