Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Memo to the AARP: Die Already!

Although I personally enjoy the company of many people my parent’s age (including my parents), on the whole, baby boomers can really annoy me (sorry, Mom!). This may be partially (or predominantly) veiled envy due to missing out on the 60’s or because I’m an immature generational warrior who gets goosebumps when I hear The Times They Are A-Changin’ . (Stupid irony. It really got me there.) Or it might be just a based on resentment resulting from my perceptions of their long-term financial security. But I do have some legitimate worries about their political influence and what it will mean to younger generations as they age. The American Association of Retired Persons is one of the most powerful lobby groups in the country, and it’s only going to get stronger as the boomers start to retire. And in all seriousness, their agenda should scare anyone under the age of 40.

The problem is, we simply cannot pay for the massive addition to the rolls of Medicare/Medicaide and Social Security recipients that will accompany the aging boomer population. Many corporations (i.e. Ford) are learning they can’t afford the generous entitlements they promised workers in the past while under pressure from powerful unions. And the AARP is acting like the largest union of them all (36 million members!). They’ve negotiated a sweet deal for their members, which the country can’t pay for without huge tax increases on younger workers, cuts in benefits for seniors (not bloody likely under the AARP’s watch), or a magical money tree. They are either in denial of these future problems or are completely refusing to work on a plan that will avoid the forthcoming financial disaster.

Now, go read this article by Robert Samuelson at the Washington Post.


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