September 30, 2014

The AARP's Irresponsible Ad Campaign

  • The national debt has grown significantly in recent years due to rising annual deficits. A deficit occurs in any year the government spends more...

The AARP has launched a misleading and divisive ad campaign aimed at excluding Social Security and Medicare from any deficit-reduction proposals that might be developed by the new congressional “super committee.”

This could have a dramatic negative impact on other government priorities, including federal programs for younger Americans and unemployed workers. It is also contrary to the notion of shared sacrifice that that has been advocated by the president’s bipartisan fiscal commission, the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Debt Reduction Task Force, the Senate’s Gang of Six and many other responsible groups.

The AARP, which says it advocates for older Americans, urges them to tell their members of Congress that Medicare and Social Security cuts must be “off the table” in the super committee’s deliberations. The AARP is also championing the mistaken notion that our fiscal challenges can be met by simply cutting “waste and loopholes.” No serious budget analyst believes that would suffice, and there is often little political consensus over what constitutes “waste.”

“This is the kind of tactic and rhetoric AARP has condemned in the past,” said former U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey, co-chairman of The Concord Coalition’s Board of Directors. He said the AARP’s ad campaign was fostering “generational warfare” and had “put at risk the strong inter-generational support for Social Security and Medicare.”

Concord Executive Director Robert L. Bixby added: “With its size and influence, AARP could be a powerful voice for reasonable reforms to establish a more sustainable fiscal path. Instead, it has chosen to be part of the problem by insisting that all sacrifices must be borne by someone else.”