Columbia, MO September 5, 2010 By David Rosman
Is a former U.S. Senator and now member of the White House fiscal commission suffering from an extreme case of “Foot-in-Mouth” disease? Did he catch it from Dick Chaney? While attending a Tea Party Movement rally? Did the TPM catch it from him?
Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.), co-chair of the president’s deficit commission, may be setting the new conservative agenda the Democrats need to peak in this 2010 election season. This time the veterans of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are the targets. Simpson is claiming that their medical expenses are helping create our nation’s fiscal crisis.
As reported by The Hill, Simpson said, “The irony [is] that the veterans who saved this country are now, in a way, not helping us to save the country in this fiscal mess.” What?
Just as bad, the White House is supporting the 79-year old Simpson by not firing him from his co-chair position on the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform as requested by VoteVets.org and other veteran groups.
This is not the first statement from Simpson that sounded the alarm bells for the American voters. But the poor Tea Baggers and other conservatives, those who place Rush and Sarah on the right-hand side of God, really do not want to know the facts, just the blatant propaganda.
The mission of the NCFRR is, “identifying policies to improve the fiscal situation in the medium term and to achieve fiscal sustainability over the long run.
“Specifically, the Commission shall propose recommendations designed to balance the budget, excluding interest payments on the debt, by 2015. In addition, the Commission shall propose recommendations that meaningfully improve the long-run fiscal outlook, including changes to address the growth of entitlement spending and the gap between the projected revenues and expenditures of the Federal Government.”
The Commission has three working groups. The first is to examine discretionary spending, the second examines mandatory spending and the third is considering tax reform. Simpson sits on none of the committees, only as the do-nothing co-chair of the commission. Somehow Simpson has used the health of our wounded soldiers, heroes in the minds of all Americans, putting it on the chopping block.
The senator has also attacked the programs many older Americans depend on. Simpson’s infamous line, that Social Security is a “milk cow with 310 million tits,” is the closing paragraph to an email sent to Ashley Carson, the Executive Direction of the National Older Women’s League, OWL.
Social Security and Veterans medical benefits are not the only government programs that Simpson and his compatriots are attacking. There is always Medicare and Medicaid, to which the TPM has come on board with placards held by little old ladies screaming, “Government, Keep Your Hands Off My Medicare!” Foot-in-Mouth has spread.
Simpson’s contempt for “Gray” and “Pink” Panthers was duly noted on Fox News Sunday when Mike Wallace asked if Social Security is part of the problem and can produce “big savings”.
Simpson: “Social Security is the least of our problems.”
Really? So the conservatives no longer believe that Social Security is a campaign issue?
Simpson continued, “Where do I get my mail? From these old cats 70 and 80 years old who are not affected in one whiff. People who live in gated communities and drive their Lexus to the Perkins restaurant to get the AARP discount. This is madness.”
The reason you get those emails, Senator, is that those “old cats” can also afford a computer and Internet access.
Diane Rowland, Sc.D., and Barbara Lyons, Ph.D. took a tough look at poverty in America. Their findings can be found in the peer journal Health Care Financial Review.
“The likelihood of living on a low income is greatest for women, minorities, and the oldest Americans. Poverty rates increase with age, with 23 percent of people 75 years of age or over poor or near poor, in contrast to 16 percent of those 65-74 years of age. Nearly one-fourth of elderly women are poor or near poor, reflecting their lower wage levels during working years, their increased risk of financial stress from widowhood, and longevity that exceeds savings. Elderly minorities are particularly vulnerable to low incomes. Thirty-seven percent of black elderly people and 36 percent of Hispanic elderly people have incomes below 125 percent of (Federal Poverty Level).”
The 2009 poverty rate is $14,570 for a family of two. That is just over $7.25 an hour, federal minimum wage, if one works 40 hours a week, before taxes and more than likely without benefits.
Foot-in-Mouth has also spread throughout the GOP. In July of 2010, Veterans Today reported that the “Senate Republicans successfully filibustered a bill… that would extend unemployment benefits for two million Americans.” That includes veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with no job waiting.
The party of Family Values and the “common man” (and hopefully woman) has become the party of “No” and the party most in favor of deleting the very programs that maintain a modicum of health and dignity for 1 out 4 Americans over 65 years old, veterans and the millions still looking for work.
Will you, like Simpson and others, blame the chronically unemployed, old ladies and veterans for the United States’ financial woes? Are you too suffering from Foot-in-Mouth Disease?
David Rosman is an award winning speaker, editor, writer, and college instructor in Communications, Ethics, Business and Politics. You can read more of David’s commentaries at ColumbiaMissourian.com and New York Journal of Books.com.