Monday, February 25, 2013

Wealthy GOP Donor Pete Peterson Behind 'Fix the Debt' Campaign to Keep Loopholes/Low Taxes for Wealthy

When I saw a Tweet from John Nichols on 'Fix the Debt' that came from his visit with Up With Chris Hayes on MSNBC this weekend, decided to check out the video.  The link led to a lot more information first from the Crooks and Liars website, then to Source Watch, The Nation, and PR Watch which is a new group started by The Center for Media and Democracy.  Found this paragraph from PR Watch very telling:
While the Fix the Debt CEOs call for cuts to Social Security, many of the publicly-traded Fix the Debt firms underfund their employee pension plans -- making their workers even more dependent on the popular social insurance plan that American workers pay into with each paycheck.
With sequestration, we are dealing with wealthy scum who are more interested in making even more money on the backs of the 98% of us who do the work.  Convinced this bunch of greedy millionaires/billionaires will do anything they can to protect their tax loopholes with their campaign not to raise revenue but do the cuts which will hurt the economy and allow these vultures to buy up companies for cheap.  Never paid attention to 'Fix the Debt' group filled with conflicts of interest but now it has my full attention.
John Nichols: 'Fix the Debt' Run by Billionaires Who Really Want Lower Taxes
John Nichols, Crooks and Liars Video
From this Saturday's Up With Chris Hayes, panel member and Hayes' fellow contributor at The Nation brought up a topic at the end of the show that we unfortunately don't hear too often on MSNBC, which is the fact that the "Fix the Debt" campaign is not really interested in "fixing" anything. They're funded by a bunch of billionaires that are pushing for austerity measures and who are really just interested in lowering their taxes. 
Sadly I don't expect we'll be seeing any disclaimers from the network every time they have one of these lobbyists from Pete Peterson's group on any time soon though, especially considering they've got one of them on their payroll. The more we complain, the more the so-called "liberal" network puts Ed Rendell on the air without disclosing his conflict of interests on the matter and he's just the tip of the iceberg when you look at the entire list of their leadership. 
As Nichols informed the viewers here, there is a new web site that's been launched by The Center for Media and Democracy called PRWatch which has a lot more information on "Fix the Debt." You can check out the site here: PRWatch
And here is more from one of their recent posts: Pete Peterson’s “Fix the Debt” Astroturf Supergroup Detailed in New Online Resource at
Madison, WI -- One of the most hypocritical corporate PR campaigns in decades is advancing inside the beltway, attempting to convince the White House, Congress, and the American people that another cataclysmic economic crisis is around the corner that will destroy our economy unless urgent action is taken. Soon this astroturf supergroup may be coming to a state near you.
“We would not be here if it wasn’t for the Peterson Foundation and Pete Peterson. They laid the groundwork and we stand here on their shoulders.” – Fix the Debt Co-Founder Erskine Bowles
Today the Center for Media and Democracy launches a new wiki resources on the funding, leaders, partner groups and lobbyists of the Campaign to Fix the Debt, see it here at over David Koch and George Soros! The effort is being bankrolled by one of the wealthiest men in the nation. Peter G. Peterson made a fortune at the Blackstone Group on Wall Street. He conveniently cashed out with $2 billion shortly before the 2008 financial meltdown and now has pledged to spend $1 billion of that payout to convince Americans -- who overwhelmingly want to keep and strengthen Social Security and Medicare -- that these programs threaten our very existence as a nation. 
His task is a tough one. [...] 
Key to the strategy is ginning up a crisis. In lockstep, the CEOs, politicians, and partner organizations stormed the media last fall warning of the looming disaster of the so-called “fiscal cliff.” Breaching the fiscal cliff “will lead to chaos,” warned Erskine Bowles; “derail the fragile recovery,” said Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein; generate a "shock to the financial markets and a painful return to the recession,” said the CEO of Morgan Stanley. 
But this chorus of calamity was pure hype. One Fix the Debt steering committee member, former Tennessee governor Phil Bredesen, let slip that the strategy was to create an “artificial crisis” that would force Congress to act. 
Their goal is to achieve a Simpson-Bowles style “grand bargain” on an austerity agenda for the United States by the nation’s 237th birthday on July 4, 2013. [...]
Many Fix the Debt firms pay a very low or even a negative average tax rate, contributing to the nation's deficit. Fix the Debt is secretly pushing for a major tax break that would exempt profits earned overseas by U.S. firms from taxation and encourage the offshoring of U.S. jobs. While the Fix the Debt CEOs call for cuts to Social Security, many of the publicly-traded Fix the Debt firms underfund their employee pension plans -- making their workers even more dependent on the popular social insurance plan that American workers pay into with each paycheck.
After watching the John Nichols video and reading his comments on Crooks and Liars decided to do some more research on the 'Fix the Debt' campaign being run by Pete Peterson.  First stop was Source Watch:
The Campaign to Fix the Debt is the latest incarnation of a decades-long effort by former Nixon man turned Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson to slash earned benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare under the guise of fixing the nation's "debt problem." The chart and table below are part of the Center for Media and Democracy's investigation of this astroturf supergroup and related front groups. Please visit our main SourceWatch page on Fix the Debt, the article on Fix the Debt's Leadership, and the Pete Peterson page for more.
The Campaign to Fix the Debt is the latest incarnation of a decades-long effort by former Nixon man turned Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson to slash earned benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare under the guise of fixing the nation's "debt problem." Through a special report and new interactive wiki resource, the Center for Media and Democracy -- in partnership with the Nation magazine -- exposes the funding, the leaders, the partner groups, and the phony state "chapters" of this astroturf supergroup. Learn more at and in the Nation magazine
Who is part of the 'Fix the Debt' campaign being run by Billionaire Pete Peterson who are not disclosing their conflicts of interest including Former PA Governor Rendell who appears on MSNBC:

