Cenk Uygur: White House Circling The Wagons Around Alan Simpson

Cenk Uygur filling in for Ed Schultz asks the question I'm sure so many of us have as well on President Obama's deficit commission. Why did we elect a Democrat if we`re going to get a conservative deficit commission that`s going to cut our
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Cenk Uygur filling in for Ed Schultz asks the question I'm sure so many of us have as well on President Obama's deficit commission.

Why did we elect a Democrat if we`re going to get a conservative deficit commission that`s going to cut our Social Security?

As Bob Shrum rightly responds, if the Democrats join with Republicans to destroy Social Security, it's going to spell big trouble for the party, and rightfully so. Alan Simpson and the whole commission need to go.

UYGUR: The White House is circling the wagons around former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson, the co-chairman of the president`s deficit commission after he went berserk about Social Security.

Simpson likes to talk about the budget in terms of farm animals. In an e-mail to an older voter advocate he wrote that Social Security was like a cow with 310 million -- I think you get the picture.

The White House has responded, quote, "Alan Simpson has apologized and while we regret and do not condone his comments, we accept his apology and he will continue to serve." Catering to loathsome Republicans, the Obama White House at its best.

For Simpson, this week it was a cow. Last month it was a pig. Speaking to a gathering of the nation`s governors in July, Simpson compared the Recovery Act to a pig saying "the pig is dead. There`s no more bacon to bring home."

Get a load of this guy. He thinks you`re milking the system as if it`s his money. You paid into social security. It`s your money. You`re not milking a damn thing and when we try to stimulate our economy or keep teachers on the job, he says the pig is dead. Who killed the pig?

Simpson and his friends in Congress who spent all of your money including the Social Security surplus on tax cuts for the rich and endless wars. Old Simpson had a farm on it he had a bunch of rich Republicans who milked the system dry then told us they killed our pig.

Joining me now is Democratic strategist Bob Shrum. He`s a professor at New York University. Bob, look, this whole talk about how Social Security is going bankrupt, you don`t understand, you guys are milking it dry, doesn`t it have a $2.5 trillion surplus? Isn`t all this one big fat lie?

BOB SHRUM: Yes, it is actually. The truth of the matter is that before Simpson loves to say Social Security goes bust in 2037. That`s not true.

There are 25 years of surpluses before then. The surpluses are supposedly secured by federal notes in the Social Security trust fund unless the federal government intends to default, those surpluses should be used in 2037 when the system starts collecting less money than it pays out.

Secondly, there`s another solution here. Let`s take the payroll tax cap off for people who make over $200,000 a year. The truth is, for Alan Simpson, for the Republicans who yearn to cut Social Security and always have, this is about one thing. They want seniors to get less so that the rich don`t have to pay more.

UYGUR: Bob, I hear you on that. Obviously, I agree as you can tell from my commentary, but what I`m concerned about is a Democratic president`s deficit commission, which has this guy as a co-chair and 14 out of 18 of them are fiscal conservatives.

Why did we elect a Democrat if we`re going to get a conservative deficit commission that`s going to cut our Social Security?

SHRUM: There is irony here. You`re absolutely right, Cenk. Barack Obama was not elected on a promise, for example to, cut social security. He was elected on a promise, for example to, close Guantanamo.

So the White House counsel Greg Craig who tried to keep the promise on Guantanamo is gone and Alan Simpson who wants to cut Social Security gets to keep his job. I don`t think it`s smart politics and it`s wrong on the merits.

UYGUR: Do they get at all? I mean, you`re more connected in Washington than I am. Do these guys get it that this is why people aren`t excited?

This is why they`re not going to come out and vote? This is why there`s a lethargy in the Democratic voters? Did they not understand any of that?

SHRUM: Well, I`m not going to presume the judgment the president`s going to make when this recommendation comes in. But I`ll tell you one thing, if the Democratic party ever joins Republicans in cutting Social Security, gives them cover to do that, I`m talking about big reductions not the adjustments that were made for example in 1983, then we`re going to be in deep trouble.

I`m appalled by the spectacle of so-called well heeled experts sitting in plush conference rooms living plush lives telling people with back- breaking jobs that they should work into their 70s.

And by the way, if you adopt that policy, 1.5 million seniors are immediately forced into poverty. This president promised to fight for those people and I hope that`s what he does.

Bob, real quick, Simpson should be fired, right?

SHRUM: Yes, he`s just Jamie Galbraith said back in June distinguished economist at the University of Texas, terrific guy, looked at Simpson and said you lack the temperament to do this job fairly or impartially. Simpson has spectacularly proved how right that was and he ought to go, but that doesn`t solve the problem.

All right. Thank you, Bob. We appreciate it.

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