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Meet the Man Who Perversely Argues for Cutting Social Security Benefits to "Take Care of the Lesser People in Society"

Deficit Reduction Commission member Alan Simpson caught in an extraordinarily revealing exchange.

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SIMPSON:  Just listen, will you listen to me instead of babbling?   In the year 2037, instead of getting 100% of your check, you are going to get about 75% of your check. That’s if you touch nothing. If you like that, fine. You’ll be picking with the chickens yourself when you’re 65.

So we want to take care, we’re not cutting, we’re not balancing the budget on the backs of senior citizens. That’s bullshit. So you’ve got that one down. So as long as you’ve got those two things down, you can’t play with anymore, that we’re not balancing the budget of the United States on the backs of poor old seniors and we’re not cutting anything, we’re stabilizing the system.

LAWSON:  Thanks for being so frank. My question is: raising the retirement age, is actually an across-the-board benefit cut?

SIMPSON:  There are 15 different options being discussed in here today, and why nail one of them…[inaudible]…if you would like to get one of them that pisses your people off.

LAWSON:  Alice Rivlin was just on CNBC saying that that was one of the favorite methods.

SIMPSON:  There are 15 of them in there. All of them have to do with stabilizing the system, which we are told is insolvent, it’s paying out more then it’s taking in.

LAWSON:  Right now?

SIMPSON:  Yes.

LAWSON:  But what about the $180 billion in surplus that it brings in every year?

SIMPSON:  There is no surplus in there. It’s a bunch of IOUs.

LAWSON:  That’s what I wanted to actually get at.

SIMPSON:  Listen. Listen.  It’s 2.5 trillion bucks in IOUs which have been used to build the interstate highway system and all of the things people have enjoyed since it has been setup.

LAWSON:  Two wars, tax cuts for the wealthy.

SIMPSON:  Whatever, whatever. You pick your crap and I’ll pick the real stuff. It has to do with the highway system, it was to run America. And those are IOUs in there. And now there is not enough coming in every month. You’re paying in every month for me. I appreciate that, I really do.

LAWSON:  Which is how the system was setup, that the current generation funds the retirees.

SIMPSON:  When I was your age there were 16 people paying into the system and 1 taking out and today there are 3 people paying into the system and 1 taking out.

LAWSON:  But isn’t that the good news.

SIMPSON:  And in 15 years there will be 2 people paying in, what’s good news about that?

LAWSON:  Didn’t they plan for that, which is why they’ve been…

SIMPSON:  Of course not because they thought … the retirement … they that you would die at 57 and that’s why they set the date at 65. If you can’t get through this stuff, then why do you spread this crap. The thing was setup when the life expectancy was 57 years and that’s why they set 65 as the retirement date. Now the life expectancy is 78, whatever it is, and so we have to adjust that and make it work for the future people like you in the United States.

LAWSON:  But here’s one question on that, and thanks again for being so frank, life expectancy is not equally distributed across the income spectrum.

SIMPSON:  That’s true. We know that.

LAWSON:  The life expectancy gains is actually this 5.5 years difference between the wealthiest…[inaudible]…and the…

SIMPSON:  We know that, we talk about that. We talk about everything you know. But if you just want to use flash words…

 
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