AARP and the Social Security Crisis

Article excerpt

Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

One group, more than any other in America, bears primary responsibility for the developing financial crisis of Social Security - the AARP.

For four decades, the AARP has claimed to represent seniors. In its leadership role, this political behemoth ($20 million spent annually on lobbyists) is responsible for every major policy action on Social Security since the early 1960s.

AARP should be excoriated for enabling and creating the Social Security financial problems for which they now claim to have solutions. Unfortunately, AARP's "solutions" are the very same bad policies that turned Social Security into a massive ticking debt bomb - tax increases, benefit cuts for millions of future retirees and continued spending of every cent of the Social Security Trust Fund.

Here's the short list of how AARP specifically put America's future generations in financial jeopardy:

* Eighteen payroll tax increases: AARP's repeated support for Social Security payroll tax increases has been devastating because (1) they hit working families hardest, (2) they actually suppress job and economic growth by slamming small businesses with higher costs, and (3) they perpetuate the illusion Social Security's solution lies in American taxpayers giving government more of their hard-earned money.

* Double taxes on seniors' Social Security: Today some 16 million people over age 65 actually pay taxes on the Social Security benefits they worked to receive. In 1983 and 1984, AARP could have easily killed this tax, but instead enabled the fleecing of tens of millions of taxpayers way into the future.

Worse, the double tax was raised in 1993. Again, AARP could have stopped it but didn't. Many seniors now pay higher tax rates on their Social Security benefits than many millionaires.

* Perpetuating the pay-as-you-go scheme: In 1950, 16 workers supported each retiree under Social Security. That ratio plummeted over the next five decades under AARP's watch. Today about three workers support each retiree; when our grandchildren are in their late 40s, there will only be two workers supporting each retiree. …