Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Granny Bird Award: Alan Simpson

This edition of the Granny Bird Award (given from time to time to those who go out of their way to damage elders' rights and benefits) goes to former Senator Alan Simpson for his work on the bipartisan "cat food commission" and his comments thereafter explaining why Social Security is a socialist plot which was never intended to serve the interests of elders. I could have given him the award months ago, and probably should have, but I was holding off to see how far he could shove his foot in his mouth before someone in the press finally called him on his mendacity.

Michael Hiltzig did just that in a recent column in the Business Section of the Los Angeles Times.

Former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.), who has long been the go-to guy for obnoxiously know-nothing takes on Social Security, this week uncorked yet another spectacularly misinformed "factoid" about the program's history.

In a letter to Max Richtman, a former Senate staffer who now heads the National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare, Simpson asserted that Social Security's creators did not design it to be a retirement program. The letter dated Friday was obtained and made public by ABC News.

Simpson wrote in his unbelieveably rude and ignorant letter to Richtman: "You know damn well that the system was never created as a 'retirement' -- it was an 'income supplement' to take care of folks working in CCC camps and who lost everything in the Great Depression."

It's hard to know what to think of Simpson's version of history, but the term "sheer fantasy" comes to mind. ...
[Emphasis added]

Hiltzig then proceeds to demolish Simpson's assertion by nailing down the actual history of the legislation and the express intentions behind it. It's clear that Simpson's allegations don't even merit the designation of "truthy", much less truth, but that certainly hasn't stopped Simpson from flapping his gums on the issue.

The man is a liar, and his lies go to the very heart of a program that is keeping a lot of us alive and eating. He is, to be polite, an arrant knave whose head is so far up his netherparts that major surgery would be required to restore any vision to him. Ironically, this is from a man who after three terms in the Senate retired with a cushy government pension and the best health care plan the American taxpayers can provide.

But here's the scary part, and Hiltzig nails it:

Alan Simpson obviously has a problem with the facts, and with the basic concept of civility in public discourse. Yet he's been held up by President Obama as a paragon of bipartisan policy-making. So here's a question for the president: Does Alan Simpson speak for him on Social Security? [Emphasis added]

It is the question that should also be posed to Nancy Pelosi, the Minority Leader of the House who has suggested that the catfood commission's suggestions (no report ever issued) must be considered, and to every senator and representative in Congress. Apparently the Democrats have taken this as a fall-back position given the GOP's drive to completely demolish the system in favor of a Wall Street privatized version of retirement funding.


Call, fax, write, email your congress critters and scream long and hard about this travesty. If the funding of the trust fund is such a concern remind them that the easiest, quickest, and smartest solution is raising the payroll deduction cap so that those who make more than $110,000 per year can pay a few bucks more to ensure that their parents and they themselves have a guaranteed income upon retirement.

Do it.


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