Alan Simpson should be put out to pasture

Obama advisor Alan Simpson likened Social Security to a “milk cow with three hundred ten million tits” recently. In so doing, he managed to piss off Democrats, people who receive or hope to someday receive Social Security, and the National Organization of Women. It’s a disparaging comment, a sexist comment and an extremely privileged comment from someone who’s too wealthy to depend on Social Security.

For those who are unfamiliar with Social Security in the United States: all your life, deductions are taken from every paycheck for Social Security. You pay into it your entire working life. Then, at retirement age, you collect a monthly check, which is for a pretty modest amount. It’s intended to supplement your life savings, not cover all your expenses in old age.

So, you know, after paying your earned income into this system for all these years, you are not just a farm animal lining up at a trough when you expect to, like, actually get the promised monthly check when the time comes. Social Security works just like investment banking: the government gets a nice chunk of my money now to spend as it will or let it earn interest (ha! like they’ve heard of savings!), then Iget  the money back in installments (if I survive long enough). It’s a total win-win for them, and I actually debated putting this on What Privilege instead of Hathor because, honestly: I’m less concerned about yet another old fart being sexist (yawn) as I am about my government thinking we ordinary people are selfish entitled grubbers for wanting back the money we paid in, which they used to fucking ruin a once robust nation in just a few years of their own group get-rich-quick scheming. If they’re that deluded, that’s scary.

Why are we not having a revolution already? Are people that cowed? Oh, that’s right – the government has the nukes. Jesus.

People are calling for Obama to fire Simpson, but he won’t. It would be the classy thing to do, but privileged folk stick together. Mark my words. I would love to be wrong about this, and I’ll give Obama full dues if I am.


  1. Patrick McGraw says

    And hey, all those people who suddenly became disabled were just freeloading off of Social Security Disability. They could have worked if they wanted to.

  2. DragonLord says

    I suspect that the reason that there is not revolution is because of the illusion of democracy. After all, in theory in a few years “the people” could get rid of him. In reality all that really happens is that a huge popularity contest is held where the people with the most donations have the advantage, and everyone in that strata of society gets to play musical chairs in the government.

    In many ways it works in a similar way to the idea that there are always a few guns in a firing squad that are loaded with blanks, so that everyone that fired can tell themselves that their gun didn’t have a real bullet in it.

    • says

      Yeah, I just can’t understand why the delusion persists. It’s been really obvious to me since childhood that rule by the people was just a pretense. Govt, organized crime… can’t see the difference in the US.

      • DragonLord says

        I think it’s because they always play the history, tradition, and sympathy cards.

        (you probably know this already) Basically when they implemented the system there was no mass communication, no easy way to get from one side of the country to the other in less than a month, etc. And so people had to listen to the representatives of each person that wanted to be elected, and then decided who amongst those that were presented they wanted to speak for them when it came to electing the president.

        With this sort of interaction democracy works fine as everyone has at least a semi informed decision to make. And I don’t know about in the US, but in the UK we spent quite a lot of time studying Oliver Cromwell (the founder of our parliamentary democracy) during the early stages of school, and then we never really heard about it again.

        I and a few friends think that the only way that we could correct these deficiencies would be to have a media blackout running up to the election, ban all auto voters (I voted this way because I’ve always done it and so has my …), and force contributions to be via blind pots, so that no one knows where the money came from.

  3. scarlett says

    Um… who the hell THINKS this, let alone SAYS it?

    Is social security really not designed to cover full living expenses? I thought that was the point of the welfare system in general.

    • says

      That is the point of welfare in most nations, but we do things a little differently in the US: none of our public assistance programs are intended to pay all of one’s living expenses. Except, actually, I think the social security benefits for children who’ve lost a parent are decent, but that’s the only one I know of.

      The theory is that this inspired people to get off their asses and go out and make some money. The problem is that we apply this to disabled people with extraordinary treatment expenses who can’t possibly earn enough to cover their own care; we apply this to old people who are as unemployable as a sack of grain according to our ageist business community; we apply it to the mentally ill who can’t take care of themselves (there are no public hospitals for them – Reagan saw to that – if family can’t care for them, they are welcome to die on our streets); and we applying it to the unemployed, even though in the last several economic downturns there was no question everybody was looking hard for work and there was just none to be found.

      • Scarlett says

        Actually that’s something that’s come up in a few of Picoult’s books – that if you have someone who needs round-the-clock care/expensive medical treatment and you’re NOT independantly wealthy, then you’re shit out of luck. Shame she didn’t explore that more, would have made for far more interesting books.

    • Patrick McGraw says

      Indeed, despite having Medicare cover my dialysis costs, my Social Security Disability payments were not enough for me tom live on my own. I was lucky enough to be able to move in with my parents, which allowed me to barely scrape by.

      All that government spending on kidney patients? Signed into law by Richard Nixon. The Republican party of today would have branded him a communist for that.

    • Shaun says

      And you can’t get disability unless you’ve been disabled for a YEAR or your disability is expected to kill you. Which means if you’re injured and can’t work you’re ineligible for unemployment and you’re ineligible for disability for a full year–the only government program you can get is food stamps and maybe a grab bag of state benefits, if applicable.

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