The slime campaign has begun against AARP, which opposes Social Security privatization. There's no hard evidence that the people involved - some of them also responsible for the "Swift Boat" election smear - are taking orders from the White House. So you're free to believe that this is an independent venture. You're also free to believe in the tooth fairy.
Putting aside that the 'Swift Boat' election smear consisted in telling the truth about 'war hero' John Kerry's military career, let's take a trip down memory lane with Paul and the AARP:
AARP Gone Astray
By PAUL KRUGMAN
This is a good bill that will help every Medicare beneficiary," wrote Tom Scully, the Medicare administrator, in a letter to The New York Times defending the prescription drug bill. That's flatly untrue. (Are you surprised?) As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities points out, the bill will force millions of beneficiaries to pay more for drugs, thanks to a provision that cuts off supplemental aid from Medicaid. Poorer recipients may find previously affordable drugs moving out of reach.
That's only one of a number of anti-retiree measures tucked away in the bill. It contains several Trojan horse provisions that are clearly intended to undermine Medicare over time ....
Yet the bill has a good chance of passing, thanks to an endorsement from AARP, the retiree advocacy organization, which has already begun an expensive advertising campaign on the bill's behalf. What's going on?
....AARP has thrown its weight behind an effort to ram the bill through before Thanksgiving. ....
Many of AARP's members feel betrayed. ....
Over the years AARP has become much more than an advocacy and service organization for older Americans. It receives more than $150 million each year in commissions on insurance, mutual funds and prescription drugs sold to its members.
And this Medicare bill is very friendly to insurance and drug companies. ....
So do AARP executives support this bill because they hope to share in the bounty? Maybe, but it probably runs deeper than that. Once an advocacy group becomes as much a business as a service organization, its executives are likely to start identifying more with industry interests than with the groups they are supposed to serve.
....Am I being too cynical? How could I be? ....
So it should come as no surprise that Medicare "reform" appears likely to be another triumph for the coalition of the bought-off — a coalition that, sadly, includes AARP.
My heart is crying, crying
My pillow nevers dries
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