“Call When You Get Honest Work!”

Does a career politician who’s spent his professional life (like his father before him, and his son after him) on the public tit really want to go there?

If it’s easy to make fun of the Cat Food Commission, it’s even easier to mock “Pink Panthers” and their (our) sensitivity about “degrading, sexist, ageist and profane language”. Silly HuffPo firebagger ladies and their PC pablum, so pre-post-feminist! But, chroist jaysus nekkid on a pogo stick, has Distinguished Ex-Senator A.K. Simpson, VSP changed his first name to Abe?:

The flamboyant (some would say plain nutty) co-chair of President Obama’s Fiscal Commission, Former Republican Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming, who became an instant You-Tube star earlier this summer with a rant against senior citizens, is at it again big-time.
Evidently smarting mightily — and mighty belatedly — from an April 27th Huffington Post blog by Ashley Carson, Executive Director of the Older Women’s League (OWL), Simpson fired off an email Monday. He accused Carson of lying and “babbling into the vapors about disgusting attempts at ageism and sexism and all the rest of that crap.” Piling on the sexist rhetoric, he then instructed her to read a graph which “I hope you are able to discern if you are any good at reading graphs.”
Declining to address whether or not he accepts his own Social Security benefit (he’s pushing 80), Simpson saves the best for last: “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!”

John Kenneth Galbraith, a lifelong defender of America’s Social Security system, often pointed out that those who spent their careers at highly-compensated “intellectual” tasks were more liable to resent mandatory retirement than fear physical breakdown. Someone whose greatest daily challenge on the job is finding a greenroom muffin that satisfies both a rarified palate and the minimum daily fiber requirement may find it easy to forget that working twelve-hour shifts at Wal-Mart isn’t just less monetarily rewarding, it’s also considerably harder on an aging body. As the National Council of Women’s Organizations (NCWO) points out:

Forty-five percent of women over age 65, who live alone, do so in poverty. Women, who earn less on average for the same work as men, are hit again upon taking Social Security benefits; due to lower lifetime earnings, women receive on average less than $12,000 per year in Social Security benefits, while men receive nearly $14,000.
Further, women are not living longer in retirement (low-income minority women have seen decreases in life expectancy), and cannot continue to work more years in physically difficult or demanding jobs. Social Security is not an overly generous program helping all seniors live out luxurious retirements. Social Security provides a base level of replacement income for older Americans who can no longer work, and any cuts to benefits, either in the form of smaller checks or by raising the retirement age, will hurt all generations, forcing more and more Americans back into poverty.

I agree with Paul Krugman on this — it’s time for Obama to fire Alan Simpson.

64 replies
  1. 1
    asiangrrlMN says:

    Goddamn it, AL. It’s too late/early for teh stoopid. What a fucking idiot. Hey, can we have a rescue pet thread instead?

  2. 2
    Yutsano says:

    Bah. I would kill for a McChrystal meeting between Obama and Simpson. But the howls from the Republicans would be non-stop, to the point they would probably not even wait for the election to shut down Congress. Of course that could backfire if they held out too long, after all Congress could let all the tax cuts expire (which I don’t object to) by doing…pretty much nothing.

    Oh and cheer up Paul: Nancy already said if she doesn’t approve of the recs of the commission and she still has the gavel it’s a non-starter.

    And on that note I’m gone. Night y’all.

  3. 3
    roshan says:

    Remove folks who are older than 70 from public policy decision making. They just become fucking too damn stubborn, obstinate and myopic after that age.
    Look at this geezer, Simpson, asshole can’t tell his elbow from his ass and struts around like he is some galtian genius.

  4. 4
    JenJen says:

    I feel kind of small, insignificant, out-of-touch and, frankly, moronic, to have only learned this evening from Keith Olbermann that President Obama hired Alan Fucking Simpson for anything in the first place.

    Jeebus. Bad idea to begin with. Bad idea to continue. Just bad, really.

