One Nation under AARP: The Fight over Medicare, Social Security, and America's Future

One Nation under AARP: The Fight over Medicare, Social Security, and America's Future

One Nation under AARP: The Fight over Medicare, Social Security, and America's Future

One Nation under AARP: The Fight over Medicare, Social Security, and America's Future

Synopsis

This book provides a fresh and even-handed account of the newly modernized AARP (formerly the American Association of Retired Persons)--the 40-million member insurance giant and political lobby that continues to set the national agenda for Medicare and Social Security. Frederick R. Lynch addresses AARP's courtship of 78 million aging baby boomers and the possibility of harnessing what may be the largest ever senior voting bloc to defend threatened cutbacks to Social Security, Medicare, and under-funded pension systems. Based on years of research, interviews with key strategists, and analyses of hundreds documents, One Nation under AARP profiles a largely white generation, raised in the relatively tranquil 1950s and growing old in a twenty-first century nation buffeted by rapid economic, cultural, and demographic change. Lynch argues that an ideologically divided boomer generation must decide whether to resist entitlement reductions through its own political mobilization or, by default, to empower AARP as it tries to shed its "greedy geezer" stereotype with an increasingly post-boomer agenda for multigenerational equity.

Excerpt

It wasn’t like, “Here’s the political thing, here’s the cultural
thing.” It was all woven together in the same sort of rebel
lious rock and roll attitude. When you said rock and roll, you
didn’t mean just the music. You meant it as a way of life, as a
coat of armor against everything that was coming at you. It
was a force to be reckoned with.

—Michael Moore (2007)

We honored our part of the bargain. We are counting on the
amounts reported to us on our Social Security forms. If this
contract is broken, there will be hell to pay from a generation
that knows how to organize and inflict political pain.

—Letter to the editor, Washington Post (August 20, 2002)

On an October Friday night in 2006, the rock band “Splash!”—whose members were in their twenties and thirties—loudly belted out hits of the 1960s and 1970s. Most of the four hundred or so people listening and dancing to the music were in their fifties and early sixties—aging baby boomers who did not necessarily think of themselves or their music as “golden oldies.” Yet this musical happening at California’s Anaheim Convention Center was hosted by aarp, part of a three-day “Life @ 50+” megaconference that drew twenty-five thousand registered attendees.

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