Strengthen, don't just cut
In Tucson, Tom Guyott, 62, who just began receiving Social Security payments, recently attended a You've Earned a Say town hall. He wants to tell politicians: "Fixing Social Security doesn't mean cutting it. Strengthen it - and don't define that as just making it cost less."
David M. Mitchell, AARP state director for 17 years, said, "Advocating for Social Security and Medicare have been in our DNA from Day One. But there's something different this year. Now we are reaching out to more members for their opinions, using technology, and we are hearing from more than we've heard from in the past."
AARP Arizona is conducting four tele-town halls through October. Automated calls will extend about 50,000 invitations for each one.
Ginny Correa Creager, 70, of Litchfield Park, a bilingual writer, told a forum: "If you want to drive that old car, you have to maintain it." She repeated the analogy in Spanish: "Si quieren manejar el auto viejo, tienen que mantenerlo." It's exactly the same, she said, with Social Security and Medicare.
Ritch Steven, 66, an AARP lead volunteer from Phoenix, said, "This is about Americans - Republicans and Democrats - all having a voice. It's not about deals behind closed doors."
In the fall, the You've Earned a Say sessions will also include an analysis of some of the leading proposals for changing Social Security and Medicare by representatives of the conservative-leaning Heritage Foundation and the liberal-leaning Brookings Institution.
Ford N. Burkhart, a retired New York Times editor, lives in Tucson, Ariz.
Also of interest: What's in store for Medicare?