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No one loves you more than you love yourself: Alan Simpson edition

Screen Shot 2012-12-06 at 9.04.34 AMAlan Simpson was on the DailyShow with Jon Stewart last night. I guess he was sent by the powers that be to soften up the younger crowd.

Note to the powers that be: If you’re trying to sell something as unpalatable and sadistic as cuts to the social insurance programs (and let’s be honest here, raising the retirement age even by one year while recalculating the COLA based on some new criteria *is* a cut), don’t send this guy. You want to send some young, hot dude, like Ben Affleck, not some crotchety, old guy who is prematurely decomposing before our eyes and is already sucking off the government teat.

Oh, did I forget to mention that? In 2010, this is what Alan Simpson had to say about Americans who put so much of our own blood, sweat and money into our social insurance benefits policies:

In a letter responding to criticisms against him from a group representing older women, former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson wrote that he has “spent many years in public life trying to stabilize” Social Security. However, he wrote, “Yes, I’ve made some plenty smart cracks about people on Social Security who milk it to the last degree. You know ’em too. It’s the same with any system in America. We’ve reached a point now where it’s like a milk cow with 310 million tits!”


I think what angers me the most about Alan Simpson’s “Suck it up, people. It’s not as bad as a hot poker up your rectum” attitude is that it’s so out of touch with the reality of our present working environment.

Women my age were socked with a surplus SSI tax the minute we started working full time. We were told that we needed to pay our benefits in advance. Ok, fine. And then we started working and almost as soon as we hit that pension vested mark, our companies shifted us over to 401Ks.

But that wasn’t all. In the US, it takes 5 years at most companies to go from 2 weeks to 3 weeks of vacation. Maternity leave is not paid. If you have sick days, you’re lucky, but these usually get factored into the maternity leave you get, along with your vacation time, if you’re lucky enough to work for a company that grants it. So, you come back to work exhausted with no vacation or sick time. And you do that for years while you pay the highest child care costs in the western world.

Meanwhile, our European cousins get 6 weeks of vacation time to start.

Our work ethic in America is relentless. We work hard, very hard, for a lot longer than most of the developed world, and get a lot less time off to enjoy the rest of our lives. In the last decade, I routinely had weeks of vacation time left at the end of the year from the 4 weeks I worked up to after 20 years. I rolled them over to the next year. And why did I have so much time left over? I was afraid to leave my desk, not that it mattered in the end.

Here’s my point: The American worker is wildly productive. It’s insane how hard we work for as many decades as we do under the constant stress and fear of layoff and economic insecurity. The masters of the universe should be grateful that all they have to pay is 7% of an employee’s social security benefit. But no, they are not grateful. They don’t want to have to pay anything.

Meanwhile, if any of us had known back in 1986 that we were going to be set on a track of decades of work with few productive, restorative breaks only to end up with absolutely nothing when the time came to retire, if we were ever able to retire, we would have done things quite differently. Maybe we would have demanded more up front. Maybe we would have screamed bloody murder when George Bush stole the White House from Al Gore. Maybe we would have tarred and feathered Newt Gingrich back in the 90s and rode his fat ass out of Washington on a rail. Maybe we would have saved more, bought smaller houses (although, my house is already pretty reasonable). Maybe we would have seen the social issues as what they were, a clever decoy to get older conservative voters to sign on to punitive economic policies. Maybe we would have been a lot more vigilant about absolutely everything.

But we didn’t know. And why didn’t we know? It’s because we are Americans and bad stuff happens to people in other countries. Even now, you’re probably sitting there reading this thinking, “They can’t be serious about cutting social security for those of us who don’t have decent pensions to retire on. They couldn’t be that heartless. We’re Americans.”

Oh, yes, they would. They would do it. And that’s because “No one loves you more than you love yourself”. In other words, do not expect people like Alan Simpson or Nancy Pelosi, and definitely NOT Barack Obama, to care two shits about what happens to you. Politics to them is a game, not a service. They spend their days listening to lobbyists of the self-identified “Jahb creators” crying crocodile tears about how hard it is for them to find good help anymore. Those people don’t think you deserve the salary you’ve got, let alone retirement benefits. They definitely will expect you to “suck it up, people”. You WILL retire poor, if you can retire at all. That’s what you get for sacrificing the best years of your life to American capitalism so the 1% can live comfortably.

They’re going to try to turn Social Security into a welfare program instead of a social insurance program. That money is ours to do as we like, whether or not Alan Simpson, acting like some selfish ex-husband on behalf of the rest of the selfish ex-husbands in the elite group of rich and well connected, thinks we need it or not. They will never, never stop until the Republicans and conservative Democrats and their backers are reduced in numbers in the House and Senate to make them completely impotent. They don’t care about you. They don’t love you. Your life is not important to them and they’re going to do everything in their power to deprive you of the money YOU paid because in order for the rich to take what they want they have to convince themselves that  you haven’t worked hard enough. Yes, that is what they think.

