The Washington Post, along with the other Serious People in Washington, is engaged in a full court press to cut Social Security and Medicare. It is prepared to use all the resources of the newspaper to accomplish this end, even if this means ignoring normal journalistic standards.

This explains its front page attack on AARP over its opposition to cuts to Medicare and Social Security. The piece tells readers that AARP, because of its marketing of Medigap insurance, has a conflict of interest in this debate. The argument is that if the age of eligibility for Medicare is raised from 65 to 67, fewer people would qualify for Medicare and therefore fewer people would be able to purchase AARP's Medigap insurance.

The idea that this presents a conflict of interest for an organization that first and foremost is supposed to be committed to protecting the interest of older people is absurd on its face. Polls consistently show that raising the age of eligibility for Medicare is enormously unpopular. It is especially unpopular for the age groups that comprise AARP's membership. This is clearly a phony scandal concocted by the Post to punish AARP for opposing its efforts to cut Social Security and Medicare. 

It is striking that the financial interests of others involved in this debate are never mentioned in news stories. For example, the Post never mentions that Erskine Bowles has received hundreds of thousands of dollars as a director of Morgan Stanley, the Wall Street investment bank. This could help to explain why proposals to impose a financial speculation tax have never been included in any of the deficit reduction packages that he has put forward.