AARP as Full Subsidiary of Democrat-Union-Progressive Alliance
Given the popular impression of the AARP, I’d wager that this activity would strike most people as a bit like AAA advocating against a fuel allowance for state workers:
The hand-wringing over Rhode Island’s pension crisis has the state chapter of the AARP so worried it has taken out a half-page newspaper ad and booked a radio spot to warn past and present government employees of what is at stake for them in the discussions about to get under way at the State House.
The ads have been timed to run on the Tuesday that state lawmakers are headed back to Smith Hill for the first time since June for a briefing on the $9.4-billion pension-funding gap that threatens to bring the state — and many of its cities and towns — to the breaking point.
Framed as an open letter from the AARP’s state director, Kathleen Connell, to Governor Chafee, the newspaper ad draws attention to the “looming threat” that some of the options discussed in recent months by a pension-advisory group pose to “retirees’ economic security.”
Given the strong union involvement in the pension discussion, perhaps the AARP wishes to lay the groundwork to address surprise developments. Any result that harms taxpayers will be just dandy; any result that changes the terms of public-sector retirements will be the result of shady, non-transparent manipulation.
It’s interesting to note that — although the letter/ad tries to raise public-sector pensions to the status of a symbol and beacon for all retirees — AARP Rhode Island expresses no concern whatsoever about the well-being of retirees and future retirees who must pay for those pensions, even as fixed incomes give way to increases in taxes across the board.
One can imagine a strategy meeting of the Rhode Island Left-union alliance at which the AARP was advised to focus on “transparency” and other neutral good-government aspects of the pension-reform process so as not to seem too partisan. Ms. Connel didn’t pull it off.
Apparently, it would be a travesty to require Bob the public worker to put in a few more years of work and to have to budget based on a dollar amount that doesn’t automatically climb beyond inflation every year. Yet, if Beth the widow from the private sector, has to add a decade of work to her plans or, if she’s already retired on a fixed income, to sell her house because the taxes and cost of living leave inadequate resources to eat, she doesn’t make the cut for the AARP Rhode Island’s vision of “retirement security.”