Old People Rule America

Budget shows that AARP has all the power
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2011 8:50 AM CST
Old People Rule America
President Barack Obama participates in an AARP tele-town hall on health care, Tuesday, July 28, 2009, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

The unspoken question looming over Washington’s budget battle isn’t how much discretionary spending tol cut; it’s “whether our elected politicians will take back government from AARP,” writes Robert Samuelson of the Washington Post. Both parties obviously quake in fear of the senior citizens’ lobby, unwilling to go near the entitlements for them—Medicare and Social Security—that are steadily growing our debt. Obama claims he wants to “win the future,” but his budget, as well as any produced by the GOP, are all about winning the past.

Obama predicts that annual federal spending will rise from $3.7 trillion next year to $5.7 trillion in 2021. A whopping 60% of that increase will be due to entitlement growth. “No one wants to strip needy seniors of essential benefits,” says Samuelson. But for many, “these programs constitute middle-class welfare.” Yet to pay for this, our politicians would cut infrastructure spending, defense spending, and the already-strained social safety net. “All this is insane. It’s not the agenda of a country interested in its future.” (More Robert Samuelson stories.)

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