Written on Friday, September 7, 2012 by David L. Goetsch
I have reached that point in my life where cashiers at McDonalds—teenagers who cannot make change without the help of a computer—take one look at me and ask: “Would you like the senior discount.” What I would really like when asked this question is to take a sledge-hammer to the cashier’s skate board or pull the metal stud out of her nose. As you can see from my grouchiness, I am now old enough to qualify for membership in the AARP, if qualify is the right word. In spite of possessing the requisite qualifications—the need for bifocals and loss of short-term memory to name just two—I refuse to join the AARP. Why? The answer is simple: Because what was once known as the American Association of Retired Persons no longer has anything to do with helping retired people. Rather, it is about using its access to the elderly to make money—a lot of money—and using that money to pay its executives exorbitant salaries while lobbing for leftwing political causes such as Obamacare.
According to a new study produced after Congress asked the IRS to review the organization’s tax exempt status, AARP operates on a for-profit basis but enjoys the tax-exempt status of a non-profit enterprise. The AARP’s revenue in 2010 was $1.2 billion. If you are thinking the organization’s dues must be awfully high to generate that kind of cash, think again. Dues charged by the AARP are actually kept quite low because that is not where the lion’s share of the organization’s revenue comes from. AARP makes it money endorsing products aimed at elderly people and by allowing its name to be used—for royalties of course—by a private insurance firm that markets supplemental Medicare insurance. This cozy arrangement with the insurance company earned the AARP $670 million in 2010. In other words, the AARP makes its money in the same way that for-profit businesses make theirs.
The AARP’s most effective political strategy is using scare tactics to convince seniors that Congress is trying to take away their Medicare benefits, even though the organization’s executives know better. What is widely known in the halls of Congress as well as the halls of the AARP’s corporate headquarters is that even the most aggressive Medicare reform recommendations apply to no one over the age of 55. Ironically, AARP executives understand as well as anyone that Medicare reform must be part of the equation for solving America’s budget woes. In spite of this knowledge, AARP executives—in league with liberal politicians who operate with the same disregard for the future—stubbornly cling to their selfish goal of getting mine now.
Obamacare would not have passed without the strong support of seniors who were egged on by the purposefully deceitful scare tactics of the AARP. Telling seniors that they must support Obamacare or see their Medicare benefits reduced, the AARP was able to generate a tidal wave of grassroots support from seniors nationwide. The truth, known to AARP executives who deceitfully stirred up fear among the elderly in America, is that Obamacare not only fails to protect Medicare benefits, its cuts them by $500 million dollars annually to help finance other aspects of President Obama’s signature legislative “victory.”
If seniors heard the truth rather than the propaganda spread by the AARP, would they really support leftwing policies that will leave the country their grandchildren will inherit bankrupt? Although I hope this would not be the case, I cannot answer for other seniors. I can, however, answer for this senior and my answer is a resounding “NO!”