The Nation has done a series of articles about 'Fix the Debt' campaign.  However, disgusted you are with the GOP, prepare to be even more disgusted as another big Republican billionaire donor, Pete Peterson, can be added to the Koch Brothers, The Lynde and Harry Bradley FoundationScaife Foundations (4), and who knows who else is lobbying Congress to cut social programs and save the loopholes these millionaires/billionaires take full advantage.

After reading the articles on The Nation, I thought this excerpts describes the 'Fix the Debt' campaign as well as anything I read today:
The least controversial lines in President Obama’s State of the Union address should have been his assertions that “deficit reduction alone is not an economic plan” and that “we can’t just cut our way to prosperity.” Common sense, right? Wrong—if you’re getting your economic analysis from the GOP, more than a few Democrats and much of the media. Even Obama, in the same speech, paid homage to the safety-net-shredding strategies of the Simpson-Bowles deficit-reduction commission. As Paul Krugman reminds us, “Inside the Beltway Simpson and Bowles have become sacred figures. But the people doing that elevation are the same people who told us that Paul Ryan was the answer to our fiscal prayers.
Who does that elevating? Meet the Campaign to Fix the Debt, the billionaire-funded project that uses Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles as figureheads for a fearmongering campaign to convince Americans that the deficits the United States has run throughout its history have suddenly metastasized into “a cancer that will destroy this country from within.” It is the latest incarnation of Wall Street mogul Pete Peterson’s long campaign to get Congress and the White House to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid while providing tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy.
Peterson has poured an estimated half-billion dollars into schemes so unpopular, so economically unsound and so obviously self-serving that even conservative politicians run from them, as the implosion of the Simpson-Bowles commission illustrates. So Peterson has repurposed his project into what Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) Global Economy Project director Sarah Anderson calls “a Trojan horse” for “filthy rich tax-dodging hypocrites.” With a stable of CEOs, Peterson timed the launch of this new $60 million campaign to exploit the wrangling over the fiscal cliff, the debt ceiling and the sequester. Fix the Debt has signed up prominent Democrats and Republicans as spokespeople (many of whom have undisclosed financial ties to firms that lobby on deficit-related issues) and launched “astroturf” campaigns to create the fantasy that young people and seniors are concerned enough about debts and deficits to support Peterson’s austerity agenda. 
Quite a few of those CEOs head firms that pay a negative tax rate, like Honeywell, GE, Boeing and Verizon. And as the Public Accountability Initiative notes, many lobby to preserve costly tax breaks for the wealthy (including the “carried interest” tax loophole that made Peterson a rich man) and to prevent a tax on Wall Street speculation. Fix the Debt–tied firms are even pushing for a “territorial tax system” that will increase the debt by $1 trillion over ten years and encourage the offshoring of American jobs. Why would supposed debt slayers favor this boondoggle? Because, IPS calculates, at least sixty-three Fix the Debt firms would divvy up a $134 billion windfall. 
Please visit The Nation to see more information on "Fix the Debt"
We dodged a bullet with Mitt Romney when he was defeated by Obama as Romney is friends with most of these people.  If Romney had won, 98% of us would be getting squeezed by these wealthy Republican donors. No wonder so many big name wealthy Republicans couldn't believe Romney lost as they had big plans for the Country when they took the White House, Senate, and House which they were being told there was a good chance it could happen by Karl Rove and others who blew it when a lot of Republicans voted for Obama.

Now those same Republicans are mad at us for not telling pollsters we were voting for Obama as Republicans.  Was featured on the website Republicans for Obama and yet I had someone here in OK tell me I had no right to say I was voting for Romney but voted for Obama.  They couldn't believe it when I said I never supported Romney including 2008 and decided to support Obama after finding out Gary Johnson was an Ayn Rand supporter in the early summer.  I told him to look at my donations to Obama which totaled enough to be displayed at the FEC.  Some people think I have lost my mind, but I have never felt more sure of anything in politics in my life then my support for President Obama who is standing between us and disaster caused by the wealthy GOP donors and their puppets in Congress.

In order to move the Country forward, the obstructionists Republicans have got to be defeated in 2014 because their primary aim seems to be to tank the Country and anything Obama wants they are against.  Despicable elected officials who have forgotten their oaths are not to wealthy donors but to the United States of America.

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