They say that crawfish walk in a forward motion but when they’re threatened or faced with an uncertain circumstance they tuck their tails between their claws and walk backwards. So in the South we have a saying when someone is confronted with something they said or did and they start trying to talk their way out of it; we say they’re “crawfishin’ it” …..(interpretation – “trying to talk your way out of it”).
This week in the news we heard about the latest with AARP, (the powerful nonprofit organization and I quote from their media person “that fights for the rights of individuals over the age of 50“), who appeared to be dropping its longstanding opposition to cuts to Social Security benefits as noted in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, then the group backed away from those comments (crawfishin‘) and are now saying they never said that.
Last Friday afternoon, they issued a statement, claiming “inaccurate media stories” on its Social Security stance and said “AARP is as committed as we’ve ever been to fighting to protect Social Security for today’s seniors and strengthening it for future generations. Contrary to the misleading characterization in a recent media story, AARP has not changed its position on Social Security.”
In a phone interview with the New York Times policy chief John Rother stated, “Our goal is to limit any changes in benefits but we also want to see the system made solvent. You have to look at all the tradeoffs and what we’re trying to do is engage the American public in that debate,” said Rother. They’re hoping to hold town hall meetings across the US in hopes to sell the disgruntled seniors on the changes that are coming (with the appearance that they are wanting their feedback).
What happened was that when the media began to speak about talks of changes in benefits and it went viral they started panicking because for years they have been known to be opposed to cutting benefits under the federal retirement program. Now Congress is currently considering moves to shore up the Social Security trust fund, which is expected to run out of cash when the Baby Boomer generation is in full retirement mode.
What Was Said?
On Twitter, Kel Munger wrote , “as a member, I’ll be plenty ticked if they throw SS under the truck,” In Alabama, Stacy Hyatt wrote on Twitter, “Time for Seniors 2 Revolt! AARP forgets Seniors are the largest dependable voting block!”
According to President Obama’s spokesperson he claims he opposes changes to Social Security that would reduce payments to current beneficiaries or sharply cut future benefits. “No current beneficiaries should see their basic benefits reduced,” Jay Carney, White House press secretary, said. “We will not accept any kind of reform that slashes benefits for future beneficiaries.”
Meanwhile, one of the more difficult decisions faced by couples nearing retirement is when to take benefits under the program. Now, no one really knows because it’s all up in the air.
I am headed to Vegas on Sunday for the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) annual conference to be a part of the press/blogger team and will be blogging the whole conference experience. One of the keynote speaker’s just happens to be Barry Rand, CEO of AARP. I’m hoping to get the scoop and report it back to you. If I see him walking backwards out of the auditorium, I’ll let you know.