August 25th, 2010
02:52 PM ET
12 years ago

Co-chair of Obama debt panel under fire for remarks

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="An advocacy group is calling for the ouster of former Sen. Alan Simpson."]New York ( - An advocacy group is calling for the ouster of former Sen. Alan Simpson, the co-chairman of President Obama's bipartisan debt commission, who described Social Security as a "milk cow with 310 million tits!" in an email.

Ashley Carson, executive director of the Older Women's League, wrote in a blog post in April that Simpson is targeting Social Security to fix the deficit even though it "doesn't contribute" to the country's debt problem. She also accused Simpson of "disgusting ageism and sexism" in characterizing those who oppose cuts to benefits as "Gray Panthers" and "Pink Panthers."

In his email to Carson, which was sent Monday night, Simpson said he is defending Social Security, not trying to undermine it, and referred her to information showing the program's long-range shortfalls.

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Filed under: Debt • issues • President Obama
soundoff (100 Responses)
  1. chill

    People need to get a life. Yeah, it isn't pretty, but let's focus on fixing the actual problem rather than how someone describes it. And all this bit about robbing the trust fund. The money collected has to be put somewhere to grow. Since we want this part of retirement to be safe, it is invested in T-bills and interest is paid to the fund, just like any other investor. To date, all obligations have been met. if the government doesn't default, then nobody robbed nothing. Could it happen down the road, sure, but then we have bigger problems than just SS. And, by the way, the good old Bush tax cuts and the unfunded Iraq debacle makes the Johnson deficits look like pocket change.

    August 25, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  2. JohninTampa

    He may have his numbers right, but his manner is crass beyond belief. I say he is too old to learn, so retire him and let him find his own teat. I understand that as a former Senator, he's got one a lot fatter than those on Social Security.

    August 25, 2010 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  3. moesmum

    First of all this guy is a Republican.....BIpartisan Debt Commission...BIPARTISAN is the key word here! And you people on here talking about "unwed mothers".....Social Security has NOTHING to do with that. I have been paying into SS since I started working as a teenager. That's part of my retirement we're discussing here. So please educate yourselves before you start spewing your uniformed stupid remarks. Better yet, go over to Fox, they will agree with anything you say against our President.

    August 25, 2010 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  4. Zevie

    I thought his comment was funny and accurate. SS has indeed become a welfare system. Not seniors, but all the other people who are claiming they are disabled,etc that are sucking off the SS system are what he was referring to.

    It's not all bad, but it needs some serious help. 10 years ago several middle-left leaning CEOs had come up with plans to partially privatize SS. It wasn't the greedy fat cats of wall streed that Obama demonized, but reasonable people in business that were concerned about its future. That plan is long dead and SS is in an even deeper hole.

    August 25, 2010 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  5. Disbelief

    Hey Jack. Did you notice that Alan Simpson is a – Republican??

    August 25, 2010 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  6. Ken in NC

    So former Senator Alan Simpson thinks that Social Security is a "milk cow with 310 million tits!" Well if that is the case, those of us wanting to suckle on those "TITS" are the ones that made the milk. The problem is that another sucker called the US Congress came along and robbed or sucked our "TITS" almost dry and now they want to cut us off from what's left of our own milk deposits. I have tried hard to be understanding of just how horrific a situation this country is in but now I am angry. I'm angry at the fact that rather than trying to fix a problem caused by years of reckless spending by our government, it not only wants to make the suppliers of the milk Congress so graciously suckled the “scape goat“, our own government wants to lay the blame for the condition of the S.S. Trust Fund at the feet of the contributors. The Congress of the United States of America has left our Trust Fund with Trillions of dollars in IOU's and if they think us old "Suckers" are going to roll over and play dead while they finish killing us off, they got another thought coming. I don't care if one is a Republican or Democrat, if you think you can do this and get away with it, you got another thought coming. I'm old and retired now and with little else to do, I will spend every waking moment of the rest of my life fighting any politician that thinks he or she is going to lay this blame at our feet and take away the one dignity we have left.

