Thursday, March 31, 2011

Republicans Learning To Play Hardball!

For decades, the Democrats attacked Republican-supporting institutions. They spied on churches and sent the IRS to investigate their tax exempt statuses. They tried to ban corporate giving and attacked the Chamber of Commerce because they favored Republicans. They attacked wealthy Republican donors and groups like the Mormon Church and the Boy Scouts which they saw as being on the “wrong side.” And the Republicans never fought back. Now that’s changing, and it’s about time.

Unlike their ancestors, the new Republicans seem to be getting it. In the budget battle, they’ve specifically targeted federal funding for left wing bastions like NPR and Planned Parenthood. Arizona, Texas and Indiana started cleaning up the illegal immigration mess, much to the chagrin of the race lobby. Wisconsin and Ohio Republicans are going after unions, which is particularly significant because unions have become the backbone of the Democratic Party. Democrats draw money directly from taxpayers through the unions, and union bosses provide Democrats with “workers” for political campaigns. All of this will be a huge blow to the Democratic Party, as it will end their taxpayer subsidy.

Now three House Republicans are targeting another Democratic stronghold -- AARP. AARP is ostensibly a non-partisan interest group that represents old people. Indeed, they need to be non-partisan to maintain their tax exempt non-profit status. But everyone knows they aren’t non-partisan. Consider this:

● AARP opposed tax cuts under Reagan and Bush.
● AARP worked to defeat the nomination of Clarence Thomas.
● AARP helped Clinton defeat the balanced budget amendment.
● AARP supports gun control and lobbied to strengthen the Brady Bill.
● AARP supports entitlements for illegal aliens.
● AARP partnered with race-hate group La Raza to promote amnesty and drivers licenses for illegals, and to end enforcement of immigration laws.
● AARP calls homosexuality a civil right and opposes the Defense of Marriage Act.
● AARP pushed heavily for Obamacare even though it would cut $500 billion from Medicare, THE program upon which all of its members rely.
● While AARP does not contribute to candidates, AARP executives give overwhelmingly to Democrats.
AARP has 1,800 employees in Washington and they lobby. John Boehner notes that “AARP is one of the most liberal organizations in Washington, D.C.” And for their efforts, AARP gets around $83 million a year in direct payments from the federal government, not to mention their non-profit status saving them from hundreds of millions in taxes.

Now Republican Reps. Wally Herger (Ca.), Charles Boustany (La.) and Dave Reichert (Wash.) are challenging AARP’s tax exempt status and demanding the IRS investigate. They point out that while AARP claims to speak for seniors, it actually “operates in direct opposition to their senior membership.” Specifically, in lobbying for Obamacare, AARP supported a bill that would drain $500 billion out of Medicare, which would hurt seniors severely. Why would AARP do this? Because AARP stands to make an additional $1 billion over ten years as a result of Obamacare because AARP gets paid to refer seniors to insurance that fills in the gaps in Medicare. . . which will now have $500 billion in new gaps.

Moreover, AARP-sponsored insurance policies are not cheaper for seniors than policies seniors could get alone on the open market, and several AARP executives are paid seven-figure salaries. . . none of which is consistent with AARP being a non-profit. Indeed, a quick look at AARP’s funding is rather illuminating as to AARP's true nature. AARP gets most of its money from selling insurance and advertising. In 2008, AARP was paid $652 million in royalties from insurance companies for referrals. It also received $120 million for advertisements inserted in its publications. By comparison, it collected only $249 million in membership dues. Of this, Boustany said:
“During this investigation it became very clear that despite its privileged tax-exempt status, in many cases, AARP represents a for-profit entity, in fact, an insurance company.”
Of course the Democrats are screaming bloody murder as they always do whenever their allies get attacked. Democrat Sander Levin (Mich.) called this a “witch hunt.” Boo hoo hoo.

First of all, the Republicans are right that AARP is not a non-profit. It is clearly a very large for-profit insurance referral company -- so large it belongs in the Fortune 500. Secondly, its lobbying is clearly partisan. Thus, it cannot be a non-profit. Third, I don’t care if it is a witch hunt. The Democrats have tried to stifle anyone who disagrees with them for decades by passing laws against them and sending the IRS after them. It’s time the Republicans started playing the same game. As long as only Democrats are willing to use this weapon, they will continue to use it with impunity. Only by doing to their friends and allies what they have done to everyone else will the Democrats ever be stopped from playing these destructive games. And if that damages a couple of Democrat-fellow-traveler institutions in the process, then all the better.

Their next target should be the ABA and the AMA.

30 comments:

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: Big vote here for going after the ABA! For the fun of irony, I joined AARP when I was still working, but left when their leftist/collectivist nature became apparent. So I was an employed person when I joined the retired persons organization, but retired when I quit it.

DUQ said...

Wow, how interesting! I'm really glad to hear that the AARP is under fire and that their tax-exempt status is being challenged.

CrispyRice said...

I'm not old enough to join AARP, but I wouldn't join them anyway. Let's hope the Republicans stick to their guns.

Wasn't there another group that was trying to be the conservative AARP? I thought I remember something like that.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, The ABA really needs to be dethroned from all of their official/unofficial duties, like vetting potential judges. They are an arm of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and they need to be treated as such.

Good for you quitting AARP.

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, Yep. And it's about time too! I'm thrilled these new Republicans are attacking these supposedly sacred cows who are hiding behind facades of being "neutral" when they really aren't. Let's hope this goes somewhere!

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, I wouldn't join them either. All you'd be doing is giving your money to a left wing cause.

There was another group. I can't think of the name though, so I'll have to go look that up and get back to you.

And yeah, let's hope the Republicans stick to their guns on this!

Tennessee Jed said...

