Flaming AARP Card

image by Dean Mougianis

The Wall Street Journal recently reported the AARP will support benefit cuts to Social Security. The AARP responded by saying that “our position has not changed on Social Security.”

That’s actually true. For years, the AARP has been open to cutting Social Security benefits. Below is the proof of AARP’s clear willingness cut Social Security.

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1. AARP did not deny the Wall Street Journal’s report; its response even showed the AARP is open to “changes in benefits.”

In the Wall Street Journal article, AARP policy director John Rother was clear that he’s willing to support Social Security benefit cuts, saying, “The ship was sailing. I wanted to be at the wheel when that happens.” Current AARP CEO A. Barry Rand called the WSJ piece inaccurate and misleading, but didn’t clarify what he thought was inaccurate. Rand’s statement even reiterated AARP’s belief that “changes” need to be made to Social Security benefits.

Sources: Wall Street Journal, 6/17/11; Huffington Post, 6/17/11

2. AARP officials admitted the organization was discussing benefit cuts for “months” with the Wall Street Journal.

While trying to spin the AARP’s exposed to scheme to support Social Security cuts, AARP legislative director David Certner said the AARP was “never seeking this kind of publicity” for its position. Certner said AARP officials had discussed benefit changes for “months” with the Wall Street Journal.

Source: Politico, 6/21/11

3. AARP was willing to raise the retirement age during George W. Bush’s attempts to privatize Social Security in 2005.

Then-AARP CEO William Novellli put raising the retirement age “on the table” in 2005.

“‘There’s a lot of opportunity for common ground. If we could get the private accounts, the carve-outs, out of the way I think we could get to solvency fairly quickly.’ That includes discussion over an increase in the retirement age, said Novelli. ‘We are willing to consider it,’ he said. ‘It ought to be on the table.’”

Source: Bloomberg News, 4/11/05

4. In 2005, AARP CEO William Novelli called adjusting benefits a “reasonable step.”

“’Social Security does not need a radical overhaul,’ AARP Chief Executive Officer William Novelli said in speech at the National Press Club. ‘Reasonable steps such as these, including possibly adjusting benefits, are enough to strengthen Social Security for the long term.’”

Source: Reuters, 2/9/05

5. An AARP memo suggested “changes in benefits” as a solution for “Social Security solvency.”

An AARP official provided the Huffington Post a 2005 memo that outlined the organization’s position on Social Security. The document shows the AARP offered “changes in benefits” as a positive position for the organization to take in the Social Security fight at the time.

Source: Huffington Post, 6/21/11

6. An AARP official flippantly dismissed those who opposed Social Security cuts.

AARP policy director John Rother dismissed people who said they wouldn’t support Social Security cuts. “I know all these people personally and they’ll say we have to be hard line now to influence the debate…I kind of take it with a grain of salt, these emphatic statements,” Rother said.

Source: Wall Street Journal, 8/20/10

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at http://pendinghorizon.com