    August 25, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  7. Limbaugh is a Liberal

    Yet another republican who thinks we should pay for rich people's taxcuts by raiding social security, the same proposal Bush Jr. had that was soundly defeated. Do republicans ever learn? Obama needs to stop his bipartisan nonsense and get rid of these idiots.

    August 25, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  8. Lori in St Pete

    Actually Illinoistom, it was that reichwing hero raygun who started the raid on the cookie jar.

    August 25, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  9. Dave

    Horrible choice of words to be sure. And perhaps warranting his ouster. BUT, the American people and our fearless leaders have to get something straight – cuts to discretionary spending are like putting a band-aid on a severed limb. We have to make drastic changes to social security and medicaid now, and that is going to mean less benefits later in life. This is reality. The sooner we face it, the easier it will be to turn the tide on debt accumulation. Unfortunately, I don't think Obama has the stomach to tackle this issue. He starts his 2012 campaign in November, and this issue is a political hot potato.

    August 25, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  10. Debby

    Simpson is an idiot and always will be. I didn't realize he was still around.

    August 25, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  11. rick

    A cow with 310 million tits, I tell you what give me all the money I've paid into social security stop take it out of my pay check and leave me alone, I'll take care of my retirement better than a government that is built on a economic house of cards. As for you Mr. Simpson hit the unemployment line and shut up. Mr. President do the right thing and get sluggs like Mr. Simpson out of our country's economic picture.

    August 25, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  12. Cindy Merrill

    Even the Clinton Administration, or for that matter, the Bush Administration wasn't this bad. The arrogant tone of Obama's advisors is terribly frightening. Absolutely frightening.

    August 25, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  13. George

    Sen. Simpson has never been a favorite of mine, but what he says is true. Social Security needs to be reformed, but not slashed to the bare bone, the way the GOP would like. The reason it's in so much trouble is the number of retiring baby boomers and there is no escaping that. When the last of them retires in 2025, it will slowly return to solvency, but in the meantime, it needs to be worked over so it can provide what it was intended to, without imploding.

    August 25, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  14. Charlie

    Some of you need to do your homework. Sen. Alan Simpson is from the GOP, so it is not Obama Administration Under Attack. Two, 310 million is not the total of all these kids who are sucked by hundreds of unwed mothers with 3 to 4 kids from different fathers who pay no child support. The 310 million is the TOTAL of all AMERICANS that pay into Social Security.
    If you want to hate just do it, don't mkae up stuff!

    August 25, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  15. blr

    I like the words...they are spot on with what it is... (and I am a female). Give him a raise...

    August 25, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  16. SLM

    Well when it is paying to people who never contributed a illegal aliens, dual citizenship visitors, disability for people who are fully capable of working, not to mention politicians robbing it.....yes, there will be financial short comings. Remember this is paid for by our taxes and employers taxes and should NOT be distributed carelessly. It is NOT like welfare that is just handed out to able bodied citizens who are drug addicts and baby machines.

    August 25, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  17. BeverlyNC

    Simpson should be gone, He is another Republican who wants to end Social Security, Medicare, Unemployment benefits, and the Dept of Education,

    He is also the Republican who called the working class of Americans, "the lesser people".

    For all of you who think voting for Republicans will make things better – ask yourself how great your life was during the Bush years? We lost hundreds of milliions of jobs overseas due to outsourcing – like Republican candidate Carly Fiorina who sent hundreds of thousands of HP's jobs overseas. Think she cares about American jobs?

    Many Republicans who headline the media stories have stated they WILL end Social Security, Medicare etc (they call them "entitlement programs") to fool you. Why? So they can pay for the 4 Trillion addition to the deficit to keep tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% of Americans. Those poor millionaires are suffering so. Republicans claim, as they did in the Bush years, that heiping the wealthy will create jobs. Didn't work then – we were losing 750K jobs a month when President Obama took office and we were in a full economic collapse.

    What have Republicans done for YOU this year? Voted NO on all job creation bills. Voted NO on credit for small businesses to expand and hire new workers. NO to healthcare funding for 9/11 workers, police ,and firemen who are sick and dying from the toxic ash they breathed in. And they want you to believe they think Ground Zero is sacred????

