Sunday, March 18, 2012

AARP Secretly Backs Cuts in Social Security and Medicare

AARP has been known for stabbing senior citizens in the back for profit, now they're at it again.

The senior citizens lobby AARP will kick off a national Social Security and Medicare "listening tour" called "You’ve Earned a Say and We’re Listening." The influential lobbying organization promises to offer members a chance to speak out on the simmering debate over the future of Social Security and Medicare.

The outreach is part of the AARP's propaganda campaign to restore the trust it lost during last year's spending debate, when a top AARP official told the Wall Street Journal the organization was open to cuts to the entitlement programs.

AARP is not an insurer and does not pay insurance claims. Instead, AARP allows its name to be used by insurance companies in the sale of insurance products, for which it is paid a commission like an insurance agent. John Rother, AARP's former chief lobbyist, said the single-payer model for healthcare would “disrupt the system that is currently in place” and “would require a very significant tax increase.”

So AARP agrees with big insurances companies and the Republicans.

In an editorial column within the Los Angeles Times, critic Dale Van Atta wrote that AARP does unauthorized lobbying for its membership, and lobbies against the best interests of its membership. Van Atta says that by lobbying in favor of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act (which prohibits the Federal government from negotiating discounts with drug companies), AARP leaders betrayed the membership.

According to an Annenberg Public Policy Center report, critics have said AARP had a conflict of interest in supporting the Act, because AARP “derives income from the sale of health and life insurance policies,” by licensing its brand to insurance dealers and would benefit financially from passage of the legislation.

AARP is also declined to join a coalition of about 300 unions, women's groups and liberal advocacy organizations created to fight Social Security benefit cuts.

The Huffington Post obtained an AARP invitation to a secret meeting be held on March 27 that indicates that the AARP is still very much interested in a deal that puts Social Security and Medicare cuts on the table. This closed door meeting will be heavily stacked with "powerful Washington establishment figures who are on record favoring cuts to Social Security and Medicare."

Next week Republican leader Paul Ryan will unveil his cut-Social-Security-and-Medicare budget plan.

In stark contrast, the AFL-CIO just demonstrated real leadership by calling for Social Security benefits to be "increased across the board, while citing Social Security as a "key solution to our retirement crisis."

Last year AARP faced a massive backlash when its board dropped its opposition to cutting Social Security and its policy director publicly signaled a willingness to consider benefit cuts – and for a while, they backed off. After the public outcry, AARP backtracked and claimed it did not in fact support cutting Social Security. But now it looks like AARP is at it again, and this time backtracking will not be good enough.

Ironically, while the CEO of AARP is set to hold a private meeting with people who want to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits, they've also launched their national Social Security and Medicare "listening tour" called "You’ve Earned a Say and We’re Listening."

So if there's ever a time to speak out to AARP, it's now. SIGN THE PETITION: Tell AARP, don't pander to the insiders. Demand higher benefits for seniors.

The wealthiest nation in the world can certainly afford a decent retirement for those who have contributed to building this nation throughout their lives.

We should also remove the CAP on Social Security taxes for those earning over $110,000 a year in "regular wages". Everyone else pay this tax on 100% of their earnings, so why doesn't the top 1% have to? As it is now, the top 1% pays NEITHER Social Security taxes nor Medicare taxes on ANY of their capital gains income. And capital gains is how the top 1% makes most their money...stocks, bonds, dividends, (etc.), because they're not paid an hourly wage like most of us are.

Solution: Remove "the cap" on the very rich to save Social Security so we won't have to raise the age for retirement, because it's the rich that live longer, not necessarily those who have broken their backs and worked their fingers to the bone all their lives. And don't cut benefits to the elderly, they can barely survive on what they have now.

* Why the rich live longer:

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