Somewhere in the midst of wrangling over the debt ceiling and arguing over how to reduce our national spending while increasing our national revenues, Social Security benefits got thrown into the mix.
While it’s certainly nothing new for our lawmakers to argue over the future of the Social Security program, this particular round of discussions has many AARP members (including its leadership) up in arms over proposed cuts to Social Security benefits. It’s no small wonder the AARP would object to any spending reduction programs which involve cuts or caps on Social Security benefits. The AARP is the largest advocacy group for American Senior citizens, most of who depend on Social Security benefits for some or all of their income.
Our senior citizens have worked long and hard to qualify for Social Security benefits which have been promised to them and the AARP seems unlikely to accept any reduction in Social Security benefit payments or programs lying down. Rather, the AARP has been actively lobbying the President and members of Congress to work out an agreement which deals with the national deficit and debt without making cuts to Social Security programs.
Whether or not that can be done remains to be seen. While some believe the threat of Social Security checks not being mailed on time or not being paid in full is just so much political saber rattling, others believe that cuts to Social Security programs may very well be in the making.
One particularly strong argument which the AARP has made to the President and Congress is that Social Security is not what caused or contributed to the national deficit and that it should not, in turn, be cut to make up for the debt which the deficit has caused over the years. The AARP has made plain time and again that it does not consider any cuts to Social Security programs which seniors rely on to be acceptable.
One of the proposals which the AARP takes particular umbrage against is the proposal to use a “chained” consumer price measurement instead of the traditional Consumer Price Index (CPI) to determine cost of living allowance raises for Social Security benefits. The proposal suggests that people with limited means avoid buying more expensive items as prices rise, thus making the actual change in their lifestyles less significant. The AARP contends that any attempt to limit cost of living raises which are not tied to actual inflation and the consumer price index is a back door method of trying to reduce benefits over the long run.
Regardless of what is worked out in our government’s budget, there will be some winners, some losers, and a lot of really unhappy people. The AARP is doing what it can to make sure that the brunt of the added financial strain doesn’t land on the back of our senior citizens, causing undue hardship for a group of people who are often already dealing with severely limited resources. Many of us who aren’t yet old enough to join the AARP would do well to consider that we will eventually reach retirement age, too.