Proof that those who have not learned the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it. All this pearl clutching over the deficit and demanding that the solutions be placed on the backs of those who can least afford the burden is yet another
November 30, 2010

Proof that those who have not learned the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it. All this pearl clutching over the deficit and demanding that the solutions be placed on the backs of those who can least afford the burden is yet another myopic answer from the Beltway crowd. Alan Simpson, at the age of 79, should at least remember stories of how seniors suffered during the Depression prior to the implementation of Social Security. How different are things now--do we still not have people living longer, extended families disintegrated or spread far and wide, a population based on urban centers (rather than self-sustaining family farms) and high unemployment, making it exponentially more difficult for seniors to find work? Why should we--the last remaining superpower--find it acceptable to expect our senior citizens to live in destitution?

Undeterred by logic or even simple humanity, "Catfood Commission" chairs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson are working hard to persuade the rest of the commission to adopt their recommendations, which include drastically slashing Social Security benefits for Americans.

The chairmen of the White House's debt-reduction commission are making last-minute changes to their provocative early draft in an effort to broaden support before a crucial Wednesday vote, people familiar with the matter said.

The co-chairmen, Democrat Erskine Bowles and former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson, need 14 of the 18 members of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform to support their proposal in order to issue a formal recommendation, which could then be voted on by Congress before the end of the year.

The commission's vote is largely symbolic but will go a long way toward determining how, and how quickly, the U.S. might start addressing its ballooning national debt.

Precise details of the changes couldn't be learned. Broadly, they are designed to incorporate suggestions made by some of the members of the commission. Some aides spent much of last week trying to hone ideas and gauge potential support, with members communicating by cellphone.

Several Republicans on the panel have privately pushed for more spending cuts and other changes to tax policy. One of their concerns: the changes to the tax code, which would raise the amount some pay, are permanent, while many of the spending cuts are temporary. Democrats, for their part, want more cuts from defense appropriations. [..]

Earlier this month, Messrs. Bowles and Simpson proposed a series of changes to U.S. spending and tax policy that would hold down the growth of the federal debt by roughly $3.8 trillion by 2020. They included changes to Medicare, Social Security, defense spending and other areas. The current national debt is roughly $13.8 trillion. Notably, they proposed lowering income tax rates while eliminating certain tax breaks for the middle class, including the ability to deduct the interest paid on mortgages.

To be blunt, it's time to fight back:

By committing to call your senators in Congress and demanding that they oppose any cuts to Social Security this holiday season, you fight to ensure that you, your children and your grandchildren will have the security of knowing Social Security will be there.
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