  5. 5

    If we Libs had any balls we’d find video of an old Simpson speech, edit it heavily to say something totally opposite of what he meant, and release it to YouTube, then call for the Fox News Fainting Couches. Hell, worked for Shirley Sherrod.

  6. 6

    Oh, the best part of this story is Alan Simpson’s “apology.”

    Dear Ms. Carson,
    My wife Ann and I are in Yellowstone National Park for the opening of the new visitor center, so I only just now have had the opportunity to read your response to my recent e-mail. I apologize for what I wrote. I can see that my remarks have caused you anguish, and that was not my intention. I certainly did not intend to diminish your hard work for the Older Women’s League. I know you care deeply about strengthening Social Security, and so do I, just as deeply. I remember your testimony at our public hearing in June about the importance of retirement security for women. Over the last 40 years, I have had my size 15 feet in my mouth a time or two. To quote my old friend and colleague, Senator Lloyd Bentsen, when I make a mistake, “It’s a doozy!”
    Next time I’m in Washington, perhaps we could meet in person, and I could learn further of your sincere concerns.
    Most sincerely,
    Alan Simpson

    Fire this sanctimonious son of a bitch already.

  7. 7
    Kiril says:

    OT, but 538 has moved to the NYT. Time to update the blogroll again…

  8. 8
  9. 9
    stuckinred says:

    Yea, let’s show our outrage about a stupid fucking ageist statement by making fucking ageist statements!

  10. 10
    Napoleon says:

    This is the subject where I have truelove and finally had it with Obama. If they cut SS I have had it.

    Obama lacks the balls to fire Simpson.

  11. 11
    stuckinred says:

    Gale Collins in the NYT proposes an August:

    Voter Bill of Rights.

    Article One: Freedom from being forced to choose between two dreadful candidates when the temperature is higher than 90 degrees.

    Article Two: Candidates cannot talk about their childhood beyond attesting that they had one.

    Article Three: Candidates are required to list all the really serious issue disagreements they have with their party. If they reach six, they should find a different ticket.

    Article Four: Less talking about mosques.

    Article Five: More cat stories.

    She must not read the BJ!

  12. 12
    Guster says:

    I think we all understand who fits the profile of ‘fired by Obama’ and who does not.

    And I think we all know exactly who’s to blame: Jane Hamsher.

  13. 13
    NobodySpecial says:

    Obama cannot fire anyone or the firebaggers win.

  14. 14
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    @stuckinred: Not disagreeing but old white guys is hardly an underrepresented segment of the government policy set.

  15. 15

    @roshan: However, I am willing to bet actual money that he was always this way.

  16. 16
    gene108 says:

    it’s time for Obama to fire Alan Simpson.

    Where’s an obviously edited Andrew Breitbart video, when you need it…

  17. 17
    gene108 says:

    @Napoleon: I’m of the opinion most blue-ribbon commissions don’t have that much real policy input. There’s nothing to indicate this is nothing more than a show to appease the deficit nuts, who wanted Congress to create a commission and act on that commission’s recommendations. The deficit nuts wanted a deficit BRAC entity created. That would’ve been dangerous.

  18. 18

    it’s time for Obama to fire Alan Simpson.

    Why? he’s the best spokesman for what wingnuts really believe. Every time he opens his mouth, he let’s the country know republicans hate SS, and that is good news for democrats. The only power Simpson has is to make a fool of himself and his party. Let em ride that third rail with abandon.

  19. 19
    Snarkyshark says:

    Guster is right-blame Jane Hamsher

    And of course Glenn Greenwald might have the bad manners to point out that Obama’s WH has ALREADY accepted Simpsons apology.

    Fucking retarded “Professional Left”

    Where are the pee cups when you need them?

  20. 20
    LGRooney says:

    I’m not so sure he doesn’t want to get fired. Hell, it’s hard work trying to fix something that isn’t truly broken and someone who has lived as cushy a life as he has doesn’t want to be bothered with hard work when he already has enough money to live exceedingly comfortably even if he continues for another 20 years.

