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Senior Citizen Politics

AARP Fights Back Against Charges of Giving In on Cuts to Social Security; Launches TV Ad

CEO reaffirms opposition to cutting Social Security, asks seniors to pledge help in fight; AARP kicks off TV ad urging protection for SS and Medicare

AARP TV ad fighting cuts to senior programs; read more on campaign below

June 20, 2011 – The Wall Street Journal stirred up a storm last week when it quoted in a news story AARP’s policy director John Rother saying the senior advocacy group was dropping its objection to cutting Social Security benefits. AARP CEO A. Barry Rand fired back that the report was inaccurate and that AARP has not changed its position on Social Security.

"Let me be clear – AARP is as committed as we've ever been to fighting to protect Social Security for today's seniors and strengthening it for future generations,” Rand said.

The AP reported that the WSJ story, “set off a firestorm among Social Security advocates, who roundly criticized AARP as selling out seniors. Most advocacy groups oppose all cuts to Social Security benefits, even those that would affect only future generations, such as an increase in the retirement age.”


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The AP quoted Max Richtman, acting CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare as saying, “AARP is losing the confidence of seniors around the country, and not just seniors but people of every age group”

WASHINGTON, June 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- AARP CEO A. Barry Rand offered the following statement in response to inaccurate media stories on the association's policy on Social Security:

Rand, in the statement he issued, said, "First, we are currently fighting some proposals in Washington to cut Social Security to reduce a deficit it did not cause.  Social Security should not be used as a piggy bank to solve the nation's deficit.  Any changes to this lifeline program should happen in a separate, broader discussion and make retirement more secure for future generations, not less.

"Our focus has always been on the human impact of changes, not just the budget tables.  Which is why, as we have done numerous times over the last several decades, AARP is engaging our volunteer Board to evaluate any proposed changes to Social Security to determine how each might – individually or in different combinations – impact the lives of current and future retirees given the constantly changing economic realities they face.

"Second, we have maintained for years – to our members, the media and elected officials – that long term solvency is key to protecting and strengthening Social Security for all generations, and we have urged elected officials in Washington to address the program's long-term challenges in a way that's fair for all generations.

"It has long been AARP's policy that Social Security should be strengthened to provide adequate benefits and that it is sufficiently financed to ensure solvency with a stable trust fund for the next 75 years.  It has also been a long held position that any changes would be phased in slowly, over time, and would not affect any current or near term beneficiaries. 

"AARP strongly opposed a privatization plan in 2005, and continues to oppose this approach, because it would eliminate the guarantee that Social Security provides and reduce benefits, and we are currently fighting proposals to cut Social Security to pay the nation's bills.

"Social Security is a critically important issue for our members, their families and Americans of all ages, especially at a time when many will have less retirement security than previous generations with fewer pensions, less savings and rising health care costs.  And, as we have been for decades, we will continue to protect this bedrock of lifetime financial security for all generations of Americans."

AARP Launches New TV Ad Calling on Congress to Protect Medicare and Social Security From Harmful Cuts

Sign the AARP Pledge

Are you in? AARP asking seniors to fight “political deals that could hurt Medicare and Social Security by signing a pledge to help.

>> Click here to pledge page

AARP launched last week a new television ad campaign to urge Congress not to make any deal to pay the nation's bills that would result in harmful cuts to critical Medicare and Social Security benefits that millions of Americans have earned through a lifetime of hard work, according to a news release from the groups Pennsylvania office.

The new, multi-million dollar advertising will air nationally and in local markets. In addition to the TV ad, AARP is engaging its millions of members to make their voices heard through direct mail, phone calls, email alerts, publications, and tele-townhall meetings.

"While some members of Congress are considering making changes to Medicare's structure, what few people realize is that some proposals being discussed behind closed doors include harmful cuts to the critical Medicare and Social Security benefits that are lifelines for today's seniors in Pennsylvania," said Dick Chevrefils, AARP Pennsylvania State Director.

"Instead of harmful cuts to Medicare and Social Security, Congress should cut wasteful spending, close tax loopholes and work to rein in costs throughout the health care system."

AARP began airing the spots on June 16.

To date, nearly 1.5 million individuals have already signed a petition to Congress and more than 4,000 calls and emails have gone into Pennsylvania's congressional offices over the past several weeks urging Congress to protect Medicare and Social Security from harmful cuts as part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling.

Chevrefils added: "This campaign, along with our new ad will put Congress on notice that AARP will fight with the strength of our millions of members to prevent harmful cuts to Medicare and Social Security from being included in any deal to pay the nation's bills. Congress needs to reduce our nation's debt, but harmful cuts or across-the-board spending limits will hurt today's seniors in Pennsylvania and do little to reduce health care costs over the long-term."

To learn about AARP's campaign, visit

About AARP (self-description)

“AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 35.1 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

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