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Don't Let Dysfunctional Politics Override the Christian Call for Justice

Facing critics from both sides after I quit the AARP.
Don't Let Dysfunctional Politics Override the Christian Call for Justice
Don't Let Dysfunctional Politics Override the Christian Call for Justice

In my recent column for PRISM, I said I was a senior, I was mad, and I was resigning from the AARP. I explained that federal deficits continue to be a problem, not a right-wing conspiracy, and that seniors ought to take the lead in correcting the generational injustice that now exists.

I object strongly to the AARP's refusal to accept even modest cuts in benefits in Medicare and Social Security for some seniors so that we could a) reduce the deficit and b) enable greater federal spending on education, research, and infrastructure to strengthen the economy for our children.

My column was reprinted in several places including the Huffington Post, Sojourners, and the Christian Post. The response – from both left and right – was fascinating and disappointing.

A writer on Salon penned a piece under the headline, "Progressive evangelical attacks safety net." I am just taking my "cues straight from the GOP playbook." And Robert D. Francis in the Christian Century accused me of forgetting about other ways of working at the deficit – like cutting the military and raising taxes on the wealthy.

This is disappointing distortion. In my AARP piece, I explicitly rejected abolishing or privatizing Social Security and Medicare. Both are highly effective government programs. Without Social Security, about one-half of all seniors today would fall below the poverty line. Because of Social Security, less than 10 percent of seniors are poor. Before Medicare began in 1965, more than half of all seniors lacked health insurance. Today, almost all enjoy this security. Those are wonderful results from highly successful programs.

Still, we can't ignore the disparity between spending on today's ...

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