  21. 21
    Surly Duff says:


    You don’t need to have an edited video or speech, he pretty much made himself look like a jackass all on his own. You only have to perform editing tricks when the individual doesn’t actually spout bullshit.

  22. 22
    kay says:

    * Leanne Abdnor (R), Former Executive Director of the Alliance for Worker Retirement Security
    * Sam Beard (D), Founder and President of Economic Security 2000;
    * John Cogan (R), Former OMB Deputy Director;
    * Bill Frenzel (R), Former U.S. Representative;
    * Estelle James (D), Consultant with the World Bank;
    * Robert Johnson (D), CEO of Black Entertainment Television;
    * Gwendolyn King (R), Former Commissioner of Social Security;
    * Olivia Mitchell (D), Professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School;
    * Gerry Parsky (R), Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury;
    * Tim Penny (D), Former U.S. Representative;
    * Robert Pozen (D), Vice Chairman of Fidelity Investments;
    * Mario Rodriguez (R), Hispanic Business Roundtable;
    * Thomas Saving (R), Current Social Security Public Trustee; and
    * Fidel Vargas (D), Vice President of Reliant Equity Investors.

    I think they need a person who is actually dependent on Social Security on this commission.
    I can’t imagine seating a commission on public retirement composed entirely of people who are secure in retirement without Social Security.

  23. 23
    lawguy says:

    @Napoleon: But he hired him. I agree that Simson should be fired, but Obama hired him knowing what his preconceived position was on SS. He hired him because of that position.

    If you ignore that then you are attacking in the wrong direction.

  24. 24
    El Cid says:

    Megan McAddle got her advantages from her rich parents, and her dad made his money with the help of gigantic public construction contracts, so why would any advocates of FREEMAHKITS care about such consistency?

    And why are so few people out there protesting about how all these worthless old shits are out their flaunting their 70 and 80 years already lived and living off the public mammary glands which is somehow being paid for by squeezing the pockets of the Taxed Enough Already (TM) patriotic 18th century yeoman small businessmen of the $10 – $1,000 million dollar a year income range?

  25. 25
    El Cid says:

    @General Stuck: I was thinking that too — y’know, Simpson’s just saying outloud and crassly what many of the ‘bipartisan reformers’ think, so keep him on there. The problem is, though, that unless he starts hosting a radio show and says a racial epithet 400x in a row, he’ll probably just be urged to calm his public comments and whatever he ends up recommending will be treated as a Serious proposal which Serious people need to Seriously discuss on both sides of the political spectrum, no matter how much the immature partisan short-sided majority of the nation feels.

  26. 26
    Homeruk says:

    Maybe just me but I don’t see what the fuss is about? Can someone explain? Why is it bad to cut benefits for the wealthy seniors which is apparently what will be proposed?

  27. 27

    Obama appoints wingnut to SS Commission co chair

    Wingnut says what he believes

    Then realizes what he said was stupid

    Wingnut apologizes

    Wingnut now Obama’s bitch

  28. 28
    PeakVT says:

    I’d like to think Obama is playing umpteenth-dimensional chess here, and that he picked Simpson because he was a wacko in order to discredit the commission. I’d really, really like to.

  29. 29
    Chad N Freude says:

    @roshan: Nothing like a little commenter ageism to complement Simpson’s sexism. How refreshing.

  30. 30
    Svensker says:

    @General Stuck:

    That’s a little optimistic isn’t it?

  31. 31
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Svensker: Optimistic? Naive? Alternate Universe? So many possibilities.

  32. 32


    That’s a little optimistic isn’t it?

    How do you mean? I didn’t suggest Obama planned for Simpson to stick his foot in it. I just described basically what happened. If you really believe that Obama and dems are going to enact drastic cuts in SS bennies and maybe privatize SS in any way, then I have a bridge to sell you. There might be small benefit cuts down the road, as a compromise to get wingers to raise the FICA cap, but SS is the Holy Grail of democratic policy, and despite hand wringing of Obama forming this commission with anything like this in mind is just pearl clutching of the first order imo.

