Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming, one of the saltier...


March 30, 1992

Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming, one of the saltier raconteurs down Washington way, was talking to the National Conference of State Legislatures the other day and opened his guns on the gray power lobby and its complaints that Social Security benefits are never enough to satisfy them.

He said his answer to the complainers is to tell them to "send a postcard to Baltimore" to find how much they have put in and how much they get out.

"One-third of the people on Social Security are really quite well off and have put in peanuts compared to what they're getting out," said the Cody, Wyo., Republican." He noted that the average American retiree, with a life expectancy of 9 to 13 years, gets his/her money back in 5 1/2 years -- a formula for actuarial meltdown.

"I'm always fascinated at Modern Maturity magazine [published by the American Association of Retired People]," Senator Simpson remarked.

"If you read that, it looks like the Smithsonian [magazine].

"It's got some of the jazziest ads and articles about some of the sleekest-looking gray-haired cats you've ever seen, dancing and taking Royal Viking cruises.

"And all the editorial material is how everybody over 65 is eating out of a garbage can," the senator said.

He figured that AARP has 29 million members, plus the support of another 10 million people who read Modern Maturity. "They just raise hell," he said, "but I always go to them and say, 'I'm sure you have grandchildren. What do you think about what you're doing to them?' "

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