Thursday, August 26, 2010

Social Security: "Like a Milk Cow with 310 Million Tits"

The source of that comment, sadly, is not just some wingnut off the street. It's former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson, the co-chairman of President Obama's deficit commission. He has suggested the deficit commission will recommend cutting back Social Security to reduce the deficit.

CBS News reported that Simpson wrote the offensive comment in an e-mail to Ashley Carson, the executive director of the Older Women's League. Simpson wrote Carson that he spent many years trying to stabilize Social Security. However, he wrote,
"Yes, I've made some plenty smart cracks about people on Social Security who milk it to the last degree. You know 'em too. It's the same with any system in America. We've reached a point now where it's like a milk cow with 310 million tits!"

Dean Baker points out that Simpson is not only crude but clueless. Baker says

Simpson seemed surprised by what should have been old hat to anyone familiar with the policy debate on Social Security.


Simpson's public remarks also seem to show very little knowledge of the financial situation of the elderly or near elderly.

Baker notes Simpson doesn't realize that the baby-boomers nearing retirement have had most of their savings wiped out by the collpase of the housing bubble and the stock market.

And finally, Baker points out that Simpson doesn't seem to have a clue as to the type of work that most older people are doing.

While it is possible for senators to continue in their jobs late in life, nearly half of older workers have jobs that are either physically demanding or require they work in difficult conditions.

Here's what you need to know about Social Security: The shortfall is relatively small and far into the future.

Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders wrote a letter on Wednesday asking President Obama to fire Simpson from the commission.
“While there are honest differences of opinion as to how best to tackle this growing problem, we should all be in agreement that everyon working in this area – especially someone in as important a position as the co-chair of your National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform – has a responsibility to be as serious, deliberate, and sober as the challenges we face."

Yesterday, The New York Times reports Simpson isn't going anywhere.