In Will America Grow Up Before It Grows Old?
Peter Peterson lays out in chilling detail the coming fiscal crisis that threatens to bankrupt the United States when the baby-boom generation slips into retirement. In The AARP
, Charles Morris explains why. The culprit? The American Association of Retired People (AARP). According to Morris, until the television program "60 Minutes" blew the lid off of AARP in 1978, the organization was basically a front for selling overpriced insurance to the elderly--its political activism on behalf of retired people largely a cynical effort to establish credibility. Although the organization has clearly put those days behind it, AARP has yet to become an advocate for sound policies that would benefit society as a whole. As a result, this 800-pound gorilla of American politics may be dragging the country toward a monetary quagmire the likes of which it has never seen.
From Publishers Weekly
This book might more accurately have been titled Old Age Entitlements and You, for vast, important segments deal with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid without reference to the American Association of Retired Persons as an organization. The AARP information is not uninteresting, but neither is it especially revelatory; Morris (Computer Wars) reviews its early history as an agency that primarily marketed insurance and other products to the aging via direct mail. Today's reformed AARP, which opened its files to the author, gets high marks from him as "an invaluable policy resource on senior issues" and as "one of the most responsible of all Washington lobbying organizations." On the fiscal soundness of old-age entitlement programs, Morris, like others in and out of Congress, warns us of the danger to Medicare and Medicaid, and stresses that although Social Security is not now in crisis, the program will become insolvent within 35 years, when some 70 million baby boomers begin to retire. In clear language, Morris interprets statistics and offers suggestions on medical reform and on how to avoid bankruptcy of senior entitlement programs, proposing what he describes as "muddling-through reforms." If his proposals are not original-means tests, increasing the age of eligibility to 70, improving self-regulation of excessive treatment in terminal illness, etc.they reiterate the urgency of the problem.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.