How To Tell The AARP Is Part Of Rigging The Social Security And Medicare 'Reform' Game

The AARP started this campaign a few months ago called "You've Earned A Say." Sounds good, right? It's about "protecting" Social Security and Medicare. The thing is, when powerful interests say "protecting," they're really saying, "This is going

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The AARP started this campaign a few months ago called "You've Earned A Say." Sounds good, right? It's about "protecting" Social Security and Medicare. The thing is, when powerful interests say "protecting," they're really saying, "This is going to hurt you a lot more than it hurts me."

If you're still not clear on what the Very Serious People are proposing to do, read this. It spells it out rather nicely. Then email it to all your friends.

Now, look at this lovely little survey of their members they're conducting. I wonder if it was subsidized by our old friend Pete Peterson, because the questions are so carefully slanted to get the less-careful readers to say what they want them to say. (I can just hear the news bobbleheads now: "A new survey of AARP membership shows that 87% demand immediate action on Social Security and Medicare.")

I think you all know what to do, right? Click that "Speak Up Now!" button!

Social Security

1. Social Security is the largest source of income for most current retirees. For others, Social Security is just one source of retirement income along with pensions, savings and investments. Thinking about future retirees, which do you agree with more?

  • Social Security is too important to consider benefit changes for future retirees.
  • We need a balanced approach of benefit and revenue changes to make sure Social Security is there for future retirees.
  • The Social Security system is so broken that it should be completely changed for future retirees.

Of course, only really stupid people would pick the first answer, right? Because there's a crisis, damn it, and the AARP has insurance policies to sell!

2. According to the Social Security Trustees, Social Security will be able to pay all benefits for about 25 years and three-quarters of promised benefits after that time. In order to ensure all benefits can be paid, they say that changes can be made now or larger changes can be made later. When do you think changes should be made?

  • Major changes should be made now.
  • Some changes should be made now, but we should wait before making any major changes.
  • We should wait a few years before making changes.
  • No changes should be made.

You noticed that they didn't say WHICH changes, right? So you're supposed to give them blanket support for anything they want to do in the name of "protecting" Social Security.

3. Which of the following do you think is the biggest challenge facing Social Security?

  • Benefits are too generous.
  • Benefits are not adequate.
  • Fewer workers are paying into the program.
  • Higher paid workers aren't paying enough into the program.
  • Growing senior population and longer retirements.
  • Other:

Answer: Higher paid workers aren't paying enough! Remove the cap, and we're good. Imagine, 92% of all income used to be taxed under Social Security.

4. Which statement do you agree with more:

  • Everyone should get the benefits they've earned so it's okay for upper income workers to get higher benefits because they contribute more into the system.
  • Wealthy seniors have other sources of retirement income and should get less – maybe nothing – from Social Security so we can make the program stronger for everyone else.

This is a tricky one, and even sharp-eyed progressives get it wrong when they say rich people shouldn't get benefits. WRONG. Universal benefits are what keep the program politically viable. As soon as you means-test it, it becomes another welfare program.

5. What's the one thing you would do to strengthen Social Security for future retirees?

Keep politicians from privatizing any of it!

Medicare

1. People have different views about changing Medicare. Which comes closest to your personal view?

  • Medicare is too important to consider major changes.
  • We need a balanced approach of benefit and revenue changes to make sure Medicare is there for future retirees.
  • The Medicare system is so broken that it should be completely changed for future retirees.

Ah yes, the "balanced" approach. Once again, they're asking you to support something with no details. As we all know, that's where the devil is.

2. Which of the following do you think is the biggest challenge facing Medicare?

  • Medicare payroll taxes are not keeping up with benefit needs.
  • Rising cost of health care.
  • Medicare premiums and out-of-pocket costs are too high.
  • On average, seniors receive more in Medicare benefits than they pay in.
  • Growing senior population and longer retirements.
  • None of the above/Other:

The answer to pretty much all of these questions: Medicare for All.

3. Which of these statements do you agree with more?

  • All future retirees should continue to get guaranteed coverage and care as seniors do now.
  • Future retirees should be given a set amount of money to choose among many insurance plans with different benefits and costs.

You don't need any help with this one, unless you're addicted to Groupons and think you're getting a bargain.

4. According to the Medicare Trustees, Medicare can pay full benefits for about 10 years and 90 percent of promised hospital benefits after that. In order to ensure all benefits can be paid, when do you think changes should be made?

  • Major changes should be made now.
  • Some changes should be made now, but we should wait before making any major changes.
  • We should wait a few years before making changes.
  • No changes should be made.

Again: Which changes? Crack down on fraud? Change doctors' fee structures?

5. Medicare funding mostly comes from general federal revenues, dedicated Medicare taxes, and premiums from people in Medicare. As health care costs rise, what's the best source for additional Medicare funds?

  • General federal revenues.
  • Dedicated Medicare taxes.
  • Premiums from people in Medicare.
  • None of the above.
  • Other:

Lower the Medicare age to 50, so we have healthier people in their 60s and 70s.

6. What's the one thing you would do to strengthen Medicare for future retirees?

I didn't want to say what I really thought, because it would be a mortal sin and a capital offense, besides. So I said that we needed a universal Medicare for All system, and that the substantial health care cost savings would more than cover it.

About Susie Madrak

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