Three weeks ago tonight, we rejoiced that we had elected President Barak Obama to a second term and retained the US Senate. We ousted numerous Neanderthal wingers. And the people had spoken a resounding “No!” to those who would continue the massive tax giveaways to the millionaires and billionaires. We went to bed around 2:30 AM. Not four hours later the minions of Peter Peterson were at it again, as if no election had ever taken place. They were on every news outlet chanting the contrivance of the “fiscal cliff,” which doesn’t exist except for their own making. They want “austerity” for all of us (but not them). On one radio and TV show after another, they took aim at the very heart of the people’s budget. And so on it went.
The cast of characters was long. I’ll name a few names. As this Huffington Post article tells it, the CEO Council demands cuts to the poor, elderly, and the hungry while reaping billions in government tax breaks, contracts and even/especially bailouts. They’re engaged in a zero-sum game.
The worst offender, though, is the architect of the faux debt crisis. Peter Peterson, conservative GOP partisan and founder of the Blackstone Group, Center for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) and Americans for Prosperity (AFP), blanketed the networks with disinformation and propaganda. Many ads messaged directly or indirectly against president Obama and Democrats. Through CRFB and AFP he’s poured 30 million into the campaign to rip off you and me to benefit rich people like himself.
Grover Norquist is still fulminating about a pledge some members of Congress signed as much as twenty years ago. Some life’s work this man has been engaged in (snark). As Andrew Rosenthal opined in today’s New York Times,
But Mr. Norquist’s entire tax crusade fails to pass the laugh test as serious – or even unserious – economic policy. It has mired the United States in economic turmoil. And yet it endures, because Republicans are afraid they will be made to pay for their transgressions in the next election.
As Huffington Post indicates, a couple of the despicable (my word, not theirs) CEOs, Loyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs and David Cote of Honeywell rail about anything which helps the poor or middle classes, yet these two dudes eat daily at the federal trough. The contemptible Blankfein was bailed out by you and me. And he has the gall to demand we give up our futures. Honeywell’s CEO refuses to hire unless he has his way. But according to the Huntington article, between 2008 and 2010, Honeywell paid no taxes at all. It has no right to even talk to us about sacrifice. Does Pig-at-the-Trough Cote even hear himself?
On the Peterson austerity tour, Former Governor Ed Rendell bleats the austerity song while taking a fat paycheck from investment bank Greenhill and Co. Former New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg is on the payroll of Goldman Sachs. We bailed out his ass. And he wants us on austerity. How despicable can a person be? Ditto JP Morgan Chase. We bailed it out and now its CEO wants austerity for us, but not millionaires. All of them continue as if an election never took place.
The Gang of Eight pretends an election never took place. Leading it is one Democrat, Mark Warner who is himself one of the richest men in in Congress. (“Let them eat cake!”)
And here is the unbelievable kicker. It’s a list of inconvenient facts, which the scourge that is the Peterson crowd doesn’t want you to know. I paraphrase them from the Alternet article and present them in a different order. I also add some commentary.
1. Tax deductions, loopholes, exclusions, and credits for the rich could pay of 100% of the deficit, according to the Tax Policy Center. Be that as it may, I would also raise the tax rate back to 39% for the upper brackets.
2. The American public paid about 4 trillion to bail out the banks. Now Peterson and the CEOs want us to pay twice.
3. An amount roughly equal to one half of the GDP is held untaxed overseas by the rich. According to the Tax Justice Network, between $21 and $32 trillion dollars is hidden offshore. Make them pay up.
4. Corporations stopped paying half of their taxes after the recession. (How do we let them get away with that?)
5. Only 3% of the very rich are entrepreneurs. So, the super rich are not job creators.
6. Just 10 Americans made a total of 50 Billion dollars in one year.
7. Only four out of 150 countries have greater wealth inequality than we do.
8. Elderly and disabled food stamp recipients get only $4.30 for food a day. As recent demonstrations by celebrities have shown, it’s impossible to eat even close to a healthy diet on that.
9. The average African American or Hispanic woman has about $100 in net worth.
10. Young adults have lost 2/3 of their net worth since 1984 (and unless we do something to protect their futures, they will have no pensions or Social Security when they are too old to work).
Here is another fact: Despite the lies being told by those trying to put Social Security on the table, cutting the future retirement insurance for those under 55 will hurt them AND current retirees by siphoning money out of the program. (That’s because the program was designed to be pay-as-you-go.) Everyone in the 99% gets hurt.
And here is one more fact, the poor didn’t cause the recession. Nor did the elderly, working men and women, the unemployed, children, the retired or the sick. But many of the very people who are yammering about austerity for the 99% (but not for them) are the ones who did cause the recession. Let them not eat cake, but rather the deficit, as in pay for it. They did this. The CEO council, the Gang of Eight, all the other Peterson appendages, and the top 1% should pay up and leave the rest of us alone. Americans were hammered by the recession. We already paid for the misdeeds of all the tax scofflaws, the fraud of the banksters, the actions of the manipulators, and and pigs at the trough. We did our share. We bailed them out.
The people have spoken. No more coddling the rich. None. They either are one of us and pay their fair share or they are not. Let President Obama and our members of Congress know the American people expect our leaders to stand with us and against punishing us any more (than we have been already) for the excesses of the 1%, their causing the recession, their tax evasion, their wage suppression, their raiding of Americans’ pension funds, and their greed.