As a member of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, I am more than aware that a $17 trillion dollar national debt and a $700 billion deficit are serious problems that must be addressed. But I am also aware that real unemployment is close to 14 percent.
Now is the right time for a discussion about the deficit and debt, but Social Security does not contribute to either, and so cuts to the program should be off the table. Any discussion of Social Security's finances should take place separately from discussions of the federal debt.
Into the void of ex-dictator Hosni Mubarak comes a challenge for the United States to become an honest broker for peace between Israel and Palestine, to abandon preemptive wars, and to forsake its role as arms merchant to torturers.
The flamboyant co-chair of Obama's Fiscal Commission, Former Republican Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming, who became an instant You-Tube star earlier this summer with a rant against senior citizens, is at it again big-time.