The AARP and its Rivals on Social Security

The AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization for people age 50 and over dedicated to enhancing quality of life for all as we age. It has approximately 38 million members. According to the AARP:

Social Security was created more than 75 years ago to ensure that seniors would have a steady and guaranteed source of income when they retired.  In all those years,  it has never missed paying Americans the benefits they’ve earned.  Today Social Security can pay full benefits for approximately 20 more years.  After that, Social Security will still be able to pay about 75 percent of promised benefits, even if no changes are made.  With responsible solutions, we can keep the promise to today’s seniors and strengthen Social Security of future generations.   

The AARP says it is fighting to take the conversation about Social Security out of the budget debate in Washington so we can find responsible solutions that keep the promise to today’s seniors and future generations.

There are several rival senior organizations vying for our support.  Let’s see what they say.

AMAC — AMAC says it is the senior organization for conservative Americans aged 50 plus.

Social Security is in trouble and the American people have been misled. The fact is that Social Security is not secure until 2036, and Social Security (as we know it) will not be there for our children. 

AMAC’s solution: raise the retirement age, cap cost of living increases.

American Seniors Association — American Seniors Association claims to be the fastest growing seniors’ advocacy in the nation and an emerging conservative voice on the national issues that impact seniors. Their view:

America’s workers and rising seniors must be given the ability to build retirement security through incentivized, voluntary, self-funded retirement accounts that provide Americans with choices, flexibility and security.

Their partners in this: Americans for Tax Reform, Americans for Prosperity, The Heritage Foundation, National Rifle Association.

Generation America — Generation America seeks to “give conservative Americans (Republican, Libertarian, Tea Party and other like-minded individuals) a membership organization that gives them peace of mind through advocacy in Washington, along with superior member benefits that contribute to member safety, security and well-being.”

We believe Social Security needs to live up to its promise that it made to older Americans who have paid into the system; they also need cost of living increases. At the same time, we know that Social Security is approaching insolvency and will not be able to live up to its future commitments. It needs to be reformed for future generations and it needs to be reformed now.

60 Plus — 60 Plus claims to be a “non-partisan seniors advocacy group with a free enterprise, less government, less taxes approach to seniors issues.”  60 Plus asserts that President Obama

performed shenanigans with the payroll tax that has depleted the Social Security Trust fund, and has abjectly refused to do anything about the looming crisis with entitlements that will lead to Medicare and Social Security going bust.  Because of the policies of this President, there are very few seniors not named Warren Buffett who can say they are better off now than they were four years ago.

In his first term, Rep. Reed was recognized by 60 Plus for his efforts to “save Social Security.”  In Big Flats on June 8 Tom said the SS disability fund is projected to run out of money in 2016, Social Security and Medicare are unsustainable, and the only possible solution is to cut benefits for future retirees. But he would grandfather those over 55 today.  He said “age indexing” isn’t enough, other savings are needed.

Tom’s argument begs the question: he says Social Security will soon run out of money after which it will be defunct.  The only way to save it is to cut benefits: if seniors want to keep their benefits, they must agree to short change their children and grandchildren.  So what is the one thing we must do to save Social Security?  All together now: Cut benefits.

As the AARP asserts, Social Security is vital to Seniors well being.  It should be preserved and strengthened, not cut.  There are many practical ways this can be done.

Delaying retirement isn’t a good answer. Too many seniors working longer than they wish prevents younger workers from finding jobs.  Further, working past 65 may be an option for some, but not all.  Workers with jobs that require strength and stamina may not be able to do that.

Cutting benefits isn’t a good answer either.  Social Security is intended to provide income for a dignified retirement.  Especially for low income workers, benefits are too low today to achieve that goal.  Cutting the rate of growth is wrong for the same reason: after a time benefits will become too low to meet the need.


About whungerford

* Contributor at where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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3 Responses to The AARP and its Rivals on Social Security

  1. Deb Meeker says:

    I was hoping your opinion was at the end of this piece on what would be a feasible fix? What would be so wrong with these two ideas: 1) Stop the cap on SS taxes, so all who work pay on every dollar for their working life ( I know there was an issue with those who receive pay “under the table”, who would not be paying in at all, but then they also are not receiving benefits on earnings either). 2) reapportion corporate welfare back into the economy for job creation in this country (infrastructure, road and bridges, railways, green energy) which would also improve the influx of SS accruals.


  2. whungerford says:

    Deb, I like your ideas which have been discussed again and again. They are unlikely to be adopted as long as the ‘party of the rich’ retains political power. Tom Reed starts with the wrong premise: that we can only afford a little social security if any. The right answer is that all developed nations provide for senior’s welfare because it is right and important to do so. Everyone benefits when seniors needn’t struggle with poverty.


  3. Deb Meeker says:

    Agreed William.


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