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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/27/11

Et Tu, AARP!

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Message Eugene Elander
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The truth about the American Association of Retired Persons has come to light, with the AARP admission that a reduction in social security benefits might well be acceptable to the agency.  This once-premier organization for the elderly, whose sole function should be to promote their best interests, has turned into a prime betrayer of the elderly -- and not for the first time, either.  A national boycott of the AARP is more than justified, and urgently needed.

When the present freeze on social security benefits began two years ago, I contacted the AARP, of which I have been a member for several decades, to offer my services as an economist in opposing the erroneous freeze, which was based on the miscalculation of inflation of prices paid by the elderly, which were actually rising considerably faster than the national inflation rate.  After being ignored, I escalated my concerns and my offer up to the new AARP executive director, Barry Rand, who did respond by having his staff send a packet of AARP materials on their support of social security.  Some of these materials were even relevant, but most were self-serving.  It was clear then that the AARP would not defend the best interests of its constituency vigorously.

Now, as the Obama Administration scrambles to find funds to pay for trillion-dollar bailouts of the financial and business sectors, and for several unnecessary and unwise wars, the continuous floating of guarded proposals to reduce social security benefits should be a red flag to the AARP and lead to their repudiation of any and all attempts to balance the Federal budget on the backs of American seniors.  Instead, the AARP has given tacit consent to such unwise actions directed against those who have given their lives to build this nation. 

The truth is that the Social Security trust fund is adequately covered for decades, and any future shortfall could be covered by extending the present FICA tax to all earned (i.e. labor) income.  This would be a fair solution to any future problem with the fund, as has been made clear to the AARP -- and the Federal government -- for many years.

This is far from the first AARP betrayal of our elderly.  The agency backed fatally-flawed prescription drug benefit legislation which had more holes than a piece of Swiss cheese.  When the retirement age for full social security benefits was raised, forcing older workers to work considerably longer while blocking the career path for younger workers, the AARP was strangely silent.  On many other vital issues, the AARP has been lethargic at best, and silent so often that one has to ask (similar to the words of Julius Caesar when his best friend Brutus stabbed him): Et tu, AARP?  This is the most unkind cut of all.

 

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Author's Biography Eugene Elander has been a progressive social and political activist for decades. As an author, he won the Young Poets Award at 16 from the Dayton Poets Guild for his poem, The Vision. He was chosen Poet Laureate of (more...)
 

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