    I think it is as gene@gene108: stated. This is optics politics to distract the deficit hawks and mute their bullshit for at least till after the election. Though appointing people like Jeb Henserling, and a couple other young wingnut firebrands would raise the possibility of one of them saying the truth of what they believe and grabbing the third rail for all to see. The fact that it was Simpson makes it a bigger statement on winger philosophy.

    And the reactionary knee jerk of the pro left is equally predictable when the inevitable happened. We have been through this so many times, Obama seeming to reach out to wingers but giving them very little in actual substance, though at times trimming down down liberal proposals to get the 60th vote. But that is compromise of omission and not commission and also applies to a few conservadems.

  33. 33

    @Chad N Freude: LOL Of course it’s alternate universe, the one we all live in in this country..

  34. 34
    Chad N Freude says:

    @General Stuck: What is the point — i.e., positive outcome for Obama — in giving Simpson or any other political opponent the opportunity to make O vulnerable (by refusing/failing to act) when the opponent mouths off and shoots himself in the foot (thus enveloping his entire body in a single metaphorical image).

  35. 35
    Val says:

    @WereBear (itouch): (betting money he was always that way): You would win. He was an a**hole at least 20 years ago during the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings (all that crap about “getting stuff coming over the transom … saying watch out for this woman.”). He was a mere 60 then, and I’m sure there were similar moments when he was 40 and 20.

  36. 36
    grandpajohn says:

    @JenJen: Yeah why was this asshole even selected for this committee,to start with? m,ore of Obama’s bipartisanship
    its not as if he wasn’t a serial asshole while in the senate and everyone knew it, this sort of diarrhea of the mouth was a trademark of his during his time in the senate, actually his most noted achievement in the senate was for this kind of verbal iodicy.

  37. 37

    @Chad N Freude: I already stated my belief on why the commission was formed to mute current deficit hysteria and Simpson is but one member of the commission. It is predictable what the wingnuts will insist on as a remedy. ie privatization, major bennie cuts, at least as their collective finding for public consumption, Simpson just put in plain English what they want.

    And Obama failing to act on their calls for privatization is hardly hurtful to Obama and dems. Just ask GWB.

    The end result will be like most other BR commissions, especially with Obama picking hard core wingers for the GOP members, and that is separate and widely disparate conclusions with the gooper conclusions not all that popular with the public.

  38. 38
    Bob says:

    As I recall, at it’s birth this commission was poo-pooed because it was unlikely to be able to reach any consensus. I bought into this bullshit conventional wisdom. Oh, for the good old days. Krugman says the Democrats on the commission are likely to cave to the fiscal hawk’s positions. Shocking. Not!

  39. 39
    tomvox1 says:

    While I sincerely hope that these par-for-the-course anti-little people Tourette’s ejaculations by Alan “He Was Always An Asshole” Simpson discredit the Catfood Commission’s mandate and future oracular pronouncements, I fear that someone as “shrill” and librul as Krugman calling for his ouster will only recharge Simpson’s Mystic Cloak of Beltway Seriousness & Respectability. You just can’t get kicked out of the club, even after something as vile as the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings, and no one has the cajones to send this senile old prick to the glue factory because, to them after all, he’s just lovable ol’ curmudgeonly Alan speaking his mind.

  40. 40
    YellowJournalism says:

    Did he really just basically write that he stuck his foot in his mouth? What is it with these politicians giving non-apologies for their actions and extremely hurtful, damaging words with what basically amounts to, “Did I do that?”

  41. 41
    Chad N Freude says:

    @General Stuck: Clarification: Failure to act = not firing or at least excoriating Simpson, not failing to adopt whatever recommendations the commission might make.

    Your faith in Obama’s Jedi chess skills is touching.

