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NOW to Deliver 1,500 “Tits for an Ass” to Alan Simpson (LIVESTREAM)

4:43 am in Economy, Executive Branch, Government, Politics by dcfightsback

NOW members have spoken loud and clear: they want Fiscal Commission Co-Chair Alan Simpson out – and NOW President Terry O’Neill is ready to send him home with 1,500 baby bottle nipples.

On Wednesday, Sept. 29, at the next meeting of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, O’Neill will hand deliver nearly 1,500 baby bottle nipples from NOW members as part of its "Tits for an Ass" campaign calling for the removal of Alan Simpson.

In August, Simpson sent a petulant and insulting e-mail tirade to Executive Director Ashley Carson of the Older Women’s League (OWL), comparing Social Security to “milk cow with 310 million tits” and disparaging those who advocate on behalf of Social Security recipients as unable to “find honest work.”

“NOW’s 500,000 members and supporters responded overwhelmingly when we asked them to use our website or Twitter account to help us buy baby bottle nipples,” says O’Neill. “And I’m ready to deliver them to Mr. Simpson — as a going-away gift — when I urge him to have the decency to step down from the Fiscal Commission.

“The Fiscal Commission should be led by someone who will actually try to address the federal budget deficit, instead of using it as an excuse to undermine Social Security by cutting benefits or raising the retirement age,” O’Neill continues. “Alan Simpson is not that person.”

Livestreaming the Closed Door Fiscal Commission Pt. 5

9:00 am in Uncategorized by dcfightsback

[Ed. Note: After Alex's encounter with Alan Simpson, the committee has apparently moved the meeting location without notice. Alex is trying to find out where it is being held.]

Streaming live video by Ustream
By Alex Lawson, Communications Director for Social Security Works.

This is the fifth installment of Social Security Works’ weekly livestream of the Closed Door Debt Commission. The best action is around 9:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., right as members of the commission are entering and leaving.

After last week’s livestream, there is little chance this week’s will be as exciting.

So let’s dwell in the past a little.

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Livestreaming the Closed Door Debt Commission Pt. 4

8:25 am in Uncategorized by dcfightsback

By Alex Lawson, Communications Director for Social Security Works.

This is the fourth installment of our weekly livestream of the Closed Door Debt Commission. The best action is around 9:15am and 11:30am, right as members of the commission are entering and leaving.

With unemployment hovering around 10 percent following the worst economic collapse in 70 years you would think that members of Congress would be working day and night to get Americans back to work. You would be wrong.

The deficit fear mongers have done such a number on the thinking in DC that members of Congress think that when the American people say "we need jobs!" that they are really saying "cut my Social Security." But, I guess that when a billionaire Wall Street banker spreads $12 million dollars around town it can really confuse people.

So now we are faced with another DC closed door meeting where lawmakers are going to talk about what government services they can cut to placate bondholders (who in reality don’t need much placating).

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Livestreaming the Closed Door Debt Commission Pt. 3

4:59 am in Open by dcfightsback

By Alex Lawson, Communications Director for Social Security Works.

This is the third installment of our weekly livestream of the Closed Door Debt Commission. The best action is around 9:15am and 11:30am, right as members of the commission are entering and leaving.

President Obama created the Debt Commission by executive order and immediately set the tone by appointing former Senator Alan Simpson and former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles.

These two picks sent a clear message; Social Security is on the chopping block.

Subsequent picks only heightened fears that the commission’s real task was to slip cuts to Social Security by a public that, for the most part, is unaware of the commission. Many of the picks have a "history of support for both benefit cuts and privatization of Social Security."

Sen. Simpson is famous for his animosity towards seniors, recently saying that for the commission to work, "You’ve got to scrub out [of] the equation the AARP, the Committee for the Preservation of Social Security and Medicare, the Gray Panthers, the Pink Panther, the whatever. Those people are lying… [They] don’t care a whit about their grandchildren…not a whit."

During the Clinton White House, Mr. Bowles was known as "Corporate America’s Friend in the White House." Only after the fact did it become clear that Erskine Bowles’ true claim to fame was as "the liaison between Clinton and Gingrich."

In his book, The Pact, author Steve Gillon reports that the biggest deal that Bowles was brokering was a partial privatization of Social Security alongside benefit cuts enacted by "raising the minimum age required for Social Security and for changing the COLA formula."

