AARP has been spending major money lobbying for the passage and signing of the SCHIP bill and this strikes me as particularly odd. Today, AARP has mobilized its billion dollar lobby machine to get the children’s health bill signed by Bush. The organization has even reached out to former foes to sign on to the mission. In short, it is the kind of push AARP usually reserves for entitlement programs for older Americans.
It reminds of AARP’s new multi-million dollar ad campaign targeting children and young adults. AARP’s message is, “We’re not the enemy. We want to help you.” AARP is promoting a campaign called Divided We Fail, or as my neighbor puts it, “United to Screw Our Grandkids.” Actually, we’ve been screwing our grandkids for a long time, but AARP’s mission is to keep them from realizing it.
The premise is based in reality—entitlement programs that AARP has been lobbying in support of for over 50 years are bankrupting our children and grandchildren. When social security was put in place, there were 12 workers for every retiree. Today that number is 2 (and falling fast). Retirees are receiving more money out of the system than they ever put it (two to three lifetimes worth). And the young people contributing today will never see a penny as long as AARP remains steadfast that it will not allow the retirement age to be increased or benefits to be decreased. Meanwhile, those social security checks spend 5 minutes waiting on line before boarding buses every day to make the 90 minute trip to Atlantic City.
AARP is desperate for younger Americans (i.e., those contributing to society) to not see us as the enemy. And we are. The Greatest Generation and the Boomers have done tremendous things with our lives. But it doesn’t entitle us to write a blank check on our children and grandchildren. In essence, we are making them indentured servants and they don’t even know it. This is Bill Novelli’s legacy.
And this is one of the reasons why I’m not an AARP member.