April 18, 2013

Simpson's speech revealed lack of grasp about many seniors' lives

Simpson received a standing ovation and made front-page news when he spoke recently at Colby College. It behooves us all to heed what he said, but also to know what he did not say about the plan proposed by his coalition.

Still, Simpson's group persists in its efforts to replace a bad plan -- the COLA -- with a worse one -- the chained CPI.

I doubt that Simpson dwelt too much on the "chained CPI" in his remarks at Colby. And while he was said to "rip lobbyists," it's a sure bet he didn't mention that his own Fix the Debt coalition recently hired three pricey lobbyists to advance the group's cause, according to a recent article published by the Center for Public Integrity.

For many years now, candidates from both political parties have promised to protect Social Security for current retirees. The "chained CPI" breaks that promise and, if implemented, will result in the oldest and poorest seniors bearing the burden of much-needed debt reduction. Unfortunately, Simpson's group is not alone in proposing changes to the COLA. President Barack Obama's budget contains a similar plan.

We can't afford to let Fix the Debt corporate backers buy this debate and sell off Social Security benefits. Our elected officials should support a budget that protects financial security for seniors and raises the revenue we need from corporations and individuals who can well afford to pay their fair share.

Time was when America's landscape was dotted with poor farms where the old, disabled and penniless went to die. The Social Security system changed all that, and I, for one, don't ever want to go back to a such a time, when it concerns the treatment of our most vulnerable and venerable citizens.

Now retired, Marilyn Canavan served in the Maine House of Representatives for eight years and was director of Maine's Ethics Commission for 10 years.

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