The co-chair of President Barack Obama's bipartisan deficit commission lashed out at seniors Wednesday because they are unhappy with his ideas for reducing the deficit by cutting Social Security benefits while reducing corporate taxes.
"I've never had any nastier mail or [been in a] more difficult position in my life," Simpson told Jeremy Pelzer at the Casper Star-Tribune. "Just vicious. People I've known, relatives [saying], 'You son of a bitch. How could you do this?'"
The draft report released by Simpson along with co-Chair Erskine Bowles proposed raising the retirement age to 69 by 2070. Additionally, 90 percent of Social Security income would be taxable, as opposed to 82.5 percent as is currently projected.
Critics of the proposal have dubbed the group the "catfood commission" because seniors who see their benefits cut would have to reduce their expenses or find additional sources of income.
"We had the greatest generation," Simpson said. "I think this is the greediest generation."
Whether or not he's right is one thing. Having him say this in earshot of a reporter is quite another. Oh, but it gets worse.
Referring to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow as "that," the commission co-chair blamed political polarization for the attacks on him.
"You don't want to listen to the right and the left -- the extremes," he said. "You don't want to listen to Keith Olbermann and Rush Babe [Limbaugh] and Rachel Minnow [sic] or whatever that is, and Glenn Beck. They're entertainers. They couldn't govern their way out of a paper sack -- from the right or the left. But they get paid a lot of money from you and advertisers -- thirty, fifty million a year -- to work you over and get you juiced up with emotion, fear, guilt, and racism. Emotion, fear, guilt, and racism."
Awesome. He's really blaming the press for actually telling people what he recommended in his own publicly released report. Furthermore, he's actually upset because he doesn't understand why any rational American would be angry about a plan that cuts Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid benefits in order to lower the tax rate for the richest Americans. That's something in Alan Simpson's worldview that we should be glad to accept, that it's the natural order of things for us peons, and why can't we just acknowledge that?
"Let them eat cake" is one thing. This is far more sinister in its implications. And yet Simpson here represents the prevailing Village Serious Centrist viewpoint: Rachel Maddow and Rush Limbaugh are exactly the same (except Maddow is a fish/inanimate object). They are extremists outside the worldview of Simpson, as is anyone who isn't a Beltway insider. Only the Serious Village People in the middle can "govern" and by govern that means make the little people suffer, because that's what the powerful are supposed to do to the small. If you're poor to the point where you actually need Social Security "handouts", then you're "greedy" and that's your damn fault. What good are you to Simpson?
Spoken like a man who really, really despises your average American like only a rich and powerful former Senator can.
And yet the larger problem is that President Obama is the one who asked Simpson to help craft this plan. He might want to do something about that.