December 2013 – Since it was founded in 1958, the American Association of Retired Persons has advocated for senior citizens and sought to provide for them. Its founding mission statement proclaims itself a “nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization for people age 50 and over … dedicated to enhancing quality of life for all as we age.” Perhaps in many ways it has succeeded. However, recent and disturbing evidence demonstrates AARP’s doublespeak and unreliability.
Lining its pockets
Most notably, it has used doublespeak to hide the great concern for its own pockets. On September 21, 2012, Wall Street Journal ran an article exposing AARP’s endorsement of Obamacare, despite its supposed nonpartisanship. A reported 71 pages of emails were exchanged between AARP and the White House. These emails demonstrated AARP “scripting the president’s talking points, working to keep its board in line and pledging fealty to ‘the cause.’”
On October 4, just days after these emails were exposed, Huffington Post ran a story that again revealed the inconsistency in AARP. In the presidential debate that had occurred the night before, President Barack Obama had named AARP among supporters for his health care plan.
In response, AARP issued a statement again claiming its nonpartisanship and reiterated its desire not to be associated with a particular candidate or campaign. The statement said, “While we respect the rights of each campaign to make its case to voters, AARP has never consented to the use of its name by any candidate or political campaign. AARP is a nonpartisan organization, and we do not endorse political candidates nor coordinate with any candidate or political party.”
Really? Only weeks before, as Wall Street Journal pointed out, the email trail between AARP and the White House illustrated an obvious partisan alliance. In one of these emails concerning an invitation to advocate Obamacare publicly, then AARP representative John Rother declined, saying, “Polling shows we are more influential when we are seen as independent.” (Emphasis added.)
“Apparently, AARP believes what their members don’t know won’t hurt them,” observed AFA vice president Buddy Smith.
No longer trustworthy
Smith said due to its doublespeak in the media and its clandestine endorsement of Obamacare, AARP can by no means be considered trustworthy. By endorsing Obamacare and the insurance particulars that would necessarily follow, AARP has set itself up to monopolize a market and make a profit upwards of $1 billion over the next decade.
This monopolization is evidenced by a report released by members of the House Ways and Means Committee. The report stated, “The Obama Administration estimates more than seven million seniors will lose their current Medicare Advantage plans, resulting in a massive migration of seniors to Medigap plans. AARP is the nation’s leading provider of Medigap plans and has a contract in which AARP financially gains for every additional Medigap enrollee.” On top of all this, AARP maintains a tax-exempt status.
Not so neutral
Not only has AARP endangered its constituency by seeking to line its own pockets, but it also contradicts its self-proclaimed nonpartisanship promise. Clearly, AARP has already revealed much in terms of its “nonpartisanship.” Along with under-the-table lobbying for Obamacare, AARP has lobbied for environmental interest groups such as Greenpeace and Sierra Club.
Through this sort of lobbying, AARP again displayed its propensity for doublespeak. On May 8 at a hearing by Alabama Public Service Commission on the state’s utility rate structure, John Coffman, AARP’s lead rate expert, told commissioners that AARP is “fuel neutral.” Shortly thereafter, Dr. Jack Bradford, a member of AARP Alabama’s Executive Council, referred to the group’s “fuel neutrality,” insisting that AARP was impartial about the source of electricity. Bradford was clearly providing the organization’s stance.
Yet, in October 2012, AARP sustainability manager Pam Evans had told AARP members that “cheap energy – in the form of coal – has brought us increased heart disease, cancer, asthma, learning disabilities and neurological disorders in children.”
Evans’s words don’t quite have a “fuel neutral” air about them. Now, to be clear, she was referring to research and was not wrong in doing so. Though some claims are disputed, the use of coal as a source of energy has been linked to health issues noted by Evans. However, her remarks set the stage for Elaine Ryan, AARP vice president of government relations, to say, “We want to see a bill that reduces greenhouse emissions.” Hardly a neutral tone.
These quotes illustrate a very partisan stance from the organization. Again, efforts for cleaner air and renewable energy resources are worthy. But the issue here is not that AARP has erred in its stance. The issue is that it is not the neutral party it claims to be. Furthermore, its stand on cultural and moral issues consistently falls well to the left on the political spectrum.
Smith believes that countless seniors will be excited to discover several alternatives to AARP, groups that are proud to represent openly non-neutral, conservative perspectives. (See more information below.)
60 Plus Association offers a conservative alternative to its liberal competitor for those over 60. Association of Mature American Citizens is another conservative alternative, having participated in campaigns such as “Protect Our Religious Freedom,” “Save Social Security Now” and “Repeal Obamacare.” AMAC is focused on those in the 50 and up age group but offers associate membership to younger persons.
United States Senior Association offers membership benefits to those over 50. Generation America boasts the same sort of benefits for “conservative Americans (Republican, Libertarian, Tea Party and other like-minded individuals).”
The old adage has never been more appropriate: Actions speak louder than words. And as long as AARP continues to act on its liberal leanings, the alternative groups should expect to flourish and grow.
Check it out for yourself – by Buddy Smith
I recently received an unsolicited package from AARP. It included an official membership card with an invitation to join by sending $16.
The letter claimed that a few of the benefits would easily offset the cost of membership and help me “make the most of life over 50.” There was also this pledge: “As an AARP member you know that you’re supporting the nation’s largest nonprofit organization that fights for the rights of all people over 50.”
But exactly what would I be fighting for? One example can be found at aarp.org/pride, an Internet page describing AARP’s support for homosexual rights causes.
If you are a Christian and in the fight for biblical values, please consider this warning: As an AARP member, you are supporting the nation’s largest nonprofit organization that fights against a biblical worldview.
I urge you to investigate the options and choose one that fits your needs and convictions.
These alternatives offer benefits and membership fees similar to those of AARP:
▶ 60 Plus Association 703-807-2070
▶ AMAC 1-888-262-2006
▶ Generation America 1-877-687-4362