Wednesday, February 16, 2005

I'm not the AARP

I am not affiliated with the AARP, just so you know. Frankly I'm not a fan of capital letters in general. But I thought I might suggest some answers to some questions Mr. Rich Lowry asked of them in today's column.
Since Bush has said that any proposal won't affect anyone 55 years of age or older, what possible reason -- other than sheer ideological hostility -- do you have to oppose reforming the system?
The same reason any American might have in this issue; the hope to make a better system for our children. If you can be concerned about saving the system "for the children," why can't the AARP (who, frankly, have a pretty good idea of what it is like to be elderly in America)?
Your group's advocacy suggests that reform puts at risk the benefits of current Social Security recipients, even though cutting those benefits is off the table. Are you routinely so dishonest, or is this a special case?
President Bush can say what he likes about cutting benefits, but his numbers don't add up. In response to a budget shortfall of several billion dollars he's proposing a program that will cost several trillion. And he seems firm that he will not raise the payroll tax (which presumably includes raising the cap). So where is he going to get the extra money? Borrowing? Or, possibly, not quite living up to that promise not to cut rates.

I mean it would hardly be the first time a President hasn't lived up to his promises, would it?
In 1950, 16 workers supported each retiree. By 2040, there will only be two workers per retiree. Does it occur to you that that is very bad news for workers? Or is your ultimate ambition to have each retiree supported by his own individual worker? Perhaps this worker can be made to fan his designated retiree with a palm frond and deliver him fruity drinks poolside?
Hmmmmmmm. If we really so greedy and selfish as you seem to suggest, why wouldn't you want to cut our benefits?
If you like old people so much, why do you try so hard to scare them? Or does AARP market research show that the elderly enjoy being frightened?
Does the president enjoy scaring people? Do you? No, but you are of course going to bring forward issues you think are important and present them to the American people. That's what we are doing. Why do Republicans feel they have to bully everybody who expresses an opinion different from themselves.
The Medicare prescription drug law that your organization helped pass is now universally regarded as an unaffordable boondoggle that will get evermore hellishly expensive. Is that the future you want for Social Security as well?
Hey, I wonder what President shepherded that bill through Congress and then signed it.

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