Tuesday, February 2, 2010


by Richard Crews
There is a very interesting editorial by David Brooks in this morning's New York Times about the role of old folks in today's (U.S.) society.

I think it is very perceptive and informative, although its practicality is probably very limited--I wish not, but I fear so. Perhaps AARP can be persuaded to lobby "against itself" (so to speak), but I doubt it. AARP has always had, in my view, an invisible, predominant motive--making money--overlaying its visible, apparently predominant motive--getting the best for old folks.


Here is the test to see whether AARP really advocates the interests and priorities of seniors or just gives mouth to that, but advocates for broadly popular appeal.

(1) Does AARP advocate later retirement rather than earlier? Later is actually better for the seniors, plus it is better for society (the point of the editorial) and "real" seniors want what is best for future generations.

(2) Does AARP advocate scaling back MediCare benefits and costs? Again this runs counter to traditional, simplistic "good" for seniors, but it is better for society and "real" seniors want what is best for future generations.

(3) What happened to AARP in sustaining support for the "public option"? AARP got what it thought seniors (should) want, and abandoned the other 20 million Americans who don't have access to affordable health insurance.