This week former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY) took to the airwaves of Fox News and Bloomberg Television's "Street Smart" to again deride AARP and attempt to instill panic about a solution to Social Security's long term needs. His comments willfully ignore what our members, volunteers, and hundreds of thousands of Americans have been involved in across the nation since March: a conversation on the future of Social Security and Medicare called "You've Earned a Say."
The reason Simpson gave for calling AARP playground names was that he hadn't "heard a peep" from AARP with regard to the 2012 Social Security Trustees report released last month. One of many such examples of Simpson's willful ignorance appeared on CBS News, who commented on AARP's response the day the Trustees report was released saying "I'm sure the report's release will unleash the usual rhetoric from both sides of the Social Security funding issue. The AARP took a refreshingly middle of the road approach."
That approach is, simply, that Social Security provides the foundation of retirement security in this country and Americans who have earned their benefits deserve a voice in any discussion about the future of this program. " You've Earned a Say" - the conversation Simpson insists we're not having - is helping Americans make their voices heard at events in all 50 states, on earnedasay.org, via mailings, e-mails and telephone town halls. "You've Earned a Say" is working to get Washington to listen to how different proposals politicians are discussing would affect millions of Americans and their families.
Mr. Simpson's rhetoric does nothing to further an open, national conversation about how to strengthen Social Security, which must start with the facts. Social Security, in fact, has a $2.7 trillion surplus. The program is not in crisis, but will require modest changes to ensure current and future generations receive the benefits they've earned. If we don't panic and consider any proposed solutions thoughtfully, Social Security can remain the stable program it's been over the last 76 years. Please join us in this important conversation.