This morning, the White House debt commission convened and largely presented a skewed picture of America’s finances, with much scapegoating of Social Security and Medicare. This afternoon, Campaign for America’s Future convened top economic experts to offer journalists facts and views that the commission has yet to pursue.
Campaign for America’s Future Roger Hickey expressed deep concern that Pete Peterson deficit hysteria propaganda is taking hold on the commission, noting that a new key staff member was hired from a Peterson-funded organization, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Hickey also pointed out while Social Security and Medicare were repeatedly flogged, there was little mention of the Bush-era tax cuts that actually vaporized the surplus.
The American Prospect’s Robert Kuttner offered an entirely different approach to deficit reduction, one based on strong economic growth with “more social investment in the short-run.” He mentioned you certainly can cut the deficit with an “austerity approach” but “if you put the cart before the horse, it’s the more painful way to get to budget balance.”
Institute for Women’s Policy Research President Heidi Hartmann emphasizes the pain that will be inflicted on elderly women if Social Security is needlessly slashed, and the attacks on “greedy geeezers” have nothing to do “the typical retiree in America today.” She raised an eyebrow at Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s comment that we should go after Social Security because “that’s where the money is.” As Dr. Hartmann recalled, the quote was originally about “bank robberies.”
And Center for Economic and Policy Research Co-Director hammered the commission for pushing the false assertion that “everyone agrees” on the basic issue, saying that’s “not an honest way to proceed.” Baker rejected the commission’s arbitrary goal of major budget cuts by 2015, which is before anyone expects unemployment to come down to a reasonable level.