Government Handouts to AARP Could Fund a Raise for Social Security

Friday, 29 Mar 2013 07:40 AM

By Michael Carr

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Medicare delivers healthcare to senior citizens and nearly $500 billion a year to AARP. But, like many of the cash-strapped seniors that AARP takes money from, the organization itself needs additional income to make ends meet. Unlike senior citizens, AARP is able to get an additional $101 million in government grants.

All together, AARP received at least $585 million from taxpayers last year, and the organization would struggle to survive without government payments.

According to AARP’s figures, they spent $316 million on member services last year and an additional $130 million on member acquisition. Income from member dues totaled only $266 million. Few organizations could spend half their income on programs to find new members and more than 100 percent of membership revenue on member services.

Financial reports from AARP show just how out of control federal spending has become. Cutting off all government funding to AARP would offset only 1.3 percent of the non-defense sequester cuts.

Rather than cutting the spending from the federal budget, the money sent to AARP could help make a difference to senior citizens. Census data show that there are about 40 million senior citizens in the United States. AARP’s taxpayer handouts could fund a $1.20 per month increase in Social Security payments to each of them.

While claiming to provide a voice for seniors, AARP has been able to turn a significant profit that relies on taking funding away from programs that could help seniors. This is undoubtedly only one of many organizations that reap government benefits to pay for an expensive headquarters building, a $1 million-a-year CEO and a large staff.

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