At a press conference today by Wall Street mogul Peter Peterson, he and his invited speakers informed Americans who are losing their jobs and homes in record numbers that our nation’s biggest problem is the national deficit—and that the solution is to cut Social Security and Medicare.
We don’t need this campaign. What the nation needs right now is an increase in the federal deficit to stimulate economic recovery and to create and save jobs. Yes, President Obama inherited a large budget deficit and national debt due to George W. Bush’s reckless tax cuts for the very wealthiest Americans, like Peterson. Economist Dean Baker has pointed out that Peterson and his partners made a fortune running a Wall Street private equity fund, much of which he was able to shelter from normal taxation through the “fund managers” tax break.
PODCAST: Countering A “Misplaced” Budget Debate
Miles Rapoport, the president of Demos, argues that what the nation needs is a debate on how to build a “high road to fiscal responsibility” based on government investment for the public good. He explains how.
Does anyone remember Peterson (or the others at his press conference) warning of the fiscal dangers of those massive tax cuts to the wealthy? Did they warn us about the speculative bubble economy and the irresponsible and dangerous financial deregulation of their industry, that allowed them and their cronies to make huge fortunes, while the banking system eventually collapsed under the weight of its own greed?
Now that the bubble has burst and the economy has collapsed, not only does Peterson give support to those who want to water down the recovery investments, he comes to D.C. to present a set of solutions that completely ignore how we got here and would place an enormous burden on the middle class and the poor. He wants Congress and President Obama to agree to a commission to slash Social Security and Medicare—which he calls “entitlements”—and undoubtedly to cut other important social spending.
Sound the alarm! The people who got us into the financial and economic mess that is currently costing American jobs and businesses have launched a campaign to jeopardize our retirement security and the one part of our health care system that works. The American people rejected their attempts to privatize Social Security, and they should reject this latest, ill-timed campaign.