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May 22, 2007

Where's AARP?

The American Association of Retired Persons* is pretty much the most powerful lobbying group in the country. The infamous Zionist/Jew-banker lobby has learned less about manipulating the levers of government than AARP has forgotten.

Is the group actually nonpartisan? Or is it a lobbying arm of the Democratic Party? Given that the amnesty plan threatens to remove hundreds of billions of dollars from the Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid system that would otherwise go towards current Americans at retirement, you'd think they'd have something to say about this.

They definitely had something to say when Bush proposed a trillion-dollar reform to the system. And the amnesty plan is approximately at that level of impact.

As CBS News Correspondent Dan Rather reports, the group most responsible for opposing the President's social security reform plan is the AARP.


And that's a lot of people. The AARP has more than 35 million members, making it the largest organization in the United States after the Catholic Church. It is a three-quarters-of-a-billion-dollar-a-year business. And, it's one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington.

The AARP has become a remarkable marketing and political machine.


AARP is now waging a much bigger political battle, with much higher stakes: It is fighting Mr. Bush's plan to overhaul Social Security.

The president wants to let workers put some of their Social Security taxes into private retirement accounts. The theory is people will make more from investing in stocks and bonds than they would get in Social Security benefits.

The Washington buzzword for this kind of change is "privatization," and it's the ultimate taboo at AARP, where they believe Social Security should remain a guaranteed pension for all.

"We do not favor the idea of taking money out of Social Security to create private accounts," Novelli states flatly. It would introduce all this risk into a system that doesn't need risk. To introduce risk into the bedrock retirement system of the country is not a good idea."

So AARP strongly opposed the "risk" of shifting billions of dollars away from current retirees to younger workers to set up private accounts, and yet has nothing to say about shifting billions of dollars away from current American retirees to a large cohort of foreign nationals?

Why is that? Why is redirecting hundreds of bilions of dollars away from retired Americans towards younger Americans a cause for concern, and yet redirecting hundreds of billions from retired Americans towards non-Americans is apparently not worth commenting upon?

* Actually, they've dropped the name and just kept the acronym. But that's what it used to stand for.

Now, like KFC, it doesn't stand for anything. Supposedly.

Don't Expect Help From AARP: From a 2004 article:

AARP comes out against immigration measure [wait for it...]

The AARP is the latest group to come out against a contentious immigration question on the November [2004] ballot.

The Arizona arm of the influential seniors group announced Thursday it is coming out against Proposition 200.

Prop. 200/Protect Arizona Now seeks to deny state welfare benefits to undocumented immigrants. It also requires state agencies report illegals to the federal government and for prospective voters to show U.S. identification.

Business groups and now AARP oppose Prop. 200 arguing it will not stem illegal crossings because it is a federal matter and that state and local governments will have to dedicate money and resources to checking the immigration status of applicants for benefits and services.

So AARP frets about the scary-high costs of checking illegal immigrants' status, and yet doesn't mind actually paying big checks to illegal immigrants. Apparently the costs of the former may adversely impact retirees' benefits, and yet the costs of the latter are trivial, a pittance.

Sounds like AARP is guilty of a bit of ultra vires malfeasance (acting beyond or contrary to the stated goals and missions of the corporation).

The Bush Budget Blowout Bonanza: Although the deficit is growing smaller, just imagine what it would be/could be if all of Bush's proposals went through. Over ten years:

-- over a trillion in tax cuts

-- something like a trillion in additional non-military discretionary spending due to Bush's absolute refusal to veto a spending bill, resulting in rates of government growth three times as high as seen under the supposedly-more-liberal Clinton

-- something like a trillion in additional military spending

-- $1.3 trillion in transition costs due to setting up private accounts for younger workers (as Social Security payroll tax dollars can only be spent once -- the same dollar can't be spent on current retirement benefits, as it's being spent now, and also be spent to create individual retirement accounts)

-- $2.5 trillion in higher social spending for a very large new cohort of low-wage Americans requiring far more in government resources than they contribute in ttaxes

Add it up. That's a lot of jack.

