WASHINGTON - NOW President Terry O'Neill delivered on a promise when she presented Fiscal Commission Co-Chair Alan Simpson with 1,500 baby bottle tops and promptly asked him to step down from the commission.
After Simpson insulted those who depend on Social Security -- many of them older women, children and people with disabilities -- by referring to the program as "a milk cow with 310 million tits," NOW came up with its "Tits for an Ass" campaign. The organization put out a call to its supporters, and they responded enthusiastically with donations to help buy baby bottle nipples in bulk to give to Simpson.
"We needed to send him this message in person, and we wanted to make it memorable," said O'Neill. "We can't have someone with obvious animosity toward women and seniors making important decisions on Social Security. This commission is supposed to be developing ways to reduce the national debt, which, by the way, has nothing to do with Social Security. But Mr. Simpson is bent on weakening a federal program that prevents many women retirees from living in deep poverty."
Women make up the largest group of elderly who live in poverty, and a cut in Social Security or raising the retirement age will only make things worse. Throughout their lives, women on average are paid less then men; in addition, they often work at part-time jobs or take extended leave from the workforce to raise children. As a result, women are less likely to have pensions, investments or life savings, making them extremely vulnerable in retirement.
"A cut to Social Security is a cut to the middle class. Mr. Simpson should know that the middle class is in a precarious position in this country, with millions in danger of falling into poverty," said O'Neill. "Asking women -- heck, asking anyone! -- to accept a cut in their Social Security benefits or to continue working into their 70s is no way to reduce the national debt, and it certainly is not the answer to strengthening the system."
O'Neill concluded: "Since it is clear that Mr. Simpson does not intend to step down from the Fiscal Commission, NOW will continue to urge President Obama to remove the Social Security foe from his influential position. And we will continue to educate women's rights and economic justice supporters about the threats to Social Security and what is at stake."