Posted December 4, 2012 at 8:00 am, in From the USW International President
The nation’s debt is a good deal for Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, the leaders of the failed deficit commission. The two are profiting personally by urging fat cats and CEOs to support their two-year-old, already-interred deficit reduction plan.
Simpson, a former Republican Senator, and Bowles, a Morgan Stanley director, charge $40,000 a pop to promote their rejected scheme to fix the debt by slashing Social Security, Medicare and other programs for the middle class. That means every time they speak, Simpson and Bowles each pocket more than 2.5 times the $15,000 that a typical senior citizen gets from Social Security in an entire year.
The Simpson-Bowles personal profit tour reveals that for them, for their creation – the speciously labeled Campaign to Fix the Debt – and for the CEOs, right-wing groups and Republicans rallying round them, the effort has nothing to do with deficits or fixing anything. For them, it’s all about personal profit. And if their personal gain costs the vast middle class any sense of retirement security after a lifetime of paying into these earned benefit programs, well Simpson-Bowles & Co. are just fine with that.
Simpson is the avatar for those wailing, “fix the debt,” while demanding special deals for themselves. In 1996 as a Senator needing support from senior citizens, Simpson offered an amendment noting that 60 percent of them depended on Social Security for at least half of their income. It specified:
“Social Security beneficiaries throughout the nation deserve to be reassured that their benefits will not be subject to cuts and their Social Security payroll taxes will not be increased as a result of legislation to implement a balanced budget amendment.”
Now, when he’s a shill bagging $40,000 a speech from business groups and CEOs, he calls Social Security recipients “greedy geezers,” and scorns the program cherished by the middle class, calling it:
“a milk cow with 310 million tits.”
Easy for Simpson to say. For his 18 years in the Senate, U.S. taxpayers are giving him a pension of between $41,000 and $55,000 a year, which is two to three times more generous than a middle class person would get in the private sector, if the worker were lucky enough to receive that now-rare benefit.
The CEOs Simpson and Bowles lined up to front their bogus Campaign to Fix the Debt exhibit the same behavior. An examination by the Institute for Policy Studies found that the 71 CEOs of public companies endorsing the campaign have set aside for themselves an average of $9 million in retirement funds from their corporations. That would pay each $110,000 a month for life after age 65. (more…)