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Why “Cat Food”?

It was pointed out that the use of “Cat Food Commission” in reference to attacks on the US Social Security system is very much an Americanism, and a historical reference for younger readers.

It may have started before the Reagan Social Security “fix” in the 1980s”, but that is when I remember it was used most prominently. It is definitely propaganda, and definitely effective.

The usage requires the stereotyping of the Social Security recipient as an elderly widow who lives alone with her cat, and states that those attempting to change the system will force the widow into eating cat food as a cheaper alternative to regular food.

It is necessary to know that the US had an extended period of high inflation at the time, and Social Security recipients were in trouble with the rising costs while living on a fixed income.

The net result was the doubling of the withholding tax and a rise in the retirement age to build up a surplus to cover the retirement of the Baby Boom. Boomers paid for their parents and themselves, breaking the pattern of each generation paying for its parents’ generation.

Boomers agreed to this, so we are not receptive to any more games by the same Wall Street crowd that destroyed the private retirement programs that companies once offered.


1 jams o donnell { 11.12.10 at 6:43 pm }

Thanks for the explanation

2 Bryan { 11.12.10 at 7:10 pm }

You are quite welcome, Jams. Thank you for the question, as I realized that many people, including younger people, who drop by this place, would have no idea what it meant, or why it was being used.

3 oldwhitelady { 11.15.10 at 7:15 pm }

Yes, I remember that. I don’t think I want to eat cat food, though. The canned doesn’t smell very appetizing. I guess if I had to, I could eat it. That’s a better alternative to eating the cats.

4 Bryan { 11.15.10 at 7:29 pm }

If things got tight, I’m not sure who would be eating who at my place 😉

The people who keep bringing this up don’t have to worry about their retirement, which is a problem. Congress should have to depend on Social Security and Medicare, just like the rest of us.