Below the fold is the exact email I sent to AARP today, less some identifying characteristics.
Yes, I know this was yesterday's issue, but those of us who are a little -older- more experienced are -slower- more deliberate in our responses. If you're an AARP member, you should check the website and look over their "stance" on Social Security. I hope your email or letter to them is as clear and firm as mine. And yes, I did not burn my AARP card as FDL advocated. I have found that a clear letter promising specific action and requesting action from them is more persuasive than an outright cancellation of membership. But rest assured, if AARP compromises on Social Security other than means testing it for the rich, then they will get a nice charred pile of plastic with my cancellation letter.
To: AARP representatives
From: Member XXX XXX
RE: Social Security
I joined AARP because you stood up forthrightly for Social Security against George W. Bush and Radical Republicans. I will not remain a member of an organization that does not oppose any and all cuts in Social Security for any and all current or forthcoming generations.
My wife and I already are members of the generation that, supposedly, cannot retire until age 66-67. That generation and many now in their 50s who lose jobs cannot find work, and have run or are running through savings and unemployment insurance. Soon that will be gone for many of our friends, peers and relatives, and some of our relatives have already had to retire early due to this. Their Social Security payouts are their only lifeline now; their payouts will be reduced for the rest of their lives through neither the fault nor intent of their own. The safety net in this country is already far too thin. We will not tolerate it being cut still more, and especially not with the support of an organization to which we (my wife and I) belong.
We have already seen our Social Security benefits cut by Ronald Reagan by raising the age of retirement for us, and we have never forgotten it, and never voted for a Republican since. We support several groups such as AARP, Public Citizen, Habitat for Humanity and Daily Kos that oppose Darwinian Republicanism applied to those least able to resist it.
We will not tolerate any, repeat any, cut in Social Security. Be it by further raising the age of retirement or by messing with the cost of living/inflation calculations (a means used repeatedly to cut social security in real terms). We know what is happening to our Social Security; we watch it carefully, and we (my wife and I) will NOT remain as AARP members on any terms other than a raising of the income cap or a means test for people with assets of at least 5 million and/or annual investment income of at least 10 times the minimum wage. Since Republicans appear unable to bear taxing the rich, only a means test for the most wealthy appears negotiable at this time. That is our only concession and the only one we are willing to see AARP support. We strongly believe, in fact, that AARP should push for a more accurate measure of inflation before the next round of inflation hits.
We would like very much to see AARP clarify its stance on Social Security. We have read your releases assuring us of no change in the AARP position, but the position itself leaves very much open for interpretation or negotiation. It especially implies that future generations--our children and grandchildren--will be screwed by our generation even as our parent's generation screwed us (Reagan era generation). We will NOT support this.
Any proposal from AARP which cuts Social Security for anyone other than the wealthiest will result in our immediate cancellation of AARP membership, and we will make very clear to our friends, relatives, and contacts exactly what we did and why.
I trust that this statement is clearer, and firmer, than yours on what our actions will be.
Yours, very sincerely,
So, what do you think? Please take the poll and if you'd like, tips for retirees or near retirees would be appreciated.
I have about 7 years to go nominally but I expect 62 is about all I can persuade the powers that be to retain me overseas. In Hong Kong, retirement is at 60 unless special dispensation is granted--and I just got 2 years added to take me up to 62. So I'm looking at a 3 year medical insurance gap before Medicare when I finally return to America. That is bad, and risky, enough. We're keeping our Hong Kong residency rights up to date after retirement because we have heavily subsidized medical care--I just have to be able to fly back to Hong Kong to exercise those rights. Too bad I have to rely on a "communist" country to treat me like a human being. (Yes, Hong Kong is part of China and has been for years--so all of China is not a prison. And Yes, much of China has really lousy healthcare and working conditions too. That is not the point. Americans should be able to expect to be treated better than anyone anywhere in China, including Hong Kong. After all, didn't Americans pioneer the idea of human rights?)