U.S. deficit panel chair apologizes for cow remark

By Caren Bohan and Donna Smith

WASHINGTON, Aug 25 (BestGrowthStock) – The co-chairman of a
commission on the U.S. budget deficit apologized on Wednesday
after likening the handing out of government retirement
benefits to milking cows.

Alan Simpson, a Republican who serves on the bipartisan
deficit panel created by President Barack Obama, wrote this
week that the Social Security retirement program has reached
the point “where it’s like a milk cow with 310 million tits.”

“I apologize for what I wrote,” Simpson said in a letter to
the Older Women’s League, which identifies itself as a group
representing the interests of middle-aged and older women.

OWL has said Simpson should resign from the panel, and if
he will not, that Obama should ask him to leave.

The former senator from Wyoming made the comment about
Social Security in an e-mail this week to Ashley Carson, OWL’s
executive director.

Simpson’s e-mail took issue with a column Carson wrote in
April accusing him of “ageism and sexism” for considering cuts
to Social Security.

“If you have some better suggestions about how to stabilize
Social Security instead of just babbling into the vapors, let
me know,” wrote Simpson, 78, adding, “Call me when you get
honest work.”

In his apology letter to Carson, Simpson, who is known for
his biting sense of humor, said he had put his foot in his
mouth and added “when I make a mistake, it’s a doozy.”

The deficit commission is considering recommending cuts to
benefits and raising the retirement age as a way to shore up
the finances of the 75-year-old Social Security program.

The 18-member panel is looking at other spending cuts as
well as a long list of tax breaks in its effort to find ways to
rein in the $1.4 trillion budget deficit.

Advocacy groups for the elderly fear the commission, which
is to report its recommendations to Obama in December, will
only reach agreement on cutting Social Security.

Carson said OWL opposes raising the retirement age or
benefit cuts. She said Social Security’s finances can be shored
up by raising the cap on the amount of income that is now
subject to the Social Security payroll tax. Currently, the
first $106,800 of income is taxed at a 12.4 percent rate and
that amount is equally shared by employee and employer.
(Writing by Caren Bohan; Editing by Xavier Briand)

U.S. deficit panel chair apologizes for cow remark