More information about the commission in charge Social Security's future...
The Social Security commission - or National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform - is a group formed by the order of President Barack Obama.
In theory, the commission should be proposing recommendations to balance the budget -- such as ending tax cuts for the rich, cutting wasteful military spending, and allowing the government to negotiate better rates with the health insurance and drug industries. But, in reality, it is focused almost exclusively on cutting widely-loved, crucially important, and solvent programs that benefit the public like Social Security, which recent polling puts at over 80% approval.
The commission, which has 18 members, will vote by December 1, 2010 on final recommendations. Congress will then have to vote on these recommendations without amendment.
Alan Simpson is a reminder that this commission is not credible -- it is led by people who do not represent the interests of the American people, and are not sticking up for the priorities of most Americans.
The commission is co-chaired by Alan Simpson, former Republican Senator from Wyoming and outspoken Social Security opponent.
The other co-chair is Erskine Bowles, a former corporate CEO and Democratic White House Chief of Staff, who sits on the board of General Motors and Morgan Stanley. Bowles is also a member of the Business Council, which advocates for corporate interests and lobbied to water down Wall Street reform.
The Executive Director is Bruce Reed, CEO of the corporate-funded Democratic Leadership Council.
Other members of the commission include:
The commission has 3 working groups -- one on discretionary spending, mandatory spending, and taxes. Despite public pressure to make the meetings public, these working groups all meet secretly.
Aside from hearings, commission meetings have been almost exclusively held behind closed doors, with no accountability to the public.
Why would President Obama appoint a group of unaccountable millionaires to meet in secret and discuss cutting programs like Social Security and Medicare? We have no idea.
The reality is, the Commission shouldn’t even be addressing Social Security. Their responsibility is to reduce the deficit, but Social Security doesn’t contribute to the deficit. The national debt can be cut easily by doing things like letting Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy expire, addressing wasteful military spending that two consecutive Republican Secretaries of Defense have admitted exists, and reducing health care spending by passing a public option and allowing the government to negotiate better rates with the health insurance and drug industries.
In fact, we're not really sure why we should have an unaccountable group of secret-meeting-loving millionaires deciding national fiscal policy at all.
Alan Simpson, a millionaire who hates Social Security and considers millions of Americans on Social Security to be sucking on the public "tit," symbolizes how this commission lacks credibility and is not standing up for the public interest.