Are you going to take this lying down?


Found this QOTD over at Corrente:

If we didn’t share in the prosperity, why should we share in the sacrifice?”

Yes, all of us should be asking ourselves this question.

11 Responses

  1. I am in complete agreement, except for “prematurely decomposing.” Isn’t he something like 300 years old? Will he ever die? Or is he the undead?

    • Can’t you just hear him thinking, “better to die quickly and reduce the surplus population.”
      “Hey, you kids, get off my lawn or I’m calling the police!”

  2. Part of being in the Greed, Outrage,& Paranoia party is the ability, after giving Wall street everything they want and more, to tell hard working Americans to suck it up with a straight face.

  3. Well, it’s happened. The European boy wonder of the company came to America this week, for the express purpose of firing my sixty two year old husband, who is -obviously-three years away from retirement, Social Security and Medicare.
    This, after my husband gave them twenty years of hard work and devotion.
    We’re phucked.
    What terrifies me, of course, is the health insurance angle. If one of us gets really sick or needs an operation before the Medicare kicks in-in three long years- that’s the end of us.
    Conflucians, keep me in your good thoughts.

    • 😦
      I’m so sorry. It sucks to have it happen before Christmas but at least you’ll go into the shopping season knowing what to expect. I got the news in January, which was more than surprising. It was too late to dial back on the presents. My last day wasn’t until April so that helped. If your husband gets severance, that will be very helpful. At 20 years, I’m guesstimating that it will be about 1 year of severance. Make plans in the meantime to downsize and/or relocate.

      I’m still on COBRA and it *is* expensive. See if your husband’s company offers a lower cost plan before his COBRA kicks in. My company only had a top of the line plan so I hope you have better luck. Other than that, stop anything you don’t absolutely need. You don’t need cable. Get an apple tv or Roku box for $99 and use your internet for news and entertainment. Check your auto insurance. If you’re not commuting anymore, there’s no reason to pay for that.

      Also, if your hubby is in a group insurance policy, switch to a term policy. He’ll need to get a physical but you will save a lot of money. Once you have to start paying your own insurance payments, you’ll find that they’re more than you want to shell out but you MUST have life insurance.

      I don’t know what your husband does for a living but there are services like Encore that hook companies up to professionals with experience to gain some consulting work. I was told that I was too young for Encore (it was the nicest thing I heard all week). If you are in NJ, the unemployment bennies top out at $2400/month. It’s nowhere near enough to live on here but take anything they give you and don’t have them take any taxes out.

      Tell everyone you know that you need a job. Be willing to intern or volunteer. Do it cheerfully. You’ll find that work is divine no matter if you are paid or not and it will take your mind off of your problems. When you do get a paying job again, you’ll be glad you kept your skills fresh.

      • Thanks, Kim. I knew you’d be a font of wisdom, and I hope with all my heart that you find well compensated employment like now.
        We’ll look into Encore and though we’re both a bit reclusive, we’ll be networking like crazy.
        Thanks, so much, for your kind and wise reply.
        If only, we weren’t so damned old.

    • {{{SSue}}} I am so sorry! How the hell this keeps happening without any public acknowledgement of the tragedy is more than I can understand.

      Oh, yes — sure. RAISE the age of Medicare when anyone laid off in their 50s is never going to hold a real job (like their old one) again.

      How can they even think about it?

      And raise the retirement age? They’re still raising it from the LAST time they raised it.

      I swear, if I ever one one of those big lotteries, I would start a medical Bill Paying Coop.

      Is there anyway to start such a thing without a HUGE amount of cash up front?

      • Thanks, katiebird.
        The cherry on the sundae: just found out they are sending my husband to China for two weeks-maybe, at Christmas time-because they really “need” him to straighten things out over there. They just don’t need him enough to let him stay on for two and a half years.
        I can’t wait until he has to interview the candidates for his replacement.
        Corporate loyalty is a one way street.

        • Could your husband wreak all kinds of subtle well-hidden time-delayed sabotage within the organization and trainees and successors over in China? Designed to start showing up long after he has collected whatever severance he can . . . and disguised well enough that it cannot be provably traced back to him?

          Or can he plant several anonymous time-delayed self-blowing whistles designed to start going off after he is too far away from the company for it to be able to “reach out and touch him”?

    • Sue, I’m so sorry that this has happened to you and your husband. And it’s really insulting of the company to send him to another continent at the holidays when they’re not willing to treat him as a loyal employee should be treated.

      My brother was laid off from Nationwide two years ago after thirty-two years. They laid off his wife the same day. Corporate loyalty is a myth. Most workers in the US are treated like shit. RD is right about volunteering and networking. My brother and, particularly, his wife are introverts, too, and both have suffered depression since the layoffs. My brother is getting better but my sister-in-law is getting worse. Doing something for others does put everything in perspective.

      I wish you and your husband the best in the future.

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