Jun 4, 2012

Alan Simpson Doesn't Listen And Doesn't Know When To Shut Up

     From Michael Hiltzik at the L.A. Times:
Former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyoming), perhaps our leading avatar of misinformation about Social Security, sent us a lengthy email on Friday responding to our series of posts criticizing his error-rich take on the nation’s preeminent social insurance program.

You can read his entire email
here. Be forewarned: It’s a dizzying compendium of ignorance, myths, irrelevancies, and historical revisionism, leavened with a healthy dollop of defensiveness.
      Hiltzik goes on to completely demolish Simpson's absurd arguments that Social Security was never intended as a retirement program and that the lower life expectancy at the time of adoption of the Social Security Act is some crucial fact.


Anonymous said...

Well, to start off with, I was in the Army and I never heard the words, "Now hear this", perhaps he forgot and he was really in the Navy? He argues to use the the term "retirement" is incorrect for Social Security by saying it was an "income supplement", and defines that as "making provisions for their old age" "whether you do this in the form of pensions or some other way, there is no escaping that cost". What exactly does he think retirement is? Is not a penion a form of retirement? When one becomes too old to work and receives income for having worked, is that not retirement income? Is he mistaking income dividends from a 401K as retirement income? Is his own pension not retirement? Why is he argueing income supplement versus retirement? A 70 year old has no income s to supplement unless he has a Senators pension or 401K or TSP dividends to qualify as income to be supplemented. Is he an idiot??

Anonymous said...

He's stating (in a poor way) that SS funds should not be relied upon for retirement, but were designed as a supplement to an individual's retirement savings.

His rage is aimed at the many policitians, advocates, etc. that decry the cuts in benefits as catastrophic. However, he argues that any cuts are not so catastrophic because SS should constitute only a part of an individuals retirement funds. Therefore, a cut in SS is not as large as many people make it out to be.

Is his view realistic? No. Should it be...yes.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I can agree with that. I am surprised at the number of individuals that think they can retire with only Social Security. I do think we are in kind of a flux, because it wasn't that many years ago that a lot of corporations promised nice pensions and have reneged on them. Perhaps in the future individuals will wake up and realize that it is one's own responsibility to provide for retirement including SS as only one leg of the stool, so to speak. I know people that exist on SS only and it's not pretty.

R Hayes said...

In the old days when it was possible to save money because increases in income gained on cost of living every year, and company pension funds were not being cast aside by vampire capitalists, social security was a supplement. Now, unfortunately for many, it is the only retirement income. That is not the victim's fault. There is something systemic that Mr. Simpson is NOT addressing. Why not?

Anonymous said...

Virtually every major employer in the United States has shifted from defined benefit plans (i.e. monthly pensions) to defined contribution plans (i.e., 401K) thanks in part to policies propagated by Senator Simpson and others. To argue that Social Security is not the main source of retirement income for many Americans is a delusional fantasy.