The Fix the Debt coalition is gaining more attention, no doubt in large part because its members are being very vocal and public. They are not shy about making known their interpretation and solutions of what ails the economy. And of course, another neat crisis — replete with “fiscal cliff” and “doomsday” gamemanship — is the perfect opening for them to swoop in and save the day. More accurately, save the day, and the foreseeable future, for themselves.
I wrote about this earlier in Austerity, Imposed From the Top To Bottom: The ‘Fix the Debt’ Spin. These spins have a long history. It’s only “rich” for those who create them: debt ceiling, shared sacrifice, fiscal cliff, austerity, trickle-down economics, etc. As I said, “It’s about income inequality, and the difficult-to-devastating consequences in the lives of the 99%. And it’s about a government largely controlled by those at the top.”
Check it out for yourself, at Fix the Debt. It was founded, in 2010, by Erksine Bowles and Al Simpson, is chaired by Judd Gregg and Ed Rendell. Members include Lloyd Blankfein (Goldman, Sachs & Co.); David Cote (Honeywell); Jamie Dimon (JPMorgan Chase); Mark Bertolini (Aetna), plus a hundred or so of their cohorts.
At AlterNet, Lynn Stuart Parramore writes: (emphasis added)
The Obscenely Rich Men Bent on Shredding the Safety Net
New York magazine calls it a ‘Mass Movement for Millionaires.’ The New York Times’ Paul Krugman sums up the idea: ‘Hey, sacrifice is for the little people.’
The Campaign to Fix the Debt is a huge, and growing, coalition of powerful CEOs, politicians and policy makers on a mission to lower taxes for the rich and cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid under the cover of concern about the national debt. … By now, the ‘fixers’ have collected a war chest of $43 million. Private equity billionaire Peter G. Peterson, longtime enemy of the social safety net, is a major supporter.
This new Wall Street movement, which includes Republicans and plenty of Democrats, is hitting the airwaves, hosting roundtables, gathering at lavish fundraising fÃªtes, hiring public relations experts, and traveling around the country to push their agenda. They aim to seize the moment of the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ debate to pressure President Obama to concede to House Republicans and continue the Bush income tax cuts for the rich while shredding the social safety net.
Parramore includes a quote (regarding the “fixers”) from the NY magazine article:
‘Most on-the-record comments are a mishmash of platitudes about shared sacrifice and working together for the good of the country. But interviews with a number of organizers and CEO council members point to a massive networking effort among one-percenters – one that relies on strategically exploiting existing business relationships and appealing to patriotic and economic instincts.’
