The Huffington Post reports that AARP CEO Barry Rand is inviting outspoken safety net opponents to an “off-the-record, salon style” meeting on March 27th on the future of social security, called The E Street Exchange.
The guest list includes US Chamber of Commerce Tom Donohue, Merrill Lynch Executive Harold Ford Jr., former MI Gov. John Engler from the Business Rountable for corporate CEO’s and others who have gone on record repeatedly in favor of benefit cuts to critical programs like Social Security and Medicare.
Once again, AARP is working behind the scenes to build support for benefit cuts while masquerading about as an ardent defender of the safety net to its massive, dues-paying membership.
This is outrageous, and AARP should immediately call off the event and disavow this shameful attempt to throw its weight behind benefit cuts. Firedoglake is demanding AARP CEO Barry Rand cancel the E Street Exchange and end back-room strategy sessions with prominent social safety net opponents.
Last summer, our campaign of over 32,000 activists was successful in getting AARP to backtrack after their board voted to drop its opposition to social safety net cuts.
But while AARP is offering a pathetic 6-question survey and ‘town hall series’ called “You Earned A Say and We’re Listening” as a gesture towards “listening” to their 40 million+ membership, it seems they are most interested in adopting the same kind of off-the-record, unaccountable negotiations over benefit cuts that have characterized numerous attempts to dismantle the social safety net over the past few years — from the Catfood Commission to the Super Committee.
Laughably, while Rand’s E Street Exchange is holding “relaxed and robust” discussions on “Strengthening Social Security: Facing up to the Challenge” with Washington’s 1%, AARP’s survey assures its members: “…AARP is taking the debate about the future of these programs out from behind closed doors in Washington, so you can make your voice heard.”
Clearly, just from looking at the invitation to their salon style talk, nothing could be further from the truth.
The E Street Exchange is scheduled to take place in Washington, DC on March 27th, and we’re going to do everything we can to stop this silent assault on the social safety net. I hope you will join us in once again holding AARP accountable for its actions.