Like many, when I hit 50 I received an invitation in the mail to join AARP, originally the American Association of Retire People. I tossed it. Every year since then I get more invitations…several times a year. If they were big enough to line our cat’s litter box, I’d use them. They’re not so I toss them. Now that I’m Medicare eligible, I get something from AARP several times a month wanting me to sign up for their Medicare Supplemental plan. I ignore these too. Why? Because I will never be an AARP member. I’ll not support one of Obama’s cronies.
AARP purports themselves to be a non-profit association to benefit seniors. They’re not. Terrance Scanlon writing in the Washington Times has investigated AARP. His findings did not surprise me.
AARP doesn’t care about elderly members
By Terrence Scanlon, Monday, May 28, 2012
I’m going to come right out and say it: AARP is about money and power. That’s all it’s interested in.
Formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons, the nation’s largest seniors group hasn’t cared about its elderly members’ well-being for eons. It’s been too busy building a financial empire.
With $1.6 billion in assets and $1.2 billion in revenue in 2010, AARP is a moneymaking powerhouse. The bulk of its money comes not from membership dues but from product endorsements and business agreements with insurance companies.
These mountains of money and the generous salaries that AARP lavishes on its corporate executives recently drew the attention of members of Congress who have asked the Internal Revenue Service to review AARP’s tax-exempt status. Their findings appeared in an eye-opening investigative report, “Behind the Veil: The AARP America Doesn’t Know,” that was issued by Republican members of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Much of the self-described “nonprofit” group’s revenue comes from the sale of supplemental Medicare insurance provided by UnitedHealthcare, which pays a royalty fee to AARP to use its name for marketing purposes. This licensing earned AARP $284 million in 2007, a figure that ballooned to $427 million in 2009 and $670 million in 2010.
As it amasses huge profits, AARP also has become the 800-pound gorilla of special-interest advocacy groups.
As journalist Fred Lucas writes in the current issue of Capital Research Center’s monthly newsletter, Foundation Watch, AARP has a much deserved reputation for throwing its weight around on Capitol Hill.
AARP burned through $198 million in lobbying fees from 1998 to 2010, according to a recent congressional report. That places it behind the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Medical Association and General Electric but ahead of PhRMA, the trade association that represents pharmaceutical manufacturers.
AARP has run afoul of the tax man before. In 1994, it forked over a one-time settlement of $135 million to the IRS to settle an audit over its tax returns from 1985 through 1993. The IRS found that AARP had engaged in commercial activities and had to remit “unrelated business income tax” or UBIT. That same year, AARP also paid $2.8 million to the U.S. Postal Service to resolve claims that in 1991-92 it improperly mailed health-insurance solicitations at nonprofit rates.
Like other “liberal” organizations, AARP lies. They lie about their goals. They lie about their methods. They lie about their motivation. To top it all, they are tax-exempt to boot!
Why should AARP be tax-exempt while it rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties by sponsoring health insurance and offering hotel and travel discounts and deals on auto rentals? That’s the question former Sen. Alan Simpson, Wyoming Republican, asked at a 1995 hearing on AARP’s operations.
…AARP remains a steadfast enemy of even the mildest entitlement reforms. The group would prefer to send the bill for previous generations’ spendthrift ways to young people and those who have yet to be born.
AARP attacked Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, when he advanced an extremely modest proposal last year aimed at getting a handle on exploding Social Security and Medicare costs. Even though it knew the plan would not affect today’s seniors or anyone over the age of 55, a disingenuous AARP-produced TV ad said, “Some in Congress want to make harmful cuts to Medicare and Social Security, cutting your benefits so Washington can pay its bills.” It was complete nonsense, but AARP didn’t care.
AARP CEO Barry Rand doubled down, misrepresenting the Ryan plan in an effort to scare seniors. Although the Ryan plan would not reduce Medicare spending, Mr. Rand told lawmakers in a letter that Mr. Ryan’s “proposed budget caps” would “very likely trigger cuts to Medicare benefits for today’s seniors.”
At the same time, AARP gave its enthusiastic support for Obamacare, which would slash $500 billion from Medicare’s budget. AARP’s cheerleading for President Obama’s socialist health care plan was decisive.
It is quite likely that without AARP’s lobbying for Obamacare, it would not have passed. Their support gave liberals an appearance of support by seniors. Support that, if Obamacare had been fully described and documented, would not have been granted. AARP, through their endorsements exemptions and the new medical referrals and provider pools under Obamacare, would reap huge profits under Obamacare. AARP pursued their own interests at the expense of their members.
At its core, AARP is, in essence, a fraud. Instead of turning their profits back to their members as should a true non-profit organization, they use those funds to support various liberal organizations—like the democrat party and other liberal social organizations. Yes, crony socialism at its best, that’s AARP.
When I signed for United Healthcare’s Medicare Advantage program last Fall, I didn’t know UHC paid royalities to AARP for the use of their name. When it’s time to choose again this Fall, I’ll find another alternative. I do not want any of my money supporting AARP.
I’ve been advised to never feed a fraud. AARP’s political policies do not reflect that of their members. In fact, when members object, AARP ignores them. I’ll follow that advice and will not feed them either.