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UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See prorev.com for full contents of our site

March 24, 2010

OBAMA CALLS ON ALAN SIMPSON TO TARGET SOCIAL SECURITY

UNSILENT GENERATION - No one is even trying very hard to pretend that the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform has any purpose other than cutting Social Security, Medicare, and probably Medicaid as well. That choice was clear from the get-go, based on Obama's choice of Alan Simpson to co-chair the commission. The former Republican senator from Wyoming has already described his mission as "saving" the United States from "insolvency" by hacking away at entitlements. And if we want any more proof, we need only look at Simpson's background, as detailed by Saul Friedman in his latest "Gray Matters" column:

"This time President Obama, in his obsessive reaching across the political aisle, may have gone a stretch too far. For the Republican he picked to co-chair the so-called deficit reduction commission, former Sen. Alan Simpson, has been a harsh critic of Social Security and Medicare. And he sought to destroy their most powerful defenders, especially AARP.

"That was 15 years ago, but as recently as 2005, Simpson, a conservative from Wyoming who left the Senate in 1997, supported attempts by President George Bush to privatize Social Security by turning part of the pension and insurance program into millions of individual investment accounts, which by now would have lost 20 percent of their value. Bush's plan failed, largely because of the opposition of AARP and other advocates that Simpson sought to discredit.

"Even now, Simpson, who should know better, conflates or deliberately confuses Social Security's long term fiscal problems, which are minor, with its supposed contribution to the federal deficit, which is almost nil.

"In an interview with the NewsHour after his appointment, Simpson said of Social Security, 'You have two choices. . . you either raise the payroll tax or decrease the benefits or start affluence testing. The rest of it is B.S. And if the people are really ingesting B.S. all day long, their grandchildren will be picking grit with the chickens. This country is gonna go to the bow-wows unless we deal with entitlements, Social Security and Medicare.'"

In an interview on CNBC, Simpson referred to cutting entitlements as "correcting Social Security."

Simpson also told old people and their advocates to stay out of the debate, since the cuts would only apply to younger people. . .


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