Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Alan Simpson: Asshole, Idiot, Well Respected Person

At this point there is very little that Alan Simpson could say that would shock me. He's basically called for dismantling social security while serving on a presidential commission, and nothing. He's ranted about "enema man". Nothing seems to hurt his "seriousness" within the beltway media.

Along those lines, I don't expect that to change despite the fact that last week he:

a) Made an obscene gesture "to the AARP"

b) Has no clue what social security is/does
WASHINGTON -- Alan Simpson’s cold relationship with AARP is no secret, but the former Republican Senator from Wyoming took it to a new level Friday. At an event hosted by the Investment Company Institute, Simpson delighted the finance industry audience members by aiming a rude gesture at the leading lobby for senior citizens.

Financial and investment interests have long been supportive of Simpson’s broad critique of Social Security, since privatizing the old-age and disability support program would be a tremendous boon for Wall Street’s financial managers. ICI represents mutual funds and other money managers who control more than $13 trillion in assets.

Simpson’s forceful gesture came after an extended diatribe against Social Security, which he said is a "Ponzi" scheme, "not a retirement program.”

Simpson argued that Social Security was originally intended more as a welfare program.

"It was never intended as a retirement program. It was set up in ‘37 and ‘38 to take care of people who were in distress -- ditch diggers, wage earners -- it was to give them 43 percent of the replacement rate of their wages. The [life expectancy] was 63. That’s why they set retirement age at 65” for Social Security, he said.
Oh wait, there's more:
HuffPost suggested to Simpson during a telephone interview that his claim about life expectancy was misleading because his data include people who died in childhood of diseases that are now largely preventable. Incorporating such early deaths skews the average life expectancy number downward, making it appear as if people live dramatically longer today than they did half a century ago. According to the Social Security Administration's actuaries, women who lived to 65 in 1940 had a life expectancy of 79.7 years and men were expected to live 77.7 years.

"If that is the case -- and I don’t think it is -- then that means they put in peanuts," said Simpson.

Simpson speculated that the data presented to him by HuffPost had been furnished by "the Catfood Commission people" -- a reference to progressive critics of the deficit commission who gave the president's panel that label.

Told that the data came directly from the Social Security Administration, Simpson continued to insist it was inaccurate, while misstating the nature of a statistical average: "If you’re telling me that a guy who got to be 65 in 1940 -- that all of them lived to be 77 -- that is just not correct. Just because a guy gets to be 65, he’s gonna live to be 77? Hell, that’s my genre. That’s not true," said Simpson, who will turn 80 in September.
The fact that Alan Simpson said the words "Catfood Commission" means that an angel gets their wings, and firedoglake gets some sort of prize.

This series of quotes at the end of the article really emphasizes how crazy he is:
Simpson said that questioning his data wasn't helping to solve the underlying problem.

"This is the first time, the first time -- and Erskine [Bowles, the deficit commission co-chair,] and I have been talking for a year and many months -- that anyone’s going to sit around and play with statistics like this," he told HuffPost. "Anything I tell you, you repudiate. You’re the first guy in a year and a half who’s stood out here with a sharp pencil playing a game that doesn’t have a damn thing to do with: 'What the hell are you going to do with the system?'"

The former senator enjoys a pension for his service in Congress, which lasted fewer than 20 years.

At the ICI event on Friday, Simpson called the members of AARP “38 million people bound together by love of airline discounts” and derided the group as concerned only about its own profit. He called AARP Magazine a "marketing instrument."

"Are these people patriots or marketers? That’s a harsh statement, and I intend it to be,” he added.

“They’re 1.5 percent of every mailing in the United States. One-and-a-half percent!” he griped, thrusting his fist into the air and gesturing toward AARP. “Gah! Jeez!”
There is literally nothing this man can do to lose his "respectability" in Washington.

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