Dean Baker: Simpson isn’t just offensive; he’s also ignorant about Social Security

Most of the commentary on ex-Senator Alan Simpson’s Macaca Moment has focused on the Macaca, on the utter offensiveness of it.

But as Dean Baker points out, Simpson is also profoundly ignorant about Social Security, not a feature in the co-chair of a commission that sees its duty as “fixing” the program. Mr. Baker:

I was also a recipient of one of Simpson’s tirades. As was the case with the note he sent to Carson, Simpson attached a presentation prepared for the commission by Social Security’s chief actuary. Simpson implied that this presentation had some especially eye-opening information that would lead Carson and myself to give up our wrong-headed views on Social Security.

While I opened the presentation with great expectations, I quickly discovered there was nothing in the presentation that would not already be known to anyone familiar with the annual Social Security trustees’ report. […] It was disturbing to see that Simpson seemed surprised by what should have been old hat to anyone familiar with the policy debate on Social Security. After all, he had been a leading participant in these debates in his years in the Senate….

His determined ignorance in the face of the facts is the most important reason why he is not qualified to serve on President Obama’s commission.

Baker also discusses Simpson’s ignorance of the world of Social Security recipients, hinted at in Simpson’s “people on Social Security who milk it to the last degree” comment. (Only your crowd, Mr. Simpson, drives their Lexus to the mailbox, as it were.)

It’s important, I think, not to lose sight of this point — Alan Simpson is profoundly unqualified to do his job, and should be fired for that reason alone.

Team Change? It’s not too late to reconsider. It’s your retirement too that we’re discussing.

(Digby says the same thing here. And Jane has an important summary and update here; a must read.)


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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