  42. 42
    Chad N Freude says:

    @tomvox1: I think you meant “cojones”, not cajones :-)

  43. 43

    @Chad N Freude:

    Your faith in Obama’s Jedi chess skills is touching

    It may seem like jedi chess skills to you, but it’s actually politics 101. Did you not read Simpson’s grovelling mea culpa. Why would Obama make it about him by firing or excoriating Simpson and ruin that spectacle? You all want tribal punishment doled out to some idiot who has publicly flogged himself into irrelevance. Obama is not of your tribe, and neither am I. Touch that.

  44. 44
    JohnR says:

    Eh, it’s basic human: my work is always “honest work”, even if I’m only the bureaucrat in charge of organizing body disposal for the Mob. Your work isn’t, particularly if you fall into one of those groups of which I don’t approve.

  45. 45
    horatius says:

    When SS is dismantled, it will be the dems that’ll do it. You heard it here first.

  46. 46
    kay says:

    @General Stuck:

    I already stated my belief on why the commission was formed to mute current deficit hysteria and Simpson is but one member of the commission.

    Looking at that commission, though, Stuck, there’s not a single member who is dependent on Social Security for retirement.
    That’s ridiculous. No one would accept that in the real world, in any other context.
    Not one member, Democrat or Republican, has actual survival skin in the game.
    This person, in fact, has an actual financial interest:
    Fidel Vargas (D), Vice President of Reliant Equity Investors.
    I notice they gave a potential beneficiary of privatization a seat. They found room for him. One of the prized Democratic seats was given to the equity investment person.
    That person should be balanced by an individual to speak for Social Security recipients, if you want me to accept this as valid. At a minimum.
    It’s stacked. I wouldn’t accept it if I was a 55 year old worker who knows they’re going to be relying on Social Security. How are these people in any way representative of the ordinary person who relies on Social Security? They’re not. Not one of them.

  47. 47

    @kay: Well, Kay, if you view this commission as a serious vehicle by Obama to form and enact policy, then I can see yours and others point. I think it’s almost entirely for political theater, as the vast majority of these commissions are.

  48. 48
    Chad N Freude says:

    @General Stuck: So you believe that Simpson has discredited himself and made himself irrelevant in the eyes of people who might actually take the Ka[tfood]buki Commission seriously. Permit me to disagree.

  49. 49

    Permit me to disagree.

    no permission required

    edit – and I am certain Simpson’s remark was a hit amongst the mouthbreathing tea tard crowd,

  50. 50
    kay says:

    @General Stuck:

    Vargas was probably chosen because he was a 23 year old mayor (at one time) and his firm invests in minority and women-owned business, if I have the right guy.
    I don’t want to smear him, so I looked it up.
    However. They wouldn’t seat an advisory team on the freaking library here without input from all the players.
    Where’s the working class person who relies on the program?
    It’s easy to natter on about Social Security if you’re not sweating getting it or not, and this is an appointed body, so they don’t even have the legitimacy of “elected”.
    If it’s a political ploy it’s a waste of time, and if it’s sincere it’s missing some crucial input.

  51. 51

    And now I must do my own mea culpa and am sorry for derailing this round of concern. It’s no doubt because I come from the Naive, optimistic alternate universe due to being Obot. Carry on.

  52. 52
    shortstop says:

    Kinda sounds like Simpson was engaged in a little drunk typing. What’s the timestamp on that baby?

    It’d be helpful to see the whole email — Burk only excerpts it. That also makes it hard to tell whether her “piling on the sexist rhetoric” comment is supportable. Making banal shots at someone’s supposed stupidity is not in and of itself sexist just because the allegedly stupid person is a woman.

  53. 53
    Caren says:

    Sherrod was fired for the appearance of racism.

    Simpson is actually sexist, but the Administration feels free to accept an apology on this woman’s behalf.

    yeah, wimmen ain’t shit. Especially if their old.

  54. 54
    Allison W. says:


    This is the subject where I have truelove and finally had it with Obama. If they cut SS I have had it.

