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Jim Hightower
NationofChange / Op-Ed
Published: Wednesday 16 January 2013
Top corporate chieftains and Wall Street gamblers want to tell Washington how to fix our national debt, so they’ve created a front group called “Fix the Debt” to push their agenda.

Who’s Behind ‘Fix the Debt?’

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Look out, the "fixers" are coming.

Top corporate chieftains and Wall Street gamblers want to tell Washington how to fix our national debt, so they've created a front group called "Fix the Debt" to push their agenda. Unfortunately, they're using "fix" in the same way your veterinarian uses it — their core demand is for Washington to spay Social Security, castrate Medicare and geld Medicaid.

Who's behind this piece of crude surgery on the retirement and health programs that most Americans count on? Pete Peterson, for one. For years, this Wall Street billionaire, who amassed his fortune as honcho of a private equity outfit named Blackstone, has runs a political sideshow demanding that the federal budget be balanced on the backs of the middle class and the poor. Fix the Debt is just his latest war whoop, organized by a corporate "think tank" he funds.

This time, Peterson rallied some 95 CEOs to his plutocratic crusade, including the likes of General Electric boss Jeffrey Immelt and Honeywell chief David Cote. (Note: Both Immelt and Cote, while cheering for cuts to programs that we working Americans pay into, are themselves taking money hand over fist from taxpayers in terms of military contracts and corporate subsidies for their corporations. But they aren't concerned about defense spending and ending subsidies that benefit their bottom line.)

All of them are not merely "One Percenters," but the top one-tenth of One Percenters. Of course, a group of pampered, narcissistic billionaires would not make a credible sales argument for this dirty work. Having elites piously preach austerity to the masses would be as ineffective as having Col. Sanders invite a flock of chickens to Sunday dinner.

Presented with this image problem, Fix the Debt needed to give their campaign a more benign image, and Peterson and Co. formula of political deceit. As described by Mary Bottari of the Center for Media and Democracy, the trick is to "gather a bipartisan group of 'serious' men, hire a PR firm to place them on TV shows, blanket the media with talk of a looming crisis and pretend to have grassroots support."

In this case, a collection of former member of Congress, each of whom had a reputation for being moderate to the extreme, were recruited to give the campaign a sheen of high public purpose. Backed by a $40 million budget put up by the corporate interests, these "elder statesman" are now the face of Fix the Debt, doing dozens of TV interviews, hosting breakfast sessions with members of Congress, making speeches about "mutual sacrifice" and generally going all-out to sell the financial elite's snake oil.

But wait — being an elder does not automatically mean you're a statesman. Let's peek at the resumes of these so-called public-spirited fixers of the debt. Start with Jim McCrery, a former GOP lawmaker from Louisiana. While urging Congress to cut people's programs, he's also a top-paid lobbyist pushing Congress to give more tax subsidies to America's richest people and to such multinational corporations as General Electric.

Former Democratic Sen. Sam Nunn is a fixer, too — but he's also paid $300,000 a year to be on the board of directors for General Electric. Likewise, Democrat Erskine Bowles, a co-founder of the fixers' front group, is on the board of Morgan Stanley, drawing $345,000 a year. And former GOP Sen. Judd Gregg takes about a million bucks a year as advisor to and board member for such giants as Goldman Sachs and Honeywell.

Fix the Debt is nothing but another corporate fraud. I wouldn't let this gang of fixers touch pet my dog, much less my Social Security!


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ABOUT Jim Hightower
National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.

federal debt 01/16/2000=5.8

federal debt 01/16/2000=5.8 tril ; 01/16/2008 = 9.2 tril ; 01/16/2013=16.5 trill the growth rate bothers me

Here's a little bit of detail

Here's a little bit of detail on the debt that these guys are trying to "fix," that is, fix onto a yoke strapped onto our descendants shoulders.

These people are either delusional or else just plain wicked, you take your pick. Read on ...

During the eight years from 2001-2008, our Overall Public and Private Debt rose from $26.5T (Trillion) to $54.5T, an increase of $28T, which averages to a 9.5% increase per year compounded during that interval in our overall debt, and of which the increase in the Private portion was $23.1T (from $20.8T to $43.9T) or roughly 9.8% compounded on average for each year, with both of these rates somewhat higher than the 8.1% compounded growth rate of our National Debt over those same eight years, which increased from $5.7T to $10.6T

Over President Obama's first term, Overall Public and Private Debt has risen to an estimated $67.5T, about a 5.5% increase compounded annually in this overall total debt, as compared to the much higher 9.5% compounded annually for 2001-2008.

Our National Debt has increased at a somewhat faster pace over the past four years compared to the prior eight, from $10.7T to $16.4T, which works out to an average increase of about 11.2% in the Public portion, but this is due mainly to a gargantuan portion of Private Debt being shifted to Public Debt through the follow up to the bailout process commenced in 2008, rather than continuing with our public spending programs on behalf of our American People, which must continue unabated if we are to recover our good economy.

Note that our Private Debt was $43.9T in January, 2009, and is now $51.1T with an average increase of about 3.8% per year, as compared to 9.8% annual growth in that debt for 2001-2008.

