Social Security and milking cows

August 25, 2010

An email by deficit commission co-chair Alan Simpson saying the Social Security retirement program has reached a point “where it’s like a milk cow with 310 million tits” is prompting calls for his resignation.

Ashley Carson, executive director of OWL which calls itself the voice of midlife and older women, said the email sent to her by Simpson was “insulting.” Other comments about “greedy geezers” by the former Republican senator fail to recognize that many older women rely on less than $12,000 a year in Social Security benefits, she said.ECONOMY/JOBS

“We’re demanding for Mr. Simpson to step down as co-chair,” Carson said, adding that if he won’t go voluntarily, then President Barack Obama, who created the commission, should ask him to leave.

Simpson, who is known for his biting sense of humor, sent Carson a letter to “apologize for what I wrote,” saying he knew she cared “deeply about strengthening Social Security” and offering to meet with her.

“Over the last 40 years, I have had my size 15 feet in my mouth a time or two. To quote my old friend and colleague, Senator Lloyd Bentsen, when I make a mistake, ‘It’s a doozy!,’” Simpson added.

The email to Carson from Simpson was dated this week even though it was in response to a column she wrote in April, “Enough with the Pink Panthers Bit,” that criticized some of Simpson’s comments about advocacy groups fighting potential cuts to Social Security benefits.

Simpson tells her to “call when you get honest work.”

The bipartisan deficit commission is considering recommending cuts to future benefits and raising the retirement age as a way to shore up the finances of the 75-year-old program.

The 18-member panel is looking at other spending cuts as well as a long list of tax breaks in its quest to recommend ways to reduce the $1.4 trillion budget deficit.

Advocacy groups for the elderly fear the commission, which is to report its recommendations to Obama in December, will only reach agreement on cutting Social Security.

Carson said OWL opposes raising the retirement age or benefit cuts. She said Social Security’s finances can be shored up by raising the cap on the amount of income that is currently subject to the Social Security payroll tax. Currently the first $106,800 of income is taxed at a 12.4 percent rate and that is equally shared by employee and employer.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing  (National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform co-Chairmen Alan Simpson (left) and Erskine Bowles (right)).

One comment

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Ms. Carson — as a woman, I say: don’t dish it out if you can’t take it.

You fired the first salvo in your article, claiming Mr. Simpson made “disgusting” attempts at “ageism” and “sexism”, had a “record” of sexism and was “constantly bashing seniors.” He responded in an admittedly hot-headed EMAIL (ie. informal correspondence) which you obviously chose to release to the public. I don’t find him describing social security as a milk cow with “tits” (obviously he meant “teats”) sexist — it’s a farming term!

Frankly, you embarrass me as a woman because you make personal attacks on him, then he responds, and YOUR response is “Waaa! He’s mean! I don’t like it!! Off with his head!”

Also, you claim, “Social Security doesn’t contribute to the problem, and in fact runs an enormous surplus.” Really? Maybe this year, but where’s the reserve account? My homeowners’s dues runs at a surplus for this year as well, but that doesn’t mean we’ll have enough to pay for snow plow, driveway repair, staining and fixing the roof in years to come if we don’t set aside a reserve. Simple accounting.

He’s offered to meet with you to discuss further. I suggest you do something truly constructive for your advocacy group and go meet with him.

Posted by Tory1 | Report as abusive