Pop Culture

AARP for Millennials?

Meet the 26-Year-Old Trying to Create an AARP for Millennials

By Harry Cheadle | Source: Vice |  April 8, 2016

A simplistic but not exactly wrong, way to think of politics is as a collection of interest groups playing a many-sided game of tug-of-war. The gun lobby wants to make it easy for people to buy guns. Abortion rights groups want to make it easy for women to access abortions. Many conservative Christians want to make it hard for some people to use the bathroom. But one player stands out above all others, one interest group truly terrifies politicians, one lobby rules them all: old people.

Old people's dominance in politics is so ubiquitous that it usually goes unremarked upon, just like fish probably don't talk a lot about water. But the older-50 crowd and their premiere lobbying group, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), is a behemoth. In 2014, Al Jazeera reported, AARP had 38 million members and a budget of $1.8 billion. As a result of AARP's efforts—and the tendency of older Americans to vote in large numbers—talking about cuts to Medicare or Social Security has become the most electrified third rail of American politics.

All of the major candidates for president support leaving those entitlement programs intact—when Ted Cruz discusses reforms like raising the retirement age, he's careful to emphasize that these changes won't affect today's seniors. Even Donald Drumpf, who has joked about killing someone and has no problem suggesting that the US military should be allowed to commit war crimes, won't say anything controversial about Social Security.

Read the full story on VICE.