“Simpson-Bowles” Targeting Seniors, Again… & Again

“Simpson-Bowles” Targeting Seniors, Again… & Again

LEFT Margin
by Carl Bloice,
BC Editorial Board

The Black Commentator
May 31, 2012 – Issue 474


“A central feature of “Simpson-Bowles” is it would

reduce resources available to seniors and people with

disabilities and would raise the retirement age.”

Last Sunday Erskine Bowles of “Simpson-Bowles” fame told CNN’s
Fareed Zakaria that President Obama had not asked him to take
over as Treasury Secretary when Timothy Geithner leaves the
job and further, that he wouldn’t take the post if it were


To paraphrase columnist George Will’s comment on George Romney
seeking Donald Trump’s support, why would the President even
consider such a bad idea?

Reuters says speculation about who might take the post in the
event Obama returns to the White House after November has
engaged in by “economists, investors and veterans of past

Bowles was President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff. He came
to the job straight from Wall Street. He’s a partner at
private equity firm Forstmann Little & Co, a founding partner
Carousel Capital, and was among the brass at Morgan Stanley,
North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Co., General Motors, Belk
stores, real estate developer Cousins Properties and Norfolk
Southern railway. Last September, he became a member of the
Board of Directors at (stay seated) Facebook.

“Erskine has held important roles in government, academia and
business, which have given him insight into how to build
organizations and navigate complex issues,” said Facebook
honcho Mark Zuckerberg.

In 2010, Bowles was appointed by Obama to co-chair the
National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform with
Alan K. Simpson. The commission labored for months and, alas,
was unable to come up with a report that its 18 members could
agree upon. In the end, Bowles and Simpson issued a report in
their own name, and since that time has been promoted as the
“Simpson-Bowles report” issued by “the President’s own deficit
reduction commission” which it was not. Like Dracula in the
moonlight it pops up with each news cycle.

Last Sunday, just so we wouldn’t forget it, New York Times
columnist Thomas Friedman inserted the term “Simpson-Bowles”
five times in one column. He wrote that enacting its
provisions would fix the country’s ailing economy by “trimming
future growth in Medicare and Social Security and reforming
taxes.” (Advocates of this scheme usually avoid indicating how
taxes would be reformed, whether it would mean more revenue,
and whose taxes would be affected).

A central feature of “Simpson-Bowles” is it would reduce
resources available to seniors and people with disabilities
and would raise the retirement age. For this it has earned the
sobriquet “Catfood Commission,” a reference to the practice of
elderly turning to pet food when their meager incomes are
depleted by the cost of things like heating oil and housing.

Back in August 2012, Bowles’ partner in all this, Sen. Alan
Simpson (R-Wyo.), sent out an email that described Social
Security as a “milk cow with 310 million tits” that prompted
calls for his removal as commission co-chair. However, after
he was said to have apologized for the remark, a White House
spokesperson said that while the Administration regretted the
remark, Simpson would nonetheless remain in the position.

Simpson and Bowles were in California in April to rally
support for their joint report before an audience at Oakland’s
Paramount Theater where they were met by picketers from a
number of Bay Area senior and disability advocacy
organizations. Simpson was not amused. He later sent a letter,
on Senate stationary, to the California Alliance for Retired
Americans saying “What a wretched group of seniors you must be
to use the faces of the very people we are trying to save
while the `greedy geezers’ like you use them as a tool and a
front for your nefarious bunch of crap. You must feel some
sense of shame for shoveling out this bullshit.”

The diatribe concluded, “If you can’t understand all of this
you need a pane of glass in your naval [or, perhaps, navel] so
you can see out during the day!”

“The American people deserve and expect a true dialogue in
which retirees are more than ‘greedy geezers’ and those with
opposing world views aren’t treated with the total disrespect
you hand out so freely,” Max Richman, chief executive of the
National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare,
and a former staff director of the Senate Committee on Aging,
shot back in a letter to the former senator asking, “isn’t it
long past time to elevate the conversation beyond personal and
profane attacks on those you simply disagree with?” He called
upon Simpson to “cease and desist with the mean-spirited…and
hate-filled personal attacks on America’s seniors.”

And to think one of this dynamic duo might have been poised to
be put in charge of our country’s finances. It causes one to

[BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board member Carl Bloice is a
writer in San Francisco, a member of the National Coordinating
Committee of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy
and Socialism and formerly worked for a healthcare union., and
is one of the moderators of Portside.]


About leftmargin

Journalist and Columnist View all posts by leftmargin

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