Monday, January 14, 2013

"Fix The Debt": A Cover to Undermine Your Future Security!

Exposing the shameless Neoliberal, corporate, Wall Street greed mongers in our midst is an ongoing project - but fortunately inroads have been made. We now have an idea of the cabal out to undermine Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in order to further feather their own gargantuan nests.

Most of this refuse are found in the Neoliberal orbit where banksters, Maul Street interests, business and government collude and have erected front groups to pursue their nefarious ends.  As a point of interest, SourceWatch’s  points out, in reality, the “Campaign to Fix the Debt” is just the latest effort by Peter G. Peterson and a bunch of his billionaire friends and corporate cronies to chop away at Social Security and Medicare, all in the name of fixing America’s “debt problem”. The tragedy is getting politicos who ought to know better to follow him in this dastardly effort.

The latest expose, reported in assorted liberal-progressive sources including, as well as The New York Times, features Fix the Debt, a group of business executives and onetime legislators who have become Washington’s most visible and best-financed advocates for reining in the federal deficit.  These scumballs were exposed when troglydyte Jim McCrery, a former Louisiana congressman, urged lawmakers last month to "pursue entitlement cuts and tax reform", and was introduced on television as a leader of the hitherto unknown enclave.

Interestingly, McCrery made no mention  of his day job: a lobbyist at Capitol Counsel L.L.C. His clients have included the Alliance for Savings and Investment, a group of large companies pushing to maintain low tax rates on dividend income, and the Win America Campaign, a coalition of multinational corporations that lobbied for a one-time “repatriation holiday” allowing them to move offshore profits back home without paying taxes. (So, they get to diss American workers while loading up overseas on profits, then ship those profits back home free!)

Fix the Debt has succeeded in confecting a "public-spirited, elder-statesman sheen to the cause of deficit reduction" according to the Times. Like busy little bees (or maybe the Africanized mutants) during recent  fiscal cliff negotiations,  they set up grass-roots chapters around the country, met with President Obama and his aides, and hosted private breakfasts for lawmakers on Capitol Hill. In recent weeks, Fix the Debt has redoubled its efforts, starting a new national advertising campaign and calling on Mr. Obama and Congress to revise the tax code and reduce long-term spending on entitlement programs.

Obama-  for his part, seemed to have taken their "entitlement-reduction" Kool Aid, appearing on 'Meet the Press'  on Dec. 30th while most of the country was getting ready for New Year's Eve. Obama strongly indicated he'd have no problem adopting the Chained CPI to reduce Social Security, a device I have railed against before - even demanding Obama (after the Nov. 6 election) acquire some cojones, unless deep down he really wants to do the Chained CPI. (See also:

The New York Times, in an editorial yesterday, also added its voice - advising Obama that this would be a terrible move, as well as dismissing the Neoliberal notion that "it is not a real benefit cut". The Times observed:

"The administration and other proponents of switching to a chained C.P.I. contend that it is a technical fix in the interest of greater accuracy, not a benefit cut per se. But that claim does not stand up to scrutiny. The chained index is in many ways a better method of tracking price changes for the broad working population, but there is no compelling evidence that it is better for computing the Social Security COLA.

What is known is that elderly households tend to have lower incomes and lower expenditures than younger households, and that more of their purchases are for needs that cannot be met by switching to products and services in unrelated categories. That indicates that they do not have the same flexibility as younger households to respond to price changes while still maintaining their standards of living. And because of the way it is calculated, the chained C.P.I. would also result in delayed upward adjustments in the COLA in times of accelerating inflation. Such delays would translate into real benefit cuts, leaving retirees worse off."

The Times editorial concludes:

"In the meantime, there are other, well-researched reforms to Social Security that the administration and other policy makers could pursue. For instance, it is well understood that upper-income people live longer than the less affluent. The formula for determining Social Security benefits could be gradually and modestly adjusted to reflect those longer lives, while making the system more progressive and cutting spending. Another sensible reform would be to raise the level of wages currently subject to the Social Security payroll tax, so that it better reflects the income gains of top earners over the past several decades.

But prematurely forcing through a COLA cut would be unnecessary and unwise. "

Obama, take note! Please do not be a tool for 'Fix the Debt' and do their dirty work for them!
Back to the 'Fix the debt' scum. According to Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal-leaning advocacy group, and a former economic adviser to Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr::

“Some of these folks who are trying to be part of the solution have also been part of the problem, They’ve often fought hard against the kind of balance that we need on the revenue side. Many of the people we’re talking about are associated with policies that would make it a lot harder to fix the debt.”

