Lucky for my blood pressure that I don’t watch much TV. I get furious every time I see one of AARP’s ads warning Congress that every senior will go to the polls and vote OUT any legislator who dares to reduce Social Security or Medicare benefits.
I’m all for protecting the benefits of low-income seniors. But for those relatively well off, like me, I think we should be paying in more and taking out less. But… only if this plan is part of a package that also requires sacrifices from others — like Wall Street hedge fund managers who get special tax breaks, farmers who receive unjustifiable subsidies, millionaires who continue to benefit from Bush tax cuts…. The list goes on.
Bravo for Alan Simpson!
In the deficit-cutting hearings this week before the congressional “super committee,” Alan Simpson — the colorful, former Republican Senator from Wyoming — first chastised Grover Norquist (president of Americans for Tax Reform) for urging politicians to take a pledge never to raise taxes. Let’s get real! This pledge is a major roadblock in the path toward deficit-reduction.
Then Simpson lit into AARP for its commercials threatening reprisal at the polls for any politician who supports reductions in Social Security and Medicare. Reacting to the particular ad shown in the video above, Simpson said:
That is the most disgusting ad I’ve ever seen. I tell you that is a really ugly thing….
Let me tell you what will happen with their view of the world, which is to do nothing to restore the solvency of Social Security. In the year 2036, you’re going to waddle up to the window and get a check for 23% less. And then I hope that they will remember the AARP. I certainly will, and a lot of young people will, too.
Let’s remember: all Social Security and Medicare reforms under discussion would affect only future — not current — beneficiaries. Any objective review of those programs must reach the same conclusion: some adjustments are necessary soon if these programs will survive to benefit future generations.
What bothers me most about the ad is how it plays into a prevailing sentiment… “Yes, we need to cut spending, but not one dime from my benefits or the government services I use. And yes, we need to increase revenues, but not a penny at my expense!”
Is there an organization of seniors out there telling politicians we do NOT all march in lock step with AARP? That we support compromise and change in order to secure the viability of Social Security and Medicare for our children and grandchildren? That we need to find REAL ways to solve our budget crisis? If so, sign me up!