This huge disparity in average compounded annual growth (9.8% for 2001-2008 vs. 3.8% for 2009-2012) is the real underlying foundation of our present Financial Crisis, which has been caused by an on-going sparsity of money to consumers over the past five years that is injuring our economy in general, including causing the formation of the Fiscal Cliff, the Fiscal Slope and also the Debt Ceiling that is now being used to whack the American People in the back of our heads as we and our coming generations are encouraged to decline down this Slope.

In a fantastic irony, those same Members of Congress who are willing and even pressing for most Americans to suffer as a result of this, blame most Americans for "excess," due to our taking on so much Public Debt to offload the Private Debt created in the first place to benefit those very interests that want to "fix our debt" that they have already created for their own benefit, and then palmed off onto us with interest due on top of that, and who also seem to direct these same Members of Congress who whine mean-spiritedly about our erstwhile Middle Class.

Go figure!

Seriously, go figure, and you will see that President Obama has the correct approach, and is right to support the interests of our good American People through raising our Debt Ceiling while we are taking on so much Private Debt load as forced by our Financial Crisis now underway for five years at least and that is based on the Private Debt bubble that was expanded over 2001-2008.

The real underlying problem is our unworthy corpse of a Monetary Policy, which generally requires an annual 9% growth in Overall Public and Private Debt over the past three decades or so, and with that rate itself slowly increasing, or else we have an economic collapse as we have been seeing for the past five years. Check out "Unite to Solve Our Financial and Climate Crises" on for details of transforming our Monetary Policy to something that can work for our Nation and States.

With the tax rates of the

With the tax rates of the 60's we could have a first rate infrastructure, balanced budget and a social safety net. The people that pay the politicians don't want it, so we have what works for the ultra rich instead.

Not only are Immelt and Cote

Not only are Immelt and Cote making a fortune selling arms and supplies to the Pentagon and government, but GE, at least, hasn't paid any taxes for several years now. Leaving aside the issue of tax fairness, we need to tackle the false issue that the government is running out of money.

The sovereign issuer of free floating fiat currency, of which the United States is one, can never "run out of money" to pay its debts obligated in its currency. The Federal Reserve is creating fiat currency at the rate of $45 billion per month to buy worthless mortgage backed securities from private banks (QE3) to keep the banking system afloat, but the Treasury with the connivance of the Federal Reserve and a wink and nod from BHO rejected minting high value platinum coins which would have allowed the Treasury to pay off the national debt and fund any deficit spending Congress authorized for the next 15 to 25 years. Keep the money flowing to the top and fix the rest of the 99.9% with austerity and a thorough f*****g.

No doubt fixing the debt is a

No doubt fixing the debt is a major issue but to fix the debt on the backs of those who have been swindled out of $trillions, at least $30 trillions in the last 15 years (parked in offshore accounts), is adding insult to injury. Get the money from those who swindled it from this country and diverted it to their personal accounts through various windfalls (saving and loans crisis, war profiteering, oil windfall, environmental cleanup, destroying public health with various schemes, mortgage windfall, bailout).

Billionaires and millionaires

Billionaires and millionaires don't think in straight lines -- they want the masses to kill each other off in large numbers while they ride out the storm in their fortresses so they can live on a life-sustaining planet with manageable numbers of peons.

Interesting comments.

Interesting comments. Meanwhile, Jim, you are the man, that's it, that's all.

Read the book 'Behold a pale

Read the book 'Behold a pale horse'. Published in 1991, Milton William Cooper posited, based on his high rank as a military officer (actually a uniform changer, he could show up one day as a Captain in the army and a Major in the Air Force the next), what was coming our way. Many of the things he said would come to light have and more of his beliefs will continue to come true. This is the New World Order he warned us about. Sen. Rockefeller called the first 10 years of this century the decade of regime change. He said that before 2000. Before 2010 he said this upcoming decade would be the decade of doom. Why does he know so much about what's coming up? Inside information that's how.
Anyone who thinks these banksters and politicians are on our side is nuts. It's time for a new revolution in this country. Otherwise we're all slated to become slaves to the wealthy.

They don't want the debt

They don't want the debt fixed, this is all baloney. They have us on nothing but a smoke and mirrors economy as it is, all credit no real money. If we got rid of the debt, then the corporate banks wouldn't haul in trillions in interest and neither party wants that; they are all corporate whores, gimme a break. Fiscal cliff my ass, it was a fiscal balloon that is still growing, and one day will burst.

And they will succeed because

And they will succeed because there's a fish-eyed fool born everyday that is easily transfixed by shiny bells and whistles and America's full of' 'em and they know it. Socialized elitism has convinced all these fools that giving more and more of their hard earned dollars to fewer and fewer wealthy elitist tax-free bums will somehow make wealthy elitist bums out of all the fish-eyed fools too.
47 +/-% of America's population are helping the theives rob cookie jar because the thieves promised them a cookie if the 47% help the theives steal all the cookies and they believe them even as the thieves walk laughing out the door nary leaving a crumb because the wallst moneychangers have effectively spayed, nuetered castrated and gelded the press, free speech, intelligence and just plain old common sense wisdom in America. .

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