While the AARP runs TV ads threatening politicians that 50 million seniors will get even on election day if they touch Social Security or Medicare, there are a few of us who see it differently. Take this comment from a blog post of mine that I fully agree with.
Keep up the good work. Some of us older folks who have been on “senior wefare” enjoying the unwarranted payments from Medicare and Social Security look in horror at the bills to be paid by our kids and grandkids. AARP, the largest special interest group in the country, has just sent out a request to contact our representatives to preserve our Social Security and Medicare benefits. It seems as if seniors should not have to share in the effort to reduce our national debt.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
From the AARP website:
AARP’s new national television ad tells lawmakers to cut waste and tax loopholes, not Social Security and Medicare. It urges lawmakers not to treat seniors like line items in a budget and lets them know that 50 million seniors are counting on them to protect their benefits.
Cuts to Medicare and Social Security benefits could:
dramatically increase health care costs for seniors and future retirees.
threaten seniors’ access to doctors and hospitals.
reduce the benefit checks seniors rely on to pay their bills.
Watch the latest advocacy video from AARP telling lawmakers that “before you even think” about cutting Medicare or Social Security, remember the 50 million seniors who have earned their benefits. Seniors are putting Washington on notice that they will speak out as long as Medicare and Social Security benefits are threatened .
Those of us who paid our Social Security taxes for decades must realize that those taxes paid the benefits of Social Security recipients during those decades and the surplus purchased special treasury bonds. Today the incoming taxes are insufficient to pay our benefits and those payments are supplemented by interest on bonds…there is no surplus to purchase bonds for our children.
Medicare is funded by a combination of payroll taxes, general revenue and current premiums. We may count on these benefits because we assume they will always be there, but we have been and are paying only a fraction of the cost.
Consider this from Bloomberg.com
“In 1959, seniors were the poorest demographic cohort, with 35 percent living in poverty, compared with 27 percent of children in poor families. In 2010, only 9 percent of people age 65 and older were poor, while 22 percent of those under 18 were living in poverty, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
The trend coincides with a generational gap in federal spending. In 2008, per capita federal spending on those 19 and younger was $3,660, compared with $23,900 for those 65 and older, according to a report by the Urban Institute and Brookings in Washington.”
Have we “earned” our benefits any more than younger people have earned the right to support their families and save for their futures? Have we earned these benefits so that we have a right to take more from future generations?
The AARP wants to cut waste and loopholes, so does everyone else. Except even if that is done, less spending and more revenue is needed for many areas of the federal budget, not just Social Security and Medicare although those two items equal more than forty percent of federal spending.
We seniors have a right to be treated fairly along with all other Americans. We do not have a right to be protected as a special class. We do not have a right to have our benefits protected to the detriment of others.
Nobody is talking about reducing benefits for existing beneficiaries, or reducing benefit checks. What has to be done is to reduce the future long-term liability of these programs and that means changing the growth of future benefits and asking future generations to pay more for these generous benefits. It may also mean that us seniors who no longer pay Social Security or Medicare taxes will have to give up some of our health care flexibility and pay a bit more for services. Why should it be otherwise for the common good?
Tell the AARP to go sell insurance.
- The debt fallout: How Social Security went ‘cash negative’ earlier than expected – The Washington Post (mbcalyn.com)
- Concord Coalition Slams AARP for Abandoning “Responsible Leadership” (policystudentsforfiscalsustainability.wordpress.com)
- The AARP is at it again, don’t be mislead (quinnscommentary.com)