Other board members and steering committee members have deep ties to the financial industry, including private equity, whose executives have aggressively fought efforts to alter a tax provision, known as the carried interest exception, that significantly reduces their personal income taxes.  Another one of these guys, tied to investments, is former PA Governor Ed Rendell.
I used to have some measure of respect for Rendell - during the campaign - and then we watched him 10 days ago on 'The Cycle', actually demanding  progressives accept the implementation of the Chained CPI and extending the Medicare age.  I screamed out loud, as I might after Aaron Rodgers gets pick-sixed,  with wifey in earshot: “He’s a Neoliberal FUCK!!"
Wifey concurred (using the more genteel term 'rat' instead), acknowledging his frequent appearances on all the most liberal MSNBC shows had duped us. So it goes!  Rendell has since been parroting talking points from his financial-industry cronies. After all, though MSNBC did not identify the former governor as such, Philadelphia magazine  notes that he is currently a “corporate consigliere Greenhill & Co investment bank” and the co-chair of “Fix the Debt” — a “blue-chip cabal of 130-plus plutocrats who have anted up a $43 million kitty to fund a multimedia stealth campaign/public relations offensive” pushing to both preserve tax breaks for the wealthy and dismantle Social Security."
As I said before and will again, we now have TWO corporate parties and the Dems are as bad as the Reepos when it comes to kowtowing to the corporate hegemony and screwing citizens - they just prefer to use lots of lube...over a longer time. They both drink from the same corporate hog trough, and inequality is the same result whether it takes 4 yrs. under reep-turds or 16 yrs. under Demos.   This is why I earlier wrote in advocacy of a Dem schism, e.g.
Let me be even more blunt: We need Neoliberal, Wall Street - Investment linked apparatchiks like Ed Rendell like a "hole in the head".  But the Neoliberal incursion doesn't end there. We now also know that Erskine Bowles, appointed to the ill-conceived Obama "Deficit Commission", was none other than a co-founder of Fix the Debt, and (according to the NY Times piece on 'Fix the debt') was paid $345,000 in stock and cash in 2011 as a board member at Morgan Stanley, while Judd Gregg, a former Republican senator from New Hampshire and a co-chairman of Fix the Debt, is a paid adviser to Goldman Sachs. Both companies have engaged in lobbying on international tax rules.
How fucked up was the recent fiscal cliff 'fix' and how many hands of 'Fix the Debt' were on it? You be the judge. Just note that the fiscal deal preserved the carried interest loophole, eliminated most of a large prospective increase in dividends taxes and preserved a tax break, known as the active financing exception, that allows G.E. and other multinational companies to avoid paying United States taxes on overseas profits.
The deal also forestalled large automatic cuts in military spending, a boon to contractors like Honeywell. The company’s chief executive, David M. Cote, is a co-founder of Fix the Debt; the group’s “core principles,” which call for retrenchment in entitlement programs like Social Security, make no mention of military spending, which constitutes about a fifth of the federal budget. Of course, the military jagoffs would call for cuts to "entitlements"! Former defense analyst Chuck Spinney warned of such back in 2005 after the GDP allocation to the Pentagon went up to 6.2%. He said it was effectively "a war on Social Security and Medicare".
Now here's an even more ironic sounding note, according to the NY Times piece:
"Yet after an election in which many industries, including Wall Street, bet heavily against Mr. Obama, Fix the Debt has also had more credibility among Democrats than some traditional business groups like the United States Chamber of Commerce."
Why more credibility among Dems? Because these "dems" are Neoliberal, brain jacked a-holes. I no more regard them as progressive brothers in arms than I would Eric Kantor or Paul Ryan. (For more of my opinions on these "dems" see the blog link above on the coming schism in the D-party which I welcome!) Sadly, the Democratic brand has been shattered by corporatist greedheads and poseurs who are really Repuke Lite. They will never admit it but that's what they are.
I have not changed my progressive-liberal outlook, stances in more than 45 years, even as the country lurched Right under Reagan, and Gee Dubya.  Sadly, many of my former Dem friends now regard me as a "commie" or "radical" because of that failure to move "center-right'  with the times like they did. But that's ok with me. I'd rather be a "commie" (actually a Socialist) than a bought and paid for corporate wussie "centrist", progressive poseur or sellout. 
So let any pseudo-progressive chime in on how terrific Ed Rendell is or the chained CPI, or raising the Medicare age. I will simply laugh in a derided way on how brains have been gutted and parasitized over the last 40-odd years! Meanwhile, for REAL liberals, progressives (which Rendell dismisses as a "tiny sliver" of the progressive populace), you best keep monitoring 'Fix the Debt' - also send letters, email to the WH if Obama remotely appears to be buying their hogswill.

As for Rendell's opinion, we will see how the Dems fare in the next two elections if that "tiny sliver" doesn't bother to show up because of having been betrayed!


Jeny said...

Thanks for sharing the nice information regarding the security.
I like the image very much. Thanks a lot.
curso seguridad privada

Copernicus said...

You're most welcome, Jeny!