WaPo Editorial Board Gulps the Simpson Catfood, Ignores Bernanke Bank-Robber Comparison

This is unsurprising. The primary journal of Versailles Media, Kaplan Test Prep Daily (the Washington Post, kept aloft by its for-profit education parent) backs Alan Simpson’s play on Social Security. Sure, he’s ‘brash,’ ‘colorful,’ and ‘intemperate.’ According to the WaPo. What the editorial overlooks is his ignorance: Simpson is wrong about Social Security’s solvency.

After reviewing the single e-mail Alan Simpson sent to Older Women’s League Executive Director Ashley Carson — ignoring: the missive he sent to Dean Baker, whose work on Social Security Simpson belittles; the phone call he made to Merton Berstein, who served on the 1983 Greenspan Commission which Simpson ignores; and his letter to Joan and Merton Bernstein which touts as gospel while missing the point of the Goss report — the WaPo editorial excuses the regrettable remarks this way:

This episode is as unfortunate as it is predictable; Mr. Simpson has a penchant for remarks that are colorful bordering on intemperate.

Then the editorial writer states as fact something that is simply not true:

But his fundamental point is correct: Social Security is not on a sustainable footing.

Of course, no federal spending is on a sustainable footing using the limited growth projections of the Trustees. As the Bernsteins point out in their excellent response to the Catfood Co-Chair:

Cuts are not necessary because the Social Security trust fund, now at $2.6 trillion and projected to grow to over $4 trillion, makes the funding outlook quite solid for another quarter century. Then, if necessary, a very modest FICA rate increase, about 1% for employees and a matching amount by employers, would banish the small Social Security long-term shortfall. Meanwhile, improved earnings — which are projected — would make such a change completely affordable. Why don’t we hear about that from commission members?

What other federal program is in such good shape for another quarter century? Why, none at all. So why is our national discourse directed at Social Security benefit cuts when trying to reduce the federal deficit?

Ben Bernanke said it best:

“Well, Senator, I was about to address entitlements,” Bernanke replied. “I think you can’t tackle the problem in the medium term without doing something about getting entitlements under control and reducing the costs, particularly of health care.”

Bernanke reminded Congress that it has the power to repeal Social Security and Medicare.

“It’s only mandatory until Congress says it’s not mandatory. And we have no option but to address those costs at some point or else we will have an unsustainable situation,” said Bernanke […]

Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) followed Bennett and pointed out that “there’s only really two ways you can deflect this deficit, and that’s either by cutting expenditures or raising income taxes or other forms of taxes.”

Reed asked him if he could think of other ways, but Bernanke returned to entitlement money as the way to balance the budget.

“Willie Sutton robbed banks because that’s where the money is, as he put it,” Bernanke said. “The money in this case is in entitlements.”

Why doesn’t the Washington Post editorial staff remember that it was the Chairman of the Federal Reserve who compared the Catfood Commission to a notorious bank robber? The Commission will recommend Sovereign Default on America’s bonds owed to our senior citizens in order to "reduce the deficit" for one simple, felonious reason:

because that’s where the money is

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