From the Wyoming Capital Journal:
CHEYENNE--During Al Simpson's nearly 50 years in government, he hasn't been afraid to take on critics and naysayers of his work in the U.S. Senate or on a variety of high-profile commissions and committees.
But as the co-chair of President Obama's debt commission, the Wyoming Republican said he's been taking an unprecedented amount of flak for the commission's draft proposals to help erase the nation's $13.8 trillion debt.
"I've never had any nastier mail or [been in a] more difficult position in my life," said the 79-year-old Simpson. "Just vicious. People I've known, relatives [saying], "'You son of a bitch. How could you do this?'"Not surprisingly, many of the debt commission's draft proposals to cut the debt by nearly $4 trillion by 2020 -- from raising the retirement age to 69 by 2075 to bringing in $1 trillion more in tax revenue -- have won strong opposition from liberals and conservatives alike.
But Simpson said that while every interest group that testified before his committee agreed that the mounting federal debt is a national tragedy, they would then talk about why government funding to their area of interest shouldn't be touched.
"We had the greatest generation -- I think this is the greediest generation," he said.
All this hubbub isn't a surprise to Simpson, given how politically polarized the country is these days.
"You don't want to listen to the right and the left -- the extremes," he said. "You don't want to listen to Keith Olbermann and Rush Babe [Limbaugh] and Rachel Minnow [sic] or whatever that is, and Glenn Beck. They're entertainers. They couldn't govern their way out of a paper sack -- from the right or the left. But they get paid a lot of money from you and advertisers -- thirty, fifty million a year -- to work you over and get you juiced up with emotion, fear, guilt, and racism. Emotion, fear, guilt, and racism.
A few points:
Raising the retirement age will not cut the debt. Social Security is fully funded through 2039--ask the CBO: http://www.cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=11580 -- and is paid for by payroll taxes (currently12.5%, matched by the employer, and capped at the first $75,000 of earned income). The Federal debt caused by S.S. is the money invested in T-Bills (which is how China "lends" us money). The trillion bucks raised by the increase in retirement age will keep S.S. in the black but will not reduce Federal debt.
Here is the real kicker:
"Catfood" wants to raise retirement age because we are living longer, but that is only true in the average life span. In other words, the Rich and their children are living longer--the poor die sooner, making them less likely to collect the S.S. they paid into, more so if they have to work until 69 and, later, 75. And the Poor and Middle Class work harder for their money than do the rich.
A much better way of funding S.S. is to remove the income cap so that all earned income is taxed. That would allow full retirement at 60 years and no chance of depleting the fund. Republicans don't like that because it means the Rich would pay more than they would ever get back. But how do the Rich get rich? By selling oil, credit and insurance to the Middle Class and Poor, so why shouldn't they pay more? Problem solved.
Okay, "Catfood's" stupid comment about Olbermann and Maddow:
They are not entertainers, they are journalists. Beck and Limbaugh are not either, they are demagogues who make money scaring people who dwell in ignorance (I saw that first hand when, fleeing before the Federal Flood, I wound up with relatives in Lake Charles. These were good, Catholic people with decent educations, but they watched only Fox "news" and so had a very skewed view of the world. When Auntie S, reading the morning paper, asked "Why does the ACLU hate America?" -- because O'Reilly and Limbaugh said so -- I countered with a mild explanation of how the ACLU defends the Constitution and pulled out my card. She didn't speak to me for 3 days).