Following reports that AARP—the influential senior citizens lobby—will convene a closed-door meeting with higher-ups who advocate slashing essential welfare programs, progressive groups are launching campaigns to pressure the organization to stand firm against any cuts in Social Security benefits and Medicare.
Criticism of AARP from such groups is strong. Isaiah Poole with Campaign for America’s Future condemned the organization for taking seriously the proposals of those who want to slash and privatize Social Security:
“For years now, we’ve had a “debate” about how to make Social Security sustainable for the next 75 years. One side of that debate is using fear-mongering and deception to make the case for dismantling a public vehicle for economic security that many of the people on that side of the debate never believed should exist to begin with. Their dream remains replacing Social Security with a private insurance system that would be a playground for the same Wall Street gamblers and predators whose behavior trashed the value of our 401(k)s during the 2008 financial crash.”
The Huffington Post:
“Once again, AARP is working behind the scenes to build support for benefit cuts while masquerading about as an ardent defender of the safety net to its massive, dues-paying membership,” reads a petition from the progressive blog FireDogLake.com. “This is outrageous, and AARP should immediately call off the event and disavow this shameful attempt to throw its weight behind benefit cuts.”
Credo Action, an online progressive advocacy group, asked its members to reach out to AARP. “Ironically, while the CEO of AARP is set to hold a private meeting with people who want to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits, the organization has also just launched a national listening tour on the future of Social Security and Medicare. So if there’s ever a time to speak out to AARP, it’s now,” reads a letter to the group’s membership. “We are joining with other groups including our friends at Social Security Works in making sure AARP hears that everyday Americans don’t want cuts to Social Security benefits. We need to make sure AARP gets this message loud and clear.”