The Aarp: America's Most Powerful Lobby and the Clash of Generations


The co-author of Computer Wars tells the story of how America's largest and most powerful lobby?the American Association of Retired Persons?overcame its shady origins to become a prominent?and responsible?player in the great debate over Social Security and Medicare.

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New York 1996 Hardcover First Edition/first printing New in new jacket ISBN: 0812927532. [4to] xvi.286p. appendix. biblio. index. New in dj protected against wear and tear in ... Brodart Archival Mylar. Read more Show Less

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The co-author of Computer Wars tells the story of how America's largest and most powerful lobby—the American Association of Retired Persons—overcame its shady origins to become a prominent—and responsible—player in the great debate over Social Security and Medicare.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's 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. (July)
Kirkus Reviews
A cursory analysis of the structure and financing of Social Security and Medicare masquerading as an unveiling of the AARP.

Morris (Computer Wars, not reviewed) focuses briefly on the American Association of Retired Persons' tawdry beginnings as a hawker of insurance for Colonial Penn, looks at its present organization and activities, and concludes that it is now one of the most responsible lobbies in Washington, although it's at risk of becoming "merely another remnant of the shrinking forces of the . . . paleoliberal left." He then turns to his real subject: how Social Security and Medicare came to be the way they are and how these senior entitlements can be sustained, an issue he believes is the major public policy question facing the country. He focuses briefly on the reform attempts of the 1980s and '90s, including the successful restructuring of Social Security by the Greenspan Commission in 1983 and the failure of the Bush-Darman deficit reduction package in 1990. In Morris's view, Social Security is fundamentally sound and its actuarial integrity can be maintained with a little astute tinkering. Medicare, he admits, is a bigger problem but by no means a crisis. Arguing that continued rapid growth of the health care industry is good for the economy, he issues repeated warnings against unrealistic attempts at comprehensive health care reform. Instead, policy makers should take the unglamorous approach of hammering out practical, piecemeal reforms. Not wanting to leave these to "the boys in the back room and the silk-suited corporate lobbyists," he offers his own list of suggested reforms.

Although the promise of the title is not kept, tucked away in an appendix are some informative assessments of AARP's principal products, such as various types of insurance, mutual funds, and travel discounts.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812927535
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/15/1996
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.83 (w) x 8.59 (h) x 1.13 (d)

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