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Jim Hightower
Jim Hightower
10 Feb 2016
How Corporate Bamboozlers Intend to Widen Inequality in America

The basic problem facing the corporate and political powers that want you and me to swallow their Trans-… Read More.

3 Feb 2016
What Really Poisoned the Water in Flint, Michigan

The mantra of every Koch-headed, right-wing politico is that government should be run like a business, always … Read More.

27 Jan 2016
Take the Movement to the White House

At a recent dinner with my work team, I was reminded that I had said I wanted to travel less for work this … Read More.

Who's Behind “Fix the Debt”?


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.

followed a tried-and-true 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!

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at



2 Comments | Post Comment
If these CEOs are such a problem, then why is your boy Obama giving them billions of taxpayer dollars in corperate subsidies? They are people pushing a sleazy agenda, just like Obama is.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Wed Jan 16, 2013 6:33 AM
McCoy you can be really thick. Really thick. Until corporate subsidies are taken out of the equation, they go to all who qualify, including the assholes named by Jim. Obama didn't make the game or the rules and doesn't pick & choose this shit or who gets the subsidies. But he does decide who he will use to further his agenda and let's face it, those who played the game and did the deed know the weak points and how best to fix the problems. For instance, we hire and pay hackers to show us how to shore up the internet against hackers and they actually do it, they help us. Oh wait, forgot where I was and who I was talking to. Ok, there are deals made, the only way to get things done; but Obama is dealing from the street, from the real, he's working for us, he's dealing with one trick pony hustlers, but he's on our side and though you may not see it, the man has out hustled the hustlers. He hires the bad guys to fix the problems they created. Never mind it's not fair and they should be in jail. Never happen. But don't ever underestimate President Obama. He grew up a black man in a white world and a half-white man in a black world and flourished; found and married his equal, an amazing, smart, strong black woman, and together they have two awesome daughters. Much to admire and respect yet both he and she have had to hustle and overcome difficulties most can't begin to fathom. You think he doesn't know who and what he's dealing with? Obama didn't get where he is with his head buried and ears and eyes closed. He recognizes a con and a hustle and after four years, the man's got a good fix on the wheat and the chaff, if he should miss something, he's got Michelle and the girls, they are all sharp as tacks.
Comment: #2
Posted by: morgan
Fri Jan 18, 2013 4:18 PM
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