Ex-Senator Alan Simpson is a co-chair of Barack Obama's deficit-reduction commission, and many liberals fear that he'll take a wrecking ball to Social Security. And now that a grumpy, comical email rant of Simpson's has leaked, liberals are downright livid.
Simpson's intemperate comments about Social Security have worried liberals ever since the bipartisan deficit commission convened, months ago. He seems to think the system is in crisis, when in fact it's fully prepared to meet obligations through 2036. And if the cap on salaries paying Social Security taxes is lifted a bit higher than the current $106,800, that should keep the system solvent through about, say, the rest of the century. Social Security's not a complicated program with exponentially rising costs, like Medicare. Revenue comes in, checks go out, the end.
But Simpson is apparently so thin-skinned about rumors of him wanting to drastically cut the program that he's writing nasty, old-man emails to critics like Ashley Carson, executive director of The Voice of Midlife and Older Women, formerly the Old Women's League (OWL). Carson had written some Huffington Post column calling Simpson ageist (even though he's 900 years old) and sexist. It wasn't a big deal. This is what special interests groups representing old women would write, after all!
Someone was good enough to forward me your column of "Enough with the Pink Panthers Bit" of April 27, 2010.
Some of what you say is true. Much is not - but that's nothing new about public life for me! I have news for you too, my friend. There may be no group called the Pink Panthers working to protect Social Security but I sure as hell am! I've spent many years in public life trying to stabilize that system while people like you babble into the vapors about "disgusting attempts at ageism and sexism" and all the rest of that crap.
Now hold on tight, because you won't like what I'm sending you. You may obviously be aware that the Social Security system is "in trouble." If you don't agree with that, then there is no need to read any further. But I wish to share with you the presentation by Stephen C. Goss, Chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration on May 12, 2010, to the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. If you think the statistics on poverty for seniors are alarming - then you need to read this little pamphlet to know what is really alarming.
If we can't get a handle on this system and make it sustainable and assure long-term solvency, and make some changes that are "minor" at the present time and will become "major" as each year passes, then take a look at the chart on Page 6 which I hope you are able to discern if you are any good at reading graphs - or anything that might challenge your biases and prejudices.
Anyway, have a look at it and if you should choose, you might communicate with me. If you have some better suggestions about how to stabilize Social Security instead of just babbling into the vapors, let me know. And 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! Call when you get honest work!
Easy now, Montgomery Burns. Stop slamming the typing machine.
[Image via AP]