AARP is here to stay to help ensure security in retirement
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The March 3 opinion piece by James B. Burnham, "A Case of Generational Theft," wrongly accuses older Americans, including AARP's 38 million members, of promoting generational theft by fighting to protect Social Security and Medicare benefits for future generations.
Surveys show older Americans know how important these programs are and want to make sure they are strong for their children and grandchildren. That is exactly what we have heard from many of the more than 6 million Americans who have joined AARP in a national conversation about strengthening Social Security and Medicare.
Mr. Burnham recycled an inaccurate argument attempting to show how programs benefiting older adults saddle future generations with mounting debt. By law, Social Security cannot contribute to the deficit. The self-financed program is based on worker contributions and pays recipients an average of $14,000 annually. Any discussions about strengthening Social Security for future generations should be separate from deficit-reduction plans.
Social Security likely will be even more important to future generations. Due to increasing income disparity, the demise of pensions, escalating personal debt and rising education and health care costs, workers today are less likely than their parents or grandparents to enjoy the living standards of their working years when they retire. If these trends continue, Social Security will be the main source of income for all but the wealthiest retirees in the future.
AARP has no intention of going out of business, as Mr. Burnham suggests. The need for AARP to represent millions of ordinary Americans, to fight to enhance the quality of life for all as we age and to ensure retirement security for both current and future generations is stronger than ever.
First Published March 14, 2013 12:00 am