Conservatives favor several of those items, of course. But no conservative can favor all of those massive spending/loss of tax collection provisions at the same time, at least not if he has any interest whatsoever in maintaining a close-to-balanced budget.

I thought the Social Security reform was a good idea myself. But I was always wondering where Bush expected that $1.3 trillion in transition costs to come from. Had he held the line on spending, it would have fairly unobjectionable to deficit-spend that amount. It would have strengthened the economy enough to almost pay for itself.

But given he was already deficit-spending due to a complete abdication on keeping government growth down... well, you've got to pick your shots, don't you?

Oh Really? Evan writes--

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but it seems like legalizing illegal immigrants would bring them into the system, allow them to pay their payroll taxes more than they do currently. And, I was under the impression that the vast majority of latin immigrants were of prime working age, since they're coming here mostly to do manual labor. More workers, paying more taxes, seems like a winning proposition for Social Security.

Winning? Well, first of all, no one pays more into Social Security than they ultimately get back. So, at best, it's revenue neutral. More people paying in, but more people now to whom Social Security obligations are owed.

But it's not even revenue-neutral. Family reunification -- which is permitted, and will continue to be permitted, don't kid yourselves -- insures that each low-wage worker will bring at least one or two (and maybe three or four) at-retirement-age or near-retirement-age parents and grandparents into the country, as citizens with the full rights and entitlements as any other.

Now, you don't get back more in straight Social Security or Medicare than you paid in. But there are social-safety-net programs that pay benefits to very poor Americans who have not paid much into the system, or anything at all. Means-tested payments (i.e., welfare for poor retirees) flow from the supplemental Social Security fund, and the poor can draw upon the means-tested Medicaid program (i.e., medical-cost welfare for poor folks).

Not only will most of the amnestied workers require money from those pools, drawing far more in government benefits that they ever paid in, but their elderly parents and grandparents, now also Americans citizens via chain-migration, will draw on those pools for ten or twenty years without every having paid a nickel into the system.

Anyone who thinks that bringing tens of millions of poor immigrant workers "into the system" will help Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid -- well, why not cure all of our problems and let a hundred million or so in? Really firm up our finances that way, huh?

In case anyone hasn't worked out the math, the rich are net tax contributors, the poor are net tax drainers, and somewhere in the middle class is the break-even point where someone is neither drawing on nor adding to the goverment's tax revenues.

Why on earth someone could imagine that adding millions upon millions of low-to-zero tax paying poor (often illiterate) immigrant workers to the nation's balance sheet would actually improve our deficit/Social Security situation is beyond me.

If you think that, you must get psyched when you hear that the "poor are getting poorer" or that low-income wages are stagnant.

Hey, more poor people -- a tax net-plus bonanza!

Correction: I overstated -- actually undermining my own argument via the overstatement.

I said no one could get back more in Social Security than they put in. That's wrong.

Laura beats me with the smart-stick:

Ace, you can definitely get more out of SS than you put in. Your monthly check is based on your lifetime earnings, and if you live long enough, you will certainly take out more than you personally put in, especially low income earners who are guaranteed a minimum benefit. It happens all the time.

Additionally, Social Security benefits are available to more than retirees. My daughter receives a small monthly benefit because my husband died. She's certainly received more than he put in, because he was only 22 and hadn't had time to put much in. People who are disabled also get benefits.

Yeah, I was wrong. The system was probably set up at one time to be revenue-neutral in terms of once-prevailing actuarial assumptions -- like dying only a few years after retirement -- but now people are living ten, fifteen, twenty or even thirty years post retirement, and yet the guaranteed benefit continues being paid to them, of course.

Plus, payments are goosed every year not just by the already-overstated cost-of-living-adjustment calculation, but by a little bit more than that, if I recall correctly.

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posted by Ace at 12:40 PM

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