AARP welcomes the opportunity for an honest discussion of the issues. The "O'Reilly Factor" is a highly-partisan program and typically does not allow for an open dialogue to take place. Its colorful and controversial host has a history of placing various special interests over those of average Americans by slamming, insulting and silencing those who hold opposing points of view.
Mr. O'Reilly disagrees with AARP's stance on some of our public policy, especially on Social Security. Mr. O'Reilly chose to do his show on AARP the same week that we published an open letter to our members opposing private accounts that take money out of Social Security.
AARP MEMBERS ARE THE IDEOLOGY OF AARP
AARP is not a monolithic organization. With 35.5 million members from all walks of life and political points of view, AARP is as diverse as America itself.
To build consensus on AARP public policy positions, at the state and national level, we rely on input from our members. Our all volunteer Board of Directors approves our national policies, based on recommendations from our (also) volunteer National Legislative Council. Activities and policies in the states are guided by volunteer state legislative councils. We constantly inform our members of our stance on a variety of issues important to them, and they constantly tell us what they think.
Through surveys, polls and other communications vehicles including our AARP The Bulletin, AARP the Magazine, our website and special mailings, we provide members with detailed information, and they respond. We also hear from members through their letters and phone calls as well as their comments on the AARP website.
WHAT WE ACTUALLY DO STAND FOR:
AARP's Position on Social Security
Social Security should be strengthened so that present and future generations can have a guaranteed source of retirement income. While change to Social Security is needed, no major overhaul is necessary to the program that has provided millions of older Americans with a monthly check that is a critical, lifetime benefit. People would have to save an additional $250,000 while working to replace this benefit.
There is a right way and a wrong way to change Social Security. The wrong way is to take money workers pay into the system and divert it into private accounts. This could eventually lead to as much as $2 trillion in benefit cuts, new taxes or more debt. It is also wrong to saddle our children with that kind of debt.
As a nation proud of honoring its commitments, our commitments to the well-being and dignity of people as they age must be paramount. AARP will continue to fight for the invaluable safety net and peace of mind that Social Security provides.
AARP believes in the Constitutional right to bear arms. But to make the nation safer, we must do what we can to keep guns out of hands of children and criminals. AARP supported the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which went into law in 1994 with bi-partisan support, but was allowed to expire this year.
AARP supports measures to eliminate firearm possession by juveniles, convicted domestic abusers and those under domestic violence restraining orders.