    Republicans are liars, hypocrites, haters of the working class, and want to destroy our Constitution to use it as a hate weapon against Hispanics and Muslims. The Constitution is not multiple choice nor do we follow its laws based on a popularity vote.

    Republicans are all about hate, intolerance, and fear-mongering so you will not focus on their failures, non-ideas, and no solutions for helping America recover from their messes.

    Just look at the dishonorable lying John McCain who was for AMNESTY for illegals until this year. He has a book tittled him "Being an Maverick" and now he he says he never said he was a maverick. He was for ending "don't ask, don't tell" at the beginning ot this year and now he is suddenly against it. He lied about his views on the issues just to get re-elected. So have many other Republicans.

    Do you think you can really trust liars who will do anything to stay in power to do what is right when it comes to doing what is best for YOU?

    I don't. Republicans are anti-People, anti-America, and have embraced extremist policies and racist tea baggers in desperation to keep power – NOT TO SERVE THE PEOPLE – just to try to grab power.

    Voting for Republicans who have done NOTHING all year is insanity. They will destroy our country again, take away all your benefits, and give back all the power to large greedy abusive corporations who are the only source of their campaign funds. People don't give money to Republicans – only businesses do.

    Stand up for the Democrats who have worked HARD for YOU all year/ They have passed an incredible number of people-benefitting laws and protections. ALL without any help from any Republican. Democrats stood strong against constant Republican games and negativity. Democrats DELIVERED and America is moving forward again.

    So you really want to go backwards with Republicans who hate YOU and choose corporate interests over you every single time??

    Stand up for the Democrats who stood up for YOU,

    August 25, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  18. Not fooled


    You don't know what you are talking about. SS is for seniors who have paid into it for 30 or more years. What you are talking about is welfare. You are probably a rich brat who has never suffered in your life. A pair of shoes for you would probably cost more than a mother feeding her family for a week. Grow-up. Maybe when you grow up you will have more compassion.

    August 25, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  19. McCrae

    Sounds pretty funny to me. As a conservative with liberal friends too I would have to say they are much more prone to profane language. But a cows tits please. They just don't want him on the panel. If they only want a bunch of spendthrift liberals in the group then it won't be a debt panel.

    August 25, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  20. Tom

    Of course, since he is a former senator, he is still a politician, and made a killing financially off the taxpayers for years, and doesn't have any clue as to how the real people work. He's been sucking from the trough for years.

    I'm 63, still working, and have been paying into SS since I was 13. I've earned every damned penny that's coming to me.

    Yep, he needs to go.

    August 25, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  21. Eric

    Folks, even if we confiscated the wealth of every American in the country, it wouldn't touch the unfunded liabilities of liberals' favorite entitlement programs, namely SSI, Medicare and Medicaid.

    It's time to call the baby ugly and speak the truth. These programs HAVE to be phased out, or in the next 30 years, this nation will cease to exist as we know it. These vote-buying schemes, er uh, "programs" were financially unfeasible from the get-go and have existed on Mr. Ponzi's hope and dreams ever since. In short, there ain't no more money, kids. TANSTAAFL.

    While Simpson's choice of words might offend the pu$$ies and the pansies and the professionally offended, he speaks the truth. Cut the programs.

    August 25, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  22. diridi

    I told you, as you grow old, you lose your brain....nation needs young blood with honesty, integrity, and persistence....ok... this is a must in the nation...we do not need politicians we need this nation....nation is so messed by GOP thugs...truth...truth, and again truth....

    August 25, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  23. Jon

    Do you think it's too late for Simpson to get through puberty mentally and engage in discourse like an adult? He's just another smarmy republican.

    August 25, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  24. Superhiro

    People can cry about the phrasing as much as they want but that is an accurate description. All those years of tax cuts and now we can't pay for this program anymore. Either we raise taxes or we get rid of the program. That's the choice, no matter how much people want to try and look elsewhere. Either you cut social security or you cut military spending, and if it comes down to those two, which it will eventually, which one do you think is gonna win out?

    August 25, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  25. me

    Our older generations do not realize that they are taking out of SS far more then they ever put in.

    August 25, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
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