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Last year, the AARP inexplicably left the door open for possible cuts to Social Security. That didn't go over so well with AARP members, or with other organizations the group works with. So this year, in the face of potential grand bargaining over the fiscal curb, they're retrenching, and working with other groups to oppose any cuts at all to programs for retirees.
AARP’s rejection of any significant changes to the nation’s safety net could be a major factor as policymakers seek a deal to put the government’s finances in order through raising taxes and cutting spending on federal programs, possibly including popular entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security. [...]
“We’re fighting to stop cuts to Medicare and Medicaid that will hurt beneficiaries,” said AARP’s top lobbyist, Nancy LeaMond. “We want to ensure that Social Security is not part of this deficit discussion.” [...]
A recent issue of the AARP Bulletin — the largest circulation magazine in the world, sent to all its members — warned seniors that the proposed change to Social Security previously embraced by Obama and Republicans could cost “a potential cumulative loss of thousands of dollars.” The organization followed that with a letter to all members of Congress cautioning against Social Security changes.
The group is also opposing an increase in the eligibility age for Medicare, and shrinking Social Security cost-of-living increases with the so-called chained CPI, both proposals that were on the table in the negotiations last year between House Speaker John Boehner and President Obama.
On one front, Social Security, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has vowed hands off. He's got a somewhat surprising ally in Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK), who is up for reelection in two years. Begich has a new proposal to strengthen Social Security by adjusting the cost of living for seniors with a Consumer Price Index that actually reflects costs and spending of seniors, and also by lifting the payroll tax cap so that higher income earners would pay Social Security on all their earnings.
That's not just protecting Social Security from cuts now, it's actually making it better, stronger for current and future retirees, an awfully smart position to kick off the 2014 campaign with.
Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 12:54 PM PST.