Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local Gov’t Stories, Events

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Books, Films, Arts & Education

09.15 Missing aid millions deny Syrian kids education and fuel 'lost generation' fears

Letters

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

09.19 Canadian Doctor to U.S.: Try Single-Payer Health Care Instead Of Trashing It

09.18 China to buy $300 mn. in Lab-Grown Meat from Israel

09.18 Women of childbearing age around world suffering toxic levels of mercury

09.17 China to send over 100 pollution inspection teams to cities around Beijing

09.16 The Health Care Debate We’re Not Having [we need to fully expose and root-out America's profit-obsessed, mafia-like healthcare practices]

09.16 Conflicts and Climate Change Fueling Rise in World Hunger

09.16 Driving force: are electric cars crowding out traditional engines?

09.15 'Alarm bells we cannot ignore': world hunger rising for first time this century

09.15 California’s big battery experiment: a turning point for energy storage?

09.15 EU report on weedkiller safety copied text from Monsanto study

09.15 Half of Canada's monitored wildlife is in decline, major study finds [would the Koch brothers like to make a comment?]

09.14 On The Road To Extinction, Maybe It's Not All About Us [all of us—but especially oil & gas companies—need to know the harm and death we've caused to all life as we know it, and we must undo that damage]

09.14 The entrepreneurs turning carbon dioxide into fuels [end-products later burned and polluting aren't helpful]

News Media Matters

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

09.19 Single-Payer Movement Shows: Life After Trump May Not Suck

09.19 Gone Baby Gone

09.18 'Red Alert' Sounded: Trumpcare Is Back, More Brutal and Deadly Than Ever

09.16 Dawn of the Berniecratic Party

09.16 Sen. Warren Introduces Legislation to Save Consumers From 'Equifax Exploitation'

09.15 Why Bernie Sanders' Single-Payer Push Is Great Policy and Even Better Politics

09.15 Sen. Warren Rips Anthem for Sending 'Bigger Tax Cuts or Else' Ransom Note

09.13 Bernie Sanders unveils universal healthcare bill: 'We will win this struggle' [assuming typical cost-controls and efficiencies, ongoing total savings will be at least a $Trillion per year with government paying a larger portion of over-all costs]

Justice Matters

09.16 UK legal claims grow over exposure at work to toxic diesel fumes

09.15 'Inviting Bribes' as Legal Fees Soar, Trump Ethics Office Lifts Anonymous Gift Ban

High Crimes?

09.18 When Is a Genocide a Genocide?

09.17 The Forgotten Victims of Agent Orange [why was there no war crime trial and punishment for this?]

Economics, Crony Capitalism

09.18 GOVERNMENT BY GOLDMAN

09.18 The Growing Danger of Dynastic Wealth

09.18 College in the U.S. Is More Expensive Than in Any Other Country in the World [our 'mafia capitalism' is the best in the world!]

09.18 We need to make democracy work in the fight to save the planet

09.16 Capitalism and Poverty [as disemployment from automation and offshoring increases the population at risk of poverty will grow, so we'll have to help them or society will become more suicidal and violent]

09.15 Equifax Isn’t A Data Problem. It’s A Political Problem.

International & Futurism

09.18 The billionaires investing in Cyprus in exchange for EU passports

09.16 Alienation Is Killing Americans and Japanese

09.16 US foreign policy as bellicose as ever

09.15 Bill Gates: Don't expect charities to pick up the bill for Trump's sweeping aid cuts

09.15 The UN is failing – states must back off and give its leader the power to act

09.15 Migrants stuck on endless ferry journey as countries refuse entry [like the Jews on the Voyage of the St. Louis in 1939]

09.15 Moscow flaunts might against fading Isis as it alters balance of power in Syria [endless war cultivates a cavalier attitude]

09.15 Tillerson on North Korea: Russia and China must take 'direct action' over missile launch

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web
  Pete Peterson's Anti-Entitlement Juggernaut

COMMENTARY:

Pete Peterson’s Anti-Entitlement Juggernaut

by James Ridgeway
First published in his blog Unsilent Generation on Tuesday, 27 March 2010
Obama has stacked his own commission with people who lean heavily toward one particular solution to the deficit and national debt: cutting entitlements. Whereas cutting the hugely bloated Defense, Homeland Defense and Intelligence budgets—which wouldn't harm anybody on fixed incomes needing health care—are never mentioned.

When Obama’s new deficit commission gets going, it intends to be “partnering“–in the words of executive director Bruce Reed –with outside groups. Among them will be the foundation run by Wall Street billionaire Peter G. Peterson, who on Wednesday will upstage the president with his own fiscal summit in Washington. Obama insists he is keeping an open mind about how to deal with the deficit and national debt–but as I’ve written before, he’s already stacked his own commission with people who lean heavily toward one particular solution: cutting entitlements. And now he is working hand-in-glove with a wealthy private organization whose central purpose is to cut Social Security and Medicare. Talk about foregone conclusions.

