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The Elite Meet on Social Security Today

Posted May 15 2012 8:30am

category_bug_politics.gif You've heard of Peter G. Peterson, haven't you? He is the billionaire financier who has, for decades, been spending his money in pursuit of privatizing Social Security. Whenever you read the word “privatize” in that regard, read “loot.”

Here is what Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and TGB contributor Saul Friedman wrote about Peterson in these blog pages two years ago:

”Give Peterson his due; he’s smart enough to know that Social Security is not in serious difficulty, that it’s not a big drag on the federal budget and that it’s not a 'Ponzi scheme,' as some ignorant right-wingers charge.

“But Social Security’s nearly $800 billion a year in income and its growing trust fund are tempting for a shrewd financier and the Wall Street crowd...

“What a prize it would be for the wonderful world of finance if, as Peterson now proposes, at least part of Social Security’s revenues and its trust fund could be available for investment or government programs to his liking.”

(If you've never thought about it, consider where you would be today if part of your Social Security account had been invested on Wall Street in 2008.)

As you read this blog post on Tuesday 15 May 2012, The Peter G. Peterson Foundation is holding its third annual, all-day Fiscal Summit in Washington, D.C. where participants include

Former President Bill Clinton
House Speaker John Boehner
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner
Senator Rob Portman
Congressman Paul Ryan
Former Senator Alan Simpson.

Do you see a pattern among these Summit speakers? What these “Peterson people” will talk about today is that the deficit is so awful we must slash public spending (read food stamps, unemployment insurance, etc.) and “reform” (always means “cut”) what they refer to as entitlements but we know we have paid for with dollars we earned over a lifetime – Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

The ignorant media - those who operate as stenographers - will report what is said at this Summit as gospel truth. You will be reading and hearing the lies tomorrow and the next day with no attempt from the stenos to correct the record.

While I'm on the topic of the media, on the list of speakers and panelists at the Fiscal Summit webpage , are a number of well-known, celebrity journalists listed not as reporters but as participants:

Tom Brokaw, NBC
Erin Burnett, CNN
John F. Harris, Politico
Patricia Murphy, The Daily Beast/Newsweek
George Stephanopoulos, ABC
David Wessel, Wall Street Journal
Judy Woodruff, PBS

Personally, it does not gladden my heart to see the elite of national media (who have no need of Social Security for their retirement), taking part in the meeting organized by a billionaire whose decades-old goal is to dismantle Social Security and Medicare.

Attendance at the Peter G. Peterson Fiscal Summit is by invitation only which makes the above lists of speakers and participant journalists look even worse than they would without such exclusivity.

Here is a much better-looking list of people who, excluded from the Summit, will be demonstrating outside the meeting venue at the Andrew Mellon Auditorium at 1301 Constitution Avenue, N.W. In Washington, D.C. today:

Bernie Sanders, U.S. Senator
Terry O’Neill of NOW
Max Richtman of NCPSSM
Roger Hickey of Campaign for America's Future

Among the sponsors of the rally are Health Care for America Now, CREDO, Social Security Works, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, National Committee to Protect Social Security and Medicare and National Organization for Women.

The Protest the Fiscal Summit rally ( more about it here ) begins at 1PM today and if you are in the D.C. area and are reading this in time, it would be terrific if you would lend your presence. Here is what Roger Hickey wrote about the reasons for the demonstration :

”One more thing Peterson has been selling: House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. Even many deficit hawks have attacked Ryan's budget plan - supported by almost all Congressional Republicans - because its tax cuts and unspecified and unlikely loophole closings would make the deficit much worse.

“Democrats claim they will run against the Ryan budget as the epitome of everything wrong with the Republican party, as it is. Yet at the last Peterson Summit, a year ago, former president Bill Clinton came to the defense of Paul Ryan and his plans for Medicare.”

I know I do bang on about the threats to Social Security and Medicare and I know your eyes glaze over when you see these posts. But without those programs, I would be living under a bridge and so would a lot of you. We must fight back against the elites who would do that to us and to future generations.

Here are a couple of reports on today's Peterson Fiscal Summit from people who know a lot more about it than I do:

Dean Baker - co-director of CEPR

Dave Johnson - Fellow, Campaign for America's Future

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Michael Gorodezky: My Grief

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