Erskine Bowles

Former Senator Alan Simpson: Lots Of Common Sense, But Highly Controversial!

Former Republican Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming, who served from 1979 to 1997, has always been known for being blunt, colorful in his language, and highly controversial.

A conservative in his voting in the Senate, Simpson, however, exudes a lot of common sense, even though he antagonizes on a regular basis.

A critic of the American Association Of Retired Persons (AARP), who he accuses of being only a business to make money, rather than an advocate for senior citizens, Simpson headed the President’s Deficit Commission last year, co chairing with Erskine Bowles, Democrat and Bill Clinton advisor.

The two men came up with recommendations to change the Social Security System long term and to pare defense spending by bringing many of our troops home from foreign countries, and they were immediately vilified for their stand.

But what they advocated makes a lot of sense, and their suggestion to raise the retirement age to 68 by 2050 and 69 by 2075 is certainly reasonable, as we already have had one change in age, the 1983 law negotiated between Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill and President Ronald Reagan, raising the retirement age to 66 for those born after 1960.

Simpson has now come out to declare that the Republican Party has a horrible group of candidates, none of which enthuses him, and he was particularly super critical of those, such as Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin and others who use the “social” issues of gay rights and abortion as part of their appeal.

Simpson may be annoying to many, but he has a lot of common sense and practical advice, and should not be ignored!

But it is clear to Simpson and to this author that the GOP is in real trouble, with very few candidates that are legitimate!

Again, as the author contends, the ONLY GOP candidates that have real credentials that could possibly lead to a serious challenge to President Barack Obama are Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, and Tim Pawlenty.

With Romney announcing an exploratory committee today, and Pawlenty hiring his campaign manager, the race is beginning, but too much air is being taken out by the loonies and the crazies, and unless one of these three above named can pull things out of the ditch, the Republican Party will be a joke in 2012!

The Debate Over Social Security’s Future And The Fiscal Responsibility and Reform Commission

The President’s Fiscal Responsibility and Reform Commission, headed by Erskine Bowles, Chief of Staff for President Bill Clinton, and former Republican Senator Alan Simpson, came up with a statement last week, three weeks before the Commission’s official report on December 1, calling for radical changes in the way the nation looks at the deficit crisis that the country faces in its future.

The immediate reaction was for harsh denunciation by ideological forces on the left and on the right, condemning any suggestions that were made by the joint heads of the Commission.

There is much to be chewed over about the recommendations, but it was surprising that so much attention was paid to the Social Security portion of the recommendations.

Bowles and Simpson both promoted the idea of raising the amount of income taxed for Social Security, which is presently $106,800, to much higher levels, with Medicare, as it is, having no limits on being taxed on incomes. Also, in the year 2050, the age limit would be 68, and in 2075, would rise to 69, in order to keep Social Security solvent.

All of the above makes sense, as one forgets that in 1983, by bipartisan agreement between Republican President Ronald Reagan and Democratic Speaker of the House Thomas”Tip” O’Neill, and the support of the Republican Senate and Democratic House of Representatives, the retirement age for full Social Security was raised for those born after 1940 to age 66, and for those born after 1960 to age 67.

So what is so radical about the proposals set forth by Bowles and Simpson, but one would think it was extremism, based on the reaction by political forces that seem unwilling to compromise! 🙁

This is the problem today, as compared to nearly thirty years ago, that there is no willingness to compromise in any form by either side of the political spectrum! 🙁

Think about what the above reform suggests: So people born after 1980 will have to wait to age 68 to collect full Social Security benefits, and would have notice FORTY years ahead!

And people born after 2005 would have to wait to age 69 to collect full Social Security benefits, and would have notice SEVENTY years ahead!

And realize that age longevity and health have improved, and anyone could still collect lower benefits as early as age 62!

And if the income limit is raised, Social Security will survive for the long run, and be well funded by these changes!

And in no case, can anyone expect that they will survive on Social Security benefits, so part of the plan for life is to SAVE early and responsibly for one’s retirement in the long run!

This plan is NOT extreme! Instead, it is totally responsible and MUST be adopted if Social Security is to prosper in the long run!

It is time to stop ranting and raving on both sides of the political spectrum, and to recognize the validity of these proposals set forth by Bowles and Simpson!