AARP Takes Strong Stand Against Privatizing Social Security
Any day now we should be seeing newspaper ads sponsored by the American Association of Retired People (AARP) opposing President George W. Bush’s efforts to change the Social Security program by establishing private investment accounts.
The two-week ad campaign will cost AARP, one of the nation’s major senior citizen advocacy groups, about $5 million. The full-page advertisements will appear in more than 50 newspapers around the country.
An AARP official said the attempt to privatize part of the Social Security program will be its signature issue for the next two years.
The ads will say, “There are places in your retirement planning for risk, but Social Security is not one of them.”
Another ad shows a middle-aged couple saying, “If we feel like gambling, we’ll play the slots.”
The AARP boasts 36 million members age 50 and older. The ad campaign represents a sharp swing from the organization’s backing of Medicare drug prescription reform championed by the president over a year ago when it came up for a vote. AARP support helped to get the historic change approved by Congress, but the proviso caused some dismay among its members who didn’t feel the drug prescription plan would benefit seniors very much.
Speaking on the proposed changes in Social Security, the powerful lobbying group said through its president, Marie F. Smith, and its chief executive officer, William D. Novelli, that private accounts are not the remedy for the ailing system. Diverting some of the funds earmarked for the system would weaken the program and put benefits at risk for some future retires.
But Bush feels that workers’ investing their Social Security contributions in the stock market could result in a higher rate of return than presently and build up a bigger retirement nest egg for them. The president has made this one of his major issues and it’s expected to spark a major fight this year with Congress. One major drawback cited by opponents is that the changes required under the president’s plan will cost about $2 trillion.
AARP CLAIMS VICTORY: On another major issue, this one in New York state, AARP hailed the signing of a bill by Governor George Pataki which will give new protections for residents of assisted living facilities. The bill signing marked the successful end of a five-year lobbying battle by the senior advocacy group.
Under the new law, operators of assisted living facilities must be licensed, regulated and inspected on a regular basis. The legislation creates uniform admission and discharge policies; requires disclosure of information on services, rates, staffing levels, billing and payment procedures, and provides $500,000 to the state ombudsman program that helps residents to resolve problems with facility operators.
AIRLINE DELIVERS HOLIDAY CHEER: Sterling Glen of Forest Hills, an assisted senior living residence at 112-50 72nd Ave. in Forest Hills, was the site of a recent landing by Jet Blue Airways which delivered holiday cheer to some 67 residents of the community.
Jet Blue sponsored the community service project, which featured a holiday celebration and personalized gifts for each Sterling Glen resident.
Sterling Glen Senior Living offers independent, supportive and assisted senior living and services for the memory-impaired. It also offers home care services through an independent agency. For information, call toll-free 1-877-378-4020 or visit www.Sterling Glen.com.