|Alan Simpson served from 1979 to 1997 as a United States Republican senator from Wyoming before being appointed in 2010 to co-chair President Barack Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, which is tasked with coming up with a plan to bring down the federal budget deficit and to propose ways to hold down the surging costs of government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.|
Last year in August when Simpson made that remark, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) had sent
President Obama a letter urging him to fire Simpson.
"Simpson's comments are highly insulting to the tens of millions of senior citizens, persons with disabilities, widows and orphans who have contributed into this highly-successful program and who now utilize it," the letter says. "It is false and demeaning to say that these people, the vast majority of whom have worked their entire lives and contributed into the Social Security system, are somehow 'milking' the system."
The commission's proposal for eliminating the nation's $14+ trillion in debt included components such as increasing taxes and gradually raising the retirement age for Social Security to 69 years, prompted an unprecedented amount of flak from opponents, to which Simpson responded to by referring to modern Americans as the "greediest generation".
Read the nasty e-mail Alan Simpson received in response from one very irate senior citizen (And Snope's assessment of the facts).
AARP Senior Vice President Drew Nannis blasted Simpson's "woeful disconnect from or disinterest" in the challenges facing many Americans, but oddly he stopped short of calling for Simpson's resignation.
But as of today in June 2011 Alan Simpson's still there, and now he's lashing out at both parties while debating the debt limit that must be resolved by August 2nd.
SIMPSON on the Republicans: "You can't run a country without taxes. Ronald Reagan increased taxes 11 times, for God's sakes, in his eight years, to make the country run. Let's get serious here."
SIMPSON on the Democrats: "It's disappointing to me. I wouldn't have done this job if the president said everything is on the table. But what's really disappointing is to hear him [Obama] talk about bipartisanship all over the place to the big forums and then get into an intimate fund-raiser where he just rams it to [Paul] Ryan and the Republican Party. That's not right."
OBAMA's response: "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. And I don't think there's anything courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don't have any clout on Capitol Hill."
Alan Simpson has been a long-time supporter of rolling back the New Deal, and when asked about cuts he would recommend to the President and Congress, Simpson said, “We are going to stick to the big three,” meaning Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Simpson starts from the premise that the Treasury will default on the bonds issued to the Social Security trust fund, because all the best people apparently know that it’s better to default on America’s senior citizens and plunge them into poverty than it is to default on, say, the Chinese.
Despite Simpson’s assertions, raising the retirement age to 70 is a benefit cut. It would put an estimated 1.5 million senior citizens into poverty. After two years of watching billions of dollars in taxpayer money being paid out to Wall Street CEOs in lavish bonuses while the White House breaks every promise they’ve made to rein them in, that takes a fat load of nerve.
The commission is also looking into cutting Medicare benefits, because the deal guaranteeing no-bid Medicare contracts to the pharmaceutical industry by both Republicans and Democrats can’t possibly be abrogated. The committee claims it’s independent, but it’s not THAT independent.
Maybe it was the way Alan Simpson was raised. Simpson's father, Milward Simpson, also served in the Senate and voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Video and full transcript of the Alan Simpson interview with Alex Lawson.