22 February 2010

"Greedy Geezers" or Pawns In Deficit Shell Game

President Establishes Debt Commission to Look at Social Security
and Medicare

Last Thursday, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order
establishing a commission to tackle the federal debt. The
commission's purpose is to reduce the federal budget deficit
from 10% to 3% by 2015 and to propose ways to contain costs
related to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

As co-chairs of the commission, the president named former Bill
Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former
Republican Senator Alan Simpson. Bowles, president of the
University of North Carolina, worked to pass the Balanced Budget
Act of 1997 with Republicans in Congress when he was White House
Chief of Staff. He ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in
2002 and 2004.

Simpson served as a Wyoming senator from 1979 to 1997 and as
Senate GOP Whip from 1985 to 1995.

Alliance for Retired American's Executive Director Edward F. Coyle
said, "Retirees fully support President Obama on the critical need
to reduce our nation's budget deficit. Older Americans have always
been uncomfortable with large debt, both in government and in their
own families.

We are, however, wary of the objectivity that Commission Co-Chair
Alan K. Simpson will bring to this important assignment. As a
Senator, Simpson referred to older Americans as "greedy geezers"
and launched bitter and protracted assaults against advocacy
groups for seniors.

Social Security benefits would have been cut under his plan to
change the statistical formula used to calculate Cost-of-Living
Adjustments." Mr. Coyle continued, "We believe that if the
Commission takes a thorough and honest look at Social Security
and Medicare, it will conclude that these vital programs should be
strengthened, not weakened. Social Security and Medicare are two
of our nation's greatest success stories, helping generations of
seniors stay healthy and out of poverty." For Coyle's full
statement, go to Coyle Statement.

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