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Join NOW's "Tits for an Ass" Campaign and Call on President Obama to Fire Alan Simpson

Former Republican Senator from Wyoming Alan Simpson, who this week called Social Security "a milk cow with 310 million tits," is unfit to continue as co-chair of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.  If he doesn't have the decency to resign, President Obama should fire him. 

TAKE ACTION: Join our "Tits for an Ass" Campaign!  For every $5 you send to the National Organization for Women, we'll deliver a baby-bottle nipple to the White House in your honor as we call on President Obama to relieve Simpson of his duties on the commission.

Alan Simpson has made no secret of his hostility toward Social Security. Now he has also come forward with a shockingly demeaning email that suggests the roots of his hostility may lie in sexism and ageism against the women who depend on Social Security to survive.

In a recent e-mail to Ashley Carson, Executive Director of the Older Women's League (OWL), Simpson said: "I've spent many years in public life trying to stabilize [Social Security] while people like you babble into the vapors about 'disgusting attempts at ageism and sexism' and all the rest of that crap." He continued, telling her to "take a look at the chart on Page 6 which I hope you are able to discern if you are any good at reading graphs."

Simpson concluded his sexist rant with the following:

"And yes, I've made some plenty smart cracks about people on Social Security who milk it to the last degree. You know 'em too. It's the same with any system in America. We've reached a point now where it's like a milk cow with 310 million tits! Call when you get honest work! Al"

TAKE ACTION NOW: Join our "Tits for an Ass" Campaign!  For every $5 you send to the National Organization for Women, we'll deliver a baby-bottle nipple to the White House in your honor as we call on President Obama to relieve Simpson of his duties on the commission.

Background

President Obama created the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform by executive order, ostensibly to recommend legislation to eliminate the federal budget deficit by 2015.  He named as co-chairs former Republican Senator Alan Simpson, a longtime foe of New Deal programs like Social Security, and Democrat Erskine Bowles, who advocated for risky privatization schemes in the 1990s. 

Although Social Security has nothing to do with the federal budget deficit, Simpson has used his position as commission co-chair to attack Social Security from the get-go.  On the very day the commission was created -- before it had even begun to gather facts about the budget deficit -- Simpson told Fox News: "We are talking about Social Security."  A scant four days later, he reaffirmed to CNBC: "We are going to stick with the big three [Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid]." 

Simpson has spent his entire time on the commission trying to convince the U.S. public that cutting Social Security benefits will somehow help reduce the federal deficit. That simply isn't so. Social Security has nothing to do with the federal budget deficit. Its financing is completely separate from general revenues. In fact, by law, Social Security funds are not permitted to be directly spent on government operations other than its old age, survivors and disability programs.

Oh, and that tired old saw that Social Security isn't solvent, and won't be there when most of us retire? That's not so either. Social Security is solvent all the way to 2037 because of steps taken back in 1983, which successfully prepared the system for the retirement of the baby boomers. And with very modest tweaking, the system can be solvent through 2084. (For more details, see the Social Security Trustees 2010 Report.)

The good news is that the people of this country are not fooled. They know that Social Security belongs to the workers who earned it, not to the government and certainly not to Alan Simpson's Fiscal Commission. Polls show overwhelming opposition to cuts in Social Security -- huge majorities of Democrats, Republicans, Independents, even Tea Party supporters don't want benefit cuts. And despite Simpson's cynical efforts to pit the young against the old, calling Social Security recipients "greedy geezers," huge majorities of young, old and middle-aged people say they don't support benefit cuts, now or in the future.

Here's what we hear Social Security-cutters like Simpson and Bowles are talking about:

  • Privatizing the system: Republican leaders have suggested trotting out this idea again, even though it went down in flames when George W. Bush tried to sell it in 2005.
  • Republicans and some Democrats have suggested directly cutting benefits to anyone who earns more than $60,000 per year -- these are said to be high-income earners.
  • Increasing the official age of retirement to 70 years. This has also been floated by Democrats as well as Republicans. It is a cruel and unworkable idea that would penalize workers who perform heavy physical labor, like nurses who lift on average about one ton per day. Anyone who physically can't work to age 70 would have to take "early" retirement and receive substantially lower benefits for the rest of their lives. It's estimated that each year of increase in the retirement age is equivalent to an 8 percent cut in benefits.
  • There is also talk of raising the cap on taxable income for the payroll tax from its current level of $106,800 per year. This is something NOW agrees should happen, but only for the purpose of strengthening the Social Security system when that will be needed decades down the road -- not for bailing out the federal operating budget.

The fact that the Fiscal Commission is mostly white and male makes their suggestions particularly reprehensible, because raising the retirement age and/or cutting benefits would fall most harshly on lower-income workers and people of color.  And women are particularly at risk.

For millions of women, the "three-legged stool" of retirement (pension, savings and Social Security) is already frighteningly wobbly.  Less than one-third of women have pensions. Moreover, after a lifetime of wage discrimination, many women have little in the way of personal savings. The picture is worst for women of color. Almost half of single African-American women and Latinas aged 18 to 64 have zero or negative net worth, according to the Insight Center for Community Economic Development.  Between the recession and the jobless recovery, millions more women have lost their jobs and their homes and have seen their savings and investments disappear. As a result of all of this, Social Security is the one thing that keeps millions of women from falling out of the middle class and into poverty.

Alan Simpson's abusive email to the executive director of OWL is only the latest example of his disdain for women as a class.  His calculating attacks on Social Security recipients demonstrate that same disdain -- and with frightening consequences for millions of us. 

Please join our "Tits for an Ass" campaign!  For every $5 you send, we'll deliver a baby-bottle nipple in your honor to the White House as we demand that the president fire Alan Simpson. 

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