By Manifesto Joe
Alan Simpson, whose daddy was a U.S. senator and governor of Wyoming, leaves me in awe with his resourcefulness. He pulled himself up by his own Republican bootstraps to follow in Daddy's footsteps, serving three terms (1979-97) in the U.S. Senate from Wyoming. And his service to We the People endures. He's serving on President Obama's debt commission, and one of his big goals appears to be cutting Social Security, which is there, he says, as part of the effort to take care of "the lesser people."
Before pursuing this, let's take the time machine back to 1990. Bush 41 is president. Bush 43, the future Il Doofus, is a hapless failure in business who is sort of a White House Doberman for Daddy. Snearin' Dick Cheney is secretary of defense. The U.S. just got through pillaging Panama to abduct its unruly head of state, "Pineapple Face" Noriega, formerly of the CIA payroll. Dick Tracy, starring Warren Beatty and Madonna, is in theaters, and David Letterman jokes about how Dick hates it "when Pruneface kids him about Ishtar." Debbie Gibson still has videos running on MTV, and Rick Astley still has a pop music career.
And, Alan Simpson is a U.S. senator, Republican from Wyoming, and a member of a diplomatic mission to Iraq.
According to the senator at that time, Saddam Hussein mainly suffers from a public relations problem. This is what Simpson told Saddam:
"Mr. President, I can see that what you have here isn't really a policy problem; what you have is a public relations problem. You've got a problem with the haughty and pampered press. I know all about that, because I've got problems with the press back home. What you need is you need a good public relations person."
Here's a link to an article about the entire episode of April 12, 1990. I'm sure it will be noted that Simpson was joined by Sen. Howard Metzenbaum, D-Ohio, in licking the chemical-stained mud off of Saddam Hussein's jackboots. Republicans have no monopoly on foolish behavior -- they just seem to exhibit it disproportionately. And especially toward those nasty reporters.
Fast-forward to 2010. Simpson, now 78 and drawing the hefty pension of a former senator, is co-chairman of Obama's debt commission. And it looks like one of the things he wants to do is cut that nasty Social Security that the "lesser people" rely on.
Thanks to firedoglake.com for staying on this papier-mache man.
I fully expected, since we are mostly living longer, that someday we would see the age of Social Security claims raised. It seemed inevitable.
But now, in the "Great Recession," we're seeing a livelihood bubble developing for people ages 50 to 64, and increasingly, those older. Either we can't get Social Security, or the disincentives for taking it early are too great. And, we can't get jobs. For all the erstwhile talk about how much the baby boomers were going to be needed in tomorrow's work force, we now seem quite expendable. I still have the job I had in the '90s, but have seen massive layoffs of co-workers, and worry about my job daily. My wife had to re-enter the work force recently, and found herself lucky to be able to land a part-time job with no benefits.
And now, Simpson's beloved fellow Republicans in the current Senate are filibustering against an extension of unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless. It's estimated that well over 2 million Americans are now without unemployment benefits, waiting for the job that never comes, and/or waiting for eviction or foreclosure.
This man is, at best, a naive product of a privileged background. At worst, he part of a corrupt elite that has been looting honest working people in the country for generations. We are the people who have been doing the grunt work at demanding jobs all over America so that presumptuous types like him can dine in style while "governing" us.
I have a better idea of something for Simpson to do in his old age: Go back to Iraq, disinter Saddam's rotten corpse, and lick his jackboots some more. That will do far less harm than he seems prepared to do right now to honest working Americans.
Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.