Friday, October 01, 2010

A little T&A

Updated Yesterday, in a wonderful bit of political theater, Terry O'Neill, President of NOW, presented professional jackass Alan Simpson a bag of 1500 plastic baby bottle nipples in a campaign called "Tits for an Ass."

It was intended to dramatize their demand that Simpson have the "decency" to step down from Obama's Fiscal Commission in the wake of his calling Social Security "a milk cow with 310 million tits" and telling Ashley Carson of the Older Women's League to "get honest work!"
“The Fiscal Commission should be led by someone who will actually try to address the federal budget deficit, instead of using it as an excuse to undermine Social Security by cutting benefits or raising the retirement age,” O'Neill added. “Alan Simpson is not that person.”
Of course, the oh-so-serious pundits had to look for ways to dismiss it. The eternally-smirking Dana Milbank referred to it as "chest-bumping" between Simpson and NOW, focusing as always on the peripheral rather than the meat of the actual issue. Meanwhile, Tracy Clark-Flory, a staff writer at Salon who is so serious that she got the vapors just typing the phrase "Tits for an Ass" (no joke; she claimed doing so made her blush), called the action a "pathetic" "stunt" that only made NOW "look ridiculous." I can't understand how she could say that while also saying "I'm not sure" if the protest was "an effective way of communicating [the] point" that Simpson shouldn't be on the panel, but serious pundits don't have to be consistent.

She also appeared - it was hard to tell, but she appeared - to think the protest was over Simpson using the word "tits" in writing Carson. NOW's press release is focused entirely on Social Security and mentions the milk cow phrase only to call it an insult to "those who depend on Social Security." But of course, serious pundits are not required to have their facts straight, either.
Simpson didn't address NOW's criticism during the hearing, but co-chair Erskine Bowles, President Bill Clinton's chief of staff, defended Simpson's stance on Social Security.

"For those of you here today that want to save Social Security, I can assure you that the one thing Alan Simpson talks about is simply making Social Security solvent for 75 years," he said. "You don't have to worry about Alan Simpson."
Well, we could make Social Security solvent for far longer than 75 years, I expect, by raising the retirement age to 85 and cutting benefits in half. Problem solved. Oh, no one's proposing to do anything like that? (Aside from the privatizers, that is.) Well, you can't deny that it would make the system solvent for a very long time, yes? So the real issue is not making - actually keeping is the accurate word - the system solvent, it's how you do that.

Which means that, to use Simpson's words, "babbling into the ether" about "making Social Security solvent for 75 years" is utterly, completely, totally, vacuous. It means nothing, it tells you nothing.

But it sounds all good and reassuring, yes? So when Erskine Bowles says "You don't have to worry about Alan Simpson," by "you" he doesn't mean us. He means the people who put him where he is. As I said a bit back, Alan Simpson is not on the President’s Fiscal Commission despite his attitudes, he's there because of his attitudes. And don't you forget it.

Footnote the One: A month ago, Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research offered a terrific "quick list of study questions on Social Security for Simpson." I won't try to summarize it here be I urge you to check it out, especially #1, as that relates to something I've said more than once, most recently just over a month ago: The business about the system being able to pay only 75% of scheduled benefits in 2037 is thoroughly, totally, bogus because it does not take into account the real (post-inflation) value of those benefits.

Footnote the Two: According to The Hill,
Standing on one side of the dais, O'Neill presented the bag of nipples to Simpson, who didn't take them, but just smiled and said, "You should send that to a children's hospital."
Close: They were trying to give them to someone acting like a child.

Updated with Footnote the Three: I see where Simpson dismissed O'Neill with "Merry Christmas." Now, how can we entrust planning for our nation's fiscal future to someone who doesn't even know what month it is? And if you think that reasoning is silly, consider his on the subject at hand. I think I come out looking rather good.

No comments:

// I Support The Occupy Movement : banner and script by @jeffcouturer / (v1.2) document.write('
I support the OCCUPY movement
');function occupySwap(whichState){if(whichState==1){document.getElementById('occupyimg').src=""}else{document.getElementById('occupyimg').src=""}} document.write('');