In a recent discussion, Gillon affirmed that from appearances it looks like the current commission is looking for the same "deal" as the Clinton-Gingrich "pact." And that Erskine Bowles is reprising his role as deal-maker extraordinaire.

The only difference between now and then, is that in Clinton’s time it was the budget surplus that was used to explain the need to "fix" Social Security, now it is the budget deficit being used to explain the same necessity.

Watch the livestream below from 9am-noon, Wednesday May, 19 2010.
Live streaming video by Ustream

I know that watching a closed door is not that riveting, so check out the highlights from the last two weeks here and here.

This week is the meeting of the Tax Working Group. See the membership of the working groups below.
Working Group Chart

Billionaires for Social Insecurity Ask for Donations

6:32 pm in Uncategorized by dcfightsback

Also posted at the Alliance for Retired Americans Blog

This week, Peter Peterson [net worth $2.8 billion] and his foundation convened a closed-door meeting of Wall Street billionaires and millionaires at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Building in D.C.

Peterson is a former CEO of Lehman Brothers and former chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He underwrites the foundation with his own money, and his agenda is not a secret.

Peterson says the coming retirement of baby boomers is a threat to the economy and the federal budget. He wants to see significant cuts in Social Security and Medicare benefits, and would prefer a stream-lined process via a commission to implement these changes to "reduce the deficit."

After taxpayers bailed out Wall Street for over $700 billion, Peterson is worried about the deficit. And, of course the real problem is… Social Security. (The problem certainly would not be recent tax cuts, unfunded wars, and billions of taxpayer dollars squandered as bonuses to the very financial managers who brought the economy to near-ruin.)

Let’s look at the facts:

• Social Security has a $2.5 trillion surplus, which is enough to pay benefits for 25 years or more.
• Without Social Security, 55% of severely disabled workers and their families would live in poverty; 47% of elderly households would live in poverty; another 1.3 million children would fall into poverty
• Social Security’s long-term solvency can be resolved by relatively modest adjustments and without cutting benefits.

The group today which included Alan Greenspan [$5 million]; Robert Rubin [$124 million]; Congressman Paul Ryan R-WI [$2.8 million]; Erskine Bowles [$71.5 million]; John Castellani [$5.57 million 2008 salary]; Sen. Judd Gregg R-NH [$10.2 million]; and Bill Clinton [$35 million], didn’t catch the show outside the Ronald Reagan Building over lunch hour.

Some "Billionaires for Social Insecurity" in tuxedos and gowns countered the secret meeting inside with a more public ask of the public (today this happened to include large groups of children on field trips) to donate their Social Security benefits so that they, the billionaires, could continue business as usual.

Social Security, Ageism and the President’s Fiscal Commission

9:00 am in Uncategorized by dcfightsback

Co-authored by Eric Kingson, Nancy Altman and Lori Hansen.

The President’s Fiscal Commission is off to a very bad start. And it hasn’t even met!

The rhetoric of the President’s choices to chair this important commission, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, endangers Social Security and suggests insensitivity to 40 million older Americans.

Even before all the members of the commission were chosen, Bowles went on record before the North Carolina Bankers’ Association saying that if the Commission doesn’t "mess with Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security … America is going to be a second-rate power" in his lifetime." Hardly the statement of an objective and impartial chair of a national commission.

His co-chair, Alan Simpson, gives ugly voice to harsh, ageist stereotypes, deriding older Americans as "greedy geezers." Here’s how he described the future of the fiscal commission: "It’ll be a bloodbath. Let me tell you, everything that Bush and Clinton or Obama have suggested with regard to Social Security doesn’t affect anyone over 60, and who are the people howling and bitching the most? The people over 60. This makes no sense. You’ve got to scrub out [of] the equation the AARP, the Committee for the Preservation of Social Security and Medicare, the Gray Panthers, the Pink Panther, the whatever. Those people are lying… [They] don’t care a whit about their grandchildren…not a whit."

The nation’s serious long-term fiscal problems need to be addressed but will not be if the co-chairs consistently wrongly characterize Social Security as a fiscal drain and a cause of the nation’s long-term structural deficit. As they should know, Social Security is forbidden by federal law to borrow and can pay benefits only if it has sufficient income and assets to cover the cost.

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