The Morning Joe crew got very excited today, because -- as you may already know -- former Sen. Alan Simpson (one of the titular heads of that whole “Simpson-Bowles Commission” that failed to approve an official plan to provide fiscal solvency) is really upset at a flyer produced by the California Alliance for Retired Americans. Really, really upset! So much so that he lashed out, in his own inimitable fashion, in a letter, saying, "What a wretched group of seniors you must be to use the faces of the very young people that we are trying to save, while the 'greedy geezers' like you use them as a tool and a front for your nefarious bunch of crap. ... You must feel some sense of shame for shoveling this bullshit."
Simpson also, for some reason, included this criticism: “Your little flyer entitled ‘Bowles! Simpson! Stop using the deficit as a phony excuse to gut our Social Security!’ is one of the phoniest excuses for a ‘flyer’ I have ever seen.”
What, exactly, makes for a “phony” flyer? Was it printed on the wrong weight paper? Or did they use comic sans, or something? Well, it seems that the flyer’s major error was containing far more words than Simpson could read.
Simpson said the the California Alliance for Retired Americans, should "read the damn report" -- recommendations from Simpson and deficit commission co-chair Erskine Bowles. But if Simpson were honest, he would have to admit that the group has obviously read his report. On the second page of its flyer,CARA offered a detailed list of criticisms for Simpson to address.
"If today's 25 year old retired at age 65 in 2050, having earned an average salary of today's $64,000, he or she would retire with 24.5% less Social Security benefits under your plan. How can you justify that cut if, as you admit, Social Security does not add to the deficit?"
The whole flyer is like that, actually, clearly written by people who have a detailed awareness of Simpson’s “damn report,” referring to -- one assumes -- the commission’s non-binding, never-approved “chairman’s mark,” which is the only thing that Simpson or Bowles produced in the course of the commission’s work.
The cast of MSNBC’s Morning Joe Scarborough and his panelists fawned over Simpson's potty-mouthed response to CARA’s flyer, giggling at the cuss words, before putting their super-serious faces back on. Scarborough lamented, "Yet another seniors’ group saying, 'Oh you're trying to kill Social Security,' and showing pictures of young people on the cover, which of course, is perverse." Scarborough declined to make the case for this perversity. (He should perhaps read the question from the flyer, included above, which explains why CARA is concerned about "young people.")
Another panelist added, "It just takes away from having a real debate.” And that comment deftly provided the show with the ideal segue to not have a real debate on the topic, shifting quickly to another matter. What’s really asinine about this is that so far, CARA is the only party to this discussion that wants to have a debate. That second page of the group's derided flyer includes 10 questions to which it is actively seeking a debate. It’s Simpson who actually doesn’t want to have “a real debate.”
Of course, this whole mini-segment on Morning Joe, in which CARA gets derided for polluting the discourse (by raising well-informed concerns that everyone flees from answering), just exemplifies the absurdity of Alan Simpson. He doesn’t make news for having anything particularly insightful to say about our country’s fiscal situation. He gets attention because, “LOOKIT OL’ COOTER HAVIN’ HISSELF A COOT ATTACK, Y’ALL.” And he uses the word “bullshit,” which is, to the Morning Joe gang, like, TOTAL LOLS.