Selling Out America’s Youth: An Open Letter to Alan Simpson

Written by

Maya Rockeymoore
Maya Rockeymoore Dr. Maya Rockeymoore is president and CEO of Global Policy Solutions, a social change strategy firm in Washington, D.C., and the Center for Global Policy Solutions, a social change nonprofit dedicated to making policy work for people and their environments. She is also the co-chair of the Commission to Modernize Social Security. A regular guest on radio and television shows, Dr. Rockeymoore has appeared on NPR, CNN, Black Entertainment Television, ABC World News Tonight, Fox News, Al Jazeera and C-SPAN.

Dear former Senator Alan Simpson,

I’ve seen you on television chatting up your debt reduction proposal with Jon Stewart of the Daily Show, Savannah Guthrie of the Today Show and Bob Schieffer of Face the Nation. And while you come across as a likable guy, your claim to be working on behalf of the next generation of young Americans is bogus. Here’s why.

You see, your argument rests on a big myth: that in order to save Social Security and Medicare for the young, you have to cut our benefits. This couldn’t be further from the truth. There are fairer ways to ensure that these pillars of American progress stand the test of time. One option includes making wealthy individuals pay more by lifting Social Security’s cap on wages, currently set at $110,100.

Despite several members of Congress introducing legislation to this effect, you are not telling people about this solution. Is it because the Wall Street donors who are backing your multi-million dollar campaign to “fix the debt” by undermining the social safety net would be against increasing taxes on themselves? Sounds plausible.

You have also failed to point out that through cuts to Medicare and Social Security’s earned benefits you would be making our children and grandchildren pay for a deficit created by the same irresponsible people who now want our youth to pick up the tab. A report by the nonpartisan National Academy of Social Insurance shows just how much today’s children and grandchildren would be shortchanged if just one of the proposals in your plan were enacted.

Under your plan, today’s 35-year-olds who earn a wage of $43,000 (in 2010 dollars) and retire at the age of 65 in 2040 would stand to lose $1,300 in Social Security retirement payments per year for the rest of their lives. If the 35-year-old lives until the age of 78, he or she would lose almost $17,000 in real money! Amazingly, you would stick it to your grandchildren even more. Your plan would cause a 5-year-old child today who retires at the age of 65 in the year 2070 to lose $2,627 per year for the rest of their lives. If this is what you call saving the programs for today’s youth, then please let us drown.

Read the full article in The Huffington Post

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