Skip to comments.AARP's political agenda is not in the best interests of seniors
Posted on 08/22/2003 3:54:30 AM PDT by kattracks
HEARING William D. Novelli lecture Americas senior citizens about whats good for them is like attending a Martha Stewart speech on situational ethics.
The retired public relations executive and anti-tobacco crusader is part of a small coterie of liberal-left activists that have taken over the 35-million member American Association of Retired Persons aka AARP and are speeding it along the path to social activism.
Virtually all Americans with a mailing address get a sales pitch from AARP shortly before they turn 50. For $12.50 a year, it offers such great benefits as discounts on car rentals, lodging and cruises. Members also get a monthly magazine with articles about active, upbeat seniors and stuffed with ads about geriatric products.
In a recent op-ed in the conservative Washington Times, Novelli suggested somewhat outlandishly that AARP has a mandate from its 35 million members to represent their political wishes on Capitol Hill. Most card-carrying AARP members would be surprised to learn that the $12.50 they send to Washington each year for their AARP membership dues is apparently a tacit endorsement of AARPs social activist agenda, and its lobbying campaign on behalf of an American welfare state.
Like roughly 80 percent of his members, Novelli is relatively well-heeled as he heads into his golden years. Perhaps he is even better off than most he earns more than $600,000 a year in salary and fringes, and among those fringes is a generous employer-provided prescription drug benefit.
Nonetheless, AARP has been spending millions of dollars of its huge budget pushing to provide universal Medicare prescription drug benefits for all seniors. Its equally amazing that a robustly free-market organization that peddles everything from insurance to polyester stretch pants is so opposed to giving seniors a real choice among private sector health care plans. After all, thats what all federal employees already enjoy and will continue to enjoy thanks to a special exemption by Congress.
Most of Americas 50 million senior citizens have lived independent lives and theyre damn proud of it. Theyve worked their tails off, gone to war when necessary, provided for their children and stashed money away for their retirement years.
Theyre also more compassionate than any other comparable group in human history. They volunteer hundreds of millions of hours each year helping others. They contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to charities. And they dont mind paying taxes for government programs that actually help those who are temporarily down on their luck or who never got a fair shake in life.
But above that, they dont want to stick their sons and daughters or their grandchildren with a spending tab that will make them indentured servants to the federal government for most of their working lives. Novelli never mentions the price tag of federal prescription drug reform to his membership, and the economic impact it will have on future generations.
Medicare already faces an imbalance exceeding $36 trillion thats trillion with a capital T, by the way. The Senate prescription drug bill, which AARP prefers, will add an unfunded liability of $12 trillion to that, according to a recent analysis by Jagadeesh Gokhale, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and Kent Smetters, an assistant professor of insurance and risk management at the University of Pennsylvanias Wharton School.
By 2020, Medicares current claims on income taxes even without a new prescription drug benefit will double to 14 percent from the current 7 percent. The proposed $400-billion drug benefit will boost that percentage to nearly 20 percent, which means a huge increase in marginal tax rates for middle-income Americans.
Few of AARPs current 35.5 million members signed up to join a political organization dedicated to social change especially social change that so overwhelmingly is not in the interest of most of them.
Ask any AARP card-carrying senior citizen what he likes best about the benefits of membership, and he will respond with a list of the discounts and other financial savings that the lobbying group offers. Not a one will say, I love their attempts at social engineering!
Theres probably no way to dissuade Novelli and the well-paid AARP hierarchy from pursuing their present course toward a nationalized health care system. That being said, it may well be time for AARP members who dont want to go that route to simply jump off the train by sending back their membership cards.
If enough of them do, maybe we can avoid the coming train wreck. And Americas senior citizens can save their children and grandchildren from cleaning up the mess.
Jack Strayer is president of Jack Strayer & Associates, a consumer-oriented health care consulting firm. Readers may write him at 509 N. Patrick St., Alexandria, VA 22314.
It is moral treason to financially support those who would destroy you.
Nothing more than most any business would give seniors without an AARP membership.
It really doesn't. You're part of the claim of representing however many millions of Seniors.
I won't join:
1. After years of forced membership in teachers unions I almost never agreed with that never asked my opinion, it's great to be able to say "no" to these commies who never ask their members opinion.
2. I was really, really irritated when I hit 50 and my mail box constantly had junk from them that advertised on the envelope that I was old enough to join AARP.
I've wondered where they could get such a complete list of those who reach 50 unless it was a government agency. Hmmm...
I did want input as to thoughts on AARP, but you're fringe loony.
JoeSixPack1: I did want input as to thoughts on AARP, but you're fringe loony.
JSP1: Why is it "looney" to stand up for your beliefs? If you're not willing to spend a few extra bucks on a hotel room instead of contributing to an organization that is devoted to taking away your freedom and rights, now just where will you be able to go in the future, anyway? And, as someone on the thread wrote, there are discounts at many places for all seniors. I'd rather not patronize a place that would charge less for AARP members, anyway.
My problem with them is the medical. They are part of the agenda that would take away my access to many natural alternatives to pharmacuticals. How? A nationalized health care system with forced membership will eventually overtake choice with more restrictions.
Besides that, it never was any of their business to know when I reached a certain age. Nobody had permission to tell them that.
You have to look at the total picture. Is the damage the AARP does to your freedom and your future worth that small financial savings?
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.