    Obama lacks the balls to fire Simpson.

    you think Obama has the balls to gut SS, but you don’t think he has the balls to fire Simpson? interesting, since cutting SS would have more fallout than NOT firing Simpson.

  55. 55
    Allison W. says:

    fire him and replace him with?

  56. 56
    mike says:

    Fire the entire commission and replace them with nothing. This is a phony group with rightist ideologues from the getgo.
    Paul Ryan? Really? .



  57. 57
    ruemara says:

    meh. can’t muster the vagina outrage. Let’s posit that Obama staffs all the commissions with proper liberally liberals. Media amplifies howls of repub outrage and shits all over the place. Even more fuel for the fire about “chicago style politics”. Teatards descend on DC with argleblargle signs with nothing sane on it but causing distraction.

    Scenario 2. He puts gop approved nutter on mindless commission, nutter says nutter things, makes nutter choices and is forced to apologize, final say so on nutter options is with proper dems, charade of bipartisanship is maintained. Megaphone is not present and the actual work of ferreting out fraud that is harming the solvency & image of social security can continue without gop obstruction while they run around supporting their nutter.

    When they present something stupid and vile to fight against, I am so there. Until then, letting him be an ass keeps shooting him in the foot.

  58. 58
    Quiddity says:

    @General Stuck: You wear the Obot hat well. I like your:

    Simpson is but one member of the commission

    Just one! What a relief.

  59. 59
    Little Dreamer says:

    Anne Laurie, I want say congratulations for having this piece picked up by The Atlantic Wire

  60. 60
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    it’s time for Obama to fire Alan Simpson.


    Notwithstanding the comment at 47, which could be true, it doesn’t matter. We can’t have that nasty imitation of Mister Potter saying this kind of crap on a White House gig and getting away with it. If 100k women descended on Simpson and flayed him with fish knives it would be okay with me.

    And congrats on the Atlantic Wire shot.

  61. 61
    Citizen Alan says:

    @General Stuck:

    Wingnut now Obama’s bitch

    I was with you to that last line, but you, sir, are divorced from reality if you think Obama has it in him to make any wingnut his “bitch.” The one consistency throughout Obama’s first term has been his embarrassing eagerness to preemptively capitulate to the Republicans at every opportunity. And now, for some utterly baffling reason, he has made it his goal to be the president who initiates the dismantling of Social Security, thereby destroying the Democratic brand for generations. And you seriously think this is part of some 11-dimensional chess strategy to make Simpson his “bitch” and thereby get some kind of Social Security deal that will actually please anyone in the country other than Pete Peterson?

  62. 62
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    And you seriously think this is part of some 11-dimensional chess strategy to make Simpson his “bitch” and thereby get some kind of Social Security deal that will actually please anyone in the country other than Pete Peterson?

    And reading further, I see that what General Stuck actually believes is that nothing will come of the Catfood Commission, that it’s just a lot of kabuki that will come of nothing which Obama initiated just to divert the deficit morons until after the election. Which I also think is ridiculous, but not quite as ridiculous as thinking anyone to the left of Ron Paul will ever approve of the Commission’s ultimate product, so to that extent, I apologize to General Stuck for impugning his intellect.

    And looking back over it, I can’t help but notice that my apology was much nicer and more heartfelt than Pusbag Simpson’s was.

  63. 63

    @Citizen Alan: Here comes the firebagger with butthurt, bullshit and matches. Get back to me when Obama dismantles SS, ain’t gonna happen.

    And I didn’t say Obama made Simpson his bitch, I said he was now Obama’s bitch, and did it all on his own with a famous big mouth. You put the reaction into reactionary, dude.

    edit – I see your comment just above and accept firebagger apology. In a heartfelt manner of course.

  64. 64
    cat48 says:

    I don’t think Simpson needs to be fired as he did apologize and the most important reason to keep him is that I know he’s willing to raise taxes. He voted to raise them w/H.W. Bush & he stated ALL options are on the table. Also, this is the way he is…….ask Bill Maher, he loves him because they’re both politically incorrect.

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