I guess the question is "who gets to determine if they are or are not tax exempt?" It always seems to come down to party line. It is one thing to deny funding which we can do with control of the House. But making them subject to taxation will require the decision be made by someone who is a) non-partisan b) has common sense.

Maybe this stuff gets done if we can capture the WH and Senate in 2012.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, The decision will actually be made by the IRS. What happened is that Congress just investigated AARP and these Republicans are looking at forwarding the report to the IRS and telling them to investigate. That's what Clinton did with the churches in 1996 -- though he had more power as he directly controlled the treasury.

What they are looking at otherwise (though they only hinted at this, but didn't say it) is cutting ARRP's government funding and changing Medicare in ways that AARP won't like. I suspect they're going to be looking to the referal fees and their effect on seniors.

I think it will take until 2012 to get these things done, but I'm glad that the Republicans are finally starting to play the same games. It's incredibly frustrating seeing the Democrats do these things to Republicans for years and the Republicans just standing there going "gee, we don't like that." You have to fight fire with fire if you want the other guy to stop using fire as a weapon.

I see this as part of a much larger trend that is sending things in the right direction by neutering the Democrats fake-neutral allies.

Joel Farnham said...

Neutralizing most of the Democrat strongholds is most satisfying. I don't expect all of the squishes to go with it though.

LawHawkRFD said...

There was the American Seniors Association and the 60 Plus Association, but the most recent was the Alliance for Retirement Prosperity. They haven't made a dent in AARP's wall. For one reason, they don't have the $21 million in lobbying money that AARP spent last year alone.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I don't either. But the new crop of Republicans have been very solid on these issues and I suspect that 2012 will bring even more of them to Washington. So I think we're at the beginning of something very good here.

And I'm with you 100%, I love seeing these Democrat-sympathizers being attacked.

Anyone else you would add to the list?

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, That's it -- the 60 plus Association. I knew it had "60" in the name, but I hadn't had a chance to look it up yet.

Ed said...

I'm liking what I'm seeing from the Republicans too. It's about time our side fought back against what they've been doing for years. Also, there is no way AARP isn't partisan. I've never seen them support anything the Democrats didn't support! And what do guns, illegal aliens and gay marriage have to do with old people?

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, It has nothing to do with representing seniors. In fact, it runs contrary to that because allowing illegal immigrants to go on benefits only cuts the available pool of benefits that pay into Medicare and Social Security.

The fact is, AARP is just another progressive group -- all red in politics and greedy and fraudulent when it comes to making money.

StanH said...

I really do hate these bastards. The 501-c-3 status of many liberal organizations should be revoked, the AARP being the poster child. This is another reason to illuminate the tax code, and close down K-Street permanently. It’s simply institutionalized theft.

The AARP have been after my wife and I for several years, no chance.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, I agree. All of these guys need to be cleaned out -- each 501(c) nonprofit that is actually nothing more than a mouthpiece for left wing politicking. It's ridiculous that they are getting tax breaks so that they can use the money against us!

I'm glad you haven't joined! Let's hope more people wise up and drop their membership.

Ed said...

I've been trying to come up with lists of these groups. You've got the unions, the race groups like the NACCP, the gay groups, AARP, the professional groups like the lawyers and the doctors (gun control is a health issue? seriously?), you've got the child welfare people, and you've got the environmental groups. I'm not sure what else I'm missing?

Ed said...

Also, I'm looking forward to tomorrow's film article. :D

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, I haven't tried to compile a list, but I'm sure that most interest groups will fall into that. Even the business groups that claim to be pro-capitalism and thus should be anti-Democrat tend to be more about extracting benefits from the government for their members than they are about setting America on a solid course. Thus, groups like the Business Roundtable pushed Obamacare to take their health care costs off their balance sheets and dump them on the taxpayers.

The best thing to do would be to make it illegal for 501(c) entities to lobby in any way, and then take the money out of politics by ending the ability of Congress to pass laws upon request.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, I'm working on it! LOL!

T_Rav said...

Andrew, I think this is great news!--but I would add a warning. If the Republicans are going to go after them, they can't fold. Because the root of our problems is the entitlement system we have that is collapsing under its own weight, and advocacy groups like AARP will never allow it to be scaled back as it needs to be. If the Republicans are really serious about doing this, they absolutely cannot backtrack.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, I agree on both counts. First, it's great news that the Republicans are serious not only about making changes, but also about attacking the people who have been standing in the way of those changes.

Secondly, they can't back down. Backing down would doom reform until it's too late. If they back down, then they will be sending the signal that all you need to do is get a big interest group to start flooding Washington with calls and it will be back to business as usual.

They've started this, they need to understand that the people will reward them if they do it right, and they need the strength to stand firm.

BevfromNYC said...

Now if Congress will just make it against the law for AARP to send you junk mail before you are 65. It is very upsetting to be turning a certain age (which is hard enough) without having AARP REMIND you that you're "getting up there". It should be a felony...

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I believe that entitles you to claim self-defense if you go on a killing spree at AARP HQ. I'm not sure, but I think that's the law! ;-)

I wonder how they know how old people are? Do you think Social Security is selling this information?

T_Rav said...

Andrew, NEW TONE!!! You can't go around talking about a killing spree, man. Do you want the AARP people to sic their friends at the History Channel on you?

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, I meant that it a left-wing totally-justified sort of way, so it's ok! :-)

Besides, the History Channel doesn't scare me!

BevfromNYC said...

Anyway, Andrew, if the History Channel gets out of line again, we can always get the Military Channel to beat them up...

AndrewPrice said...

Ooooh, good point Bev! Cable peace through the superior Fire Power Channel!!

:-)

rlaWTX said...

cable peace thru Superior Fire Power Channel! Love it!!!

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, That should become our new motto! LOL!

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