Peterson, according to Forbes, was the 149th richest man in America last year, with $2.8 billion in assets. During his long career he has been, among other things, CEO of Bell & Howell, head of Lehman Brothers, a co-founder of the Blackstone Group, and head of the Council on Foreign Relations. He was Nixon’s Secretary of Commerce, and in 1994 served on a Clinton bipartisan commission on entitlements and tax reform. He launched his own Peter G. Peterson Foundation with a grant of $1 billion.

Pete Peterson
Pete Peterson: Beating a Dead Horse

A fiscal conservative, Peterson has long been issuing dire warnings about the the nation’s skyrocketing debt. The key cause of the problem, in his analysis, is that entitlement programs–primarily Social Security and Medicare, but Medicaid as well–are out of control; the only solution is to cut them. Peterson is the self-appointed head of what some people have begun to call the “granny bashers,” who argue that greedy geezers are ruining the lives of younger generations with their unconscionable demands for basic healthcare and a hedge against destitution. (Peterson himself is in his eighties–but of course he’s too rich to worry about such things.)

The granny bashers’ real agenda, of course, is to cut the social safety net programs that they have long abhorred–but they have gained far more ground with their intergenerational inequity claims than they ever would with a straight-out attack on Social Security and Medicare. The majority of the Washington punditry seem to have fallen for it–and so too, apparently, has the White House. A year ago in Newsweek, Peterson wrote:

For the first time in my memory, the majority of the American people join me in believing that, on our current course, our children will not do as well as we have. For years, I have been saying that the American government, and America itself, has to change its spending and borrowing policies: the tens of trillions of dollars in unfunded entitlements and promises, the dangerous dependence on foreign capital, our pitiful level of savings, the metastasizing health-care costs, our energy gluttony. These structural deficits are unsustainable. Herb Stein, who served alongside me in the Nixon White House as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, once drily observed, “If your horse dies, I suggest you dismount.” And yet, we keep trying to ride this horse.

In June, according to the Washington Post, Obama’s deficit commission will be participating in a 20-city electronic town hall meeting, put together by an organization called America Speaks. It is financed by Peterson, along with the MacArthur Foundation and Kellogg Foundation. This is a truly unusual event because it marks the first time a presidential commission’s activities are financed by a private group that has long been lobbying the government on the very subjects the commission is supposed to “study.”

The Peterson summit is crammed with luminaries in finance and government. First there’s the keynoter, Bill Clinton. Then there’s Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve chairman widely credited with getting us into our current economic mess, and Paul Volcker, his conservative predecessor at the Fed. Robert Rubin, Clinton’s secretary of the Treasury, and another pillar of the current economic debacle, will speak. So will Republican Congressman Paul Ryan, a leading GOP guru, who among other things wants to replace Medicare with a system of vouchers and tax breaks. Judd Gregg, the senior and probably most important conservative senator when it comes to finance, will be featured as well; he is a keen proponent of Peterson’s entitlement cuts.

The heavy hitters are all to be interviewed by big names in mainstream media: ABC’s George Stephanopolous will question his old boss Clinton; Leslie Stahl will speak with presidential commission co-chair Erskine Bowles, one of Clinton’s a White House chiefs of staff. Ranked below the big guys are a slew of lesser lights including some liberals like Lawrence Mischel of the Economic Policy Institute, Robert Greenstein of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, John Podesta of the Center for American Progress (and another former Clinton chief of staff), and former Congressional Budget Office head Alice Rivlin.

All-in-all, it seems to be dominated by Clinton-era officials, who oversaw much of the Wall Street deregulation that nearly drove the country broke. These are the people who will now try to make up the losses on the backs of the poor and the old by rewriting the hard-won entitlement programs created during the New Deal and the War on Poverty.

Meanwhile Obama–who seems to have learned nothing about strategy from the health care wars–will not say what he thinks about any of it. Instead, he prefers to sit on the sidelines and see what these people come up with–as if that horse wasn’t already out of the barn.


Born in 1936, James Ridgeway has been reporting on politics for more than 45 years. He is currently Senior Washington Correspondent for Mother Jones, and recently wrote a blog on the 2008 presidential election for the Guardian online. He previously served as Washington Correspondent for the Village Voice; wrote for Ramparts and The New Republic; and founded and edited two independent newsletters, Hard Times and The Elements.

Ridgeway is the author of 16 books, including The Five Unanswered Questions About 9/11, It’s All for Sale: The Control of Global Resources, and Blood in the Face: The Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations, Nazi Skinheads, and the Rise of a New White Culture. He co-directed a companion film to Blood in the Face and a second documentary film, Feed, and has co-produced web videos for GuardianFilms.

Additional information and samples of James Ridgeway’s work can be found at JamesRidgeway.net and at his newest web site, Solitary Watch.

This article is republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



Copyright © 2010 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.

This story was published on April 28, 2010.
 

Public Service Ads: