Have you seen the AARP’s latest ad campaign? It shows a series of children who urge us to take action on the “five core needs” of AARP: “the need for health; the need for financial security; the need to contribute or give back to society; the need for community and to stay connected to family, friends and social networks; and the need to play and enjoy life.” The children imply that the policies advocated by the AARP will benefit future generations. The reality is that the policies the AARP advocates are not just wrong, but are viciously dishonest in harming the very people they claim to champion.
The AARP started out as a program for selling insurance to retirees. After the government investigated its non-profit status in the 1990’s, it changed its focus to political advocacy. Rather than sell insurance to seniors, it now advocates policies which force everyone else to pay for their member’s expenses. Our government will not allow AARP to sell products to members and still call itself non-profit, but it has no problem with AARP’s advocacy of policies which provide “benefits” directly to AARP’s members. These “benefits” can only come at the expense of working people and claims on the future income of children – the very groups the current ad campaign claims to champion.
Contrary to the claims of better ties between older people and the community, the welfare policies the AARP advocates create division and bitterness. Working young people hold no delusions about the “benefits” that programs like Social Security and Medicare promise. Even if these ponzi schemes pay out, they return a pittance compared to voluntary investments and waste a huge portion of the confiscated funds on bureaucratic waste and unrelated projects.
The AARP’s lobbyists know that our welfare system will go bankrupt as baby boomers retire – but they staunchly oppose efforts to reform it. They want to milk as much as possible from working people for as long as possible – regardless of the hostility and division it will create when today’s children and young adults are forced to pay for the living and healthcare expenses of a growing retired population.
The alienation experienced by many retired people is a real problem – but its cause is the very policies that organizations like the AARP advocate. Instead of fostering responsible investing, financial independence, long-term planning, and mutual support of family members, the welfare state replaces individual decision making with central planning, family members with an intrusive nanny state, and individual responsibility with faith in the omnipotent state to provide for all needs.
The policies the AARP advocates to solve the “needs” of its members are a claim of ownership over the lives of the very people its commercials claim to champion. Contrast the socialist policies implied by their commercials to the capitalist model of the ads of financial companies: instead of stealing your future from working people, we will help you turn the fruit of your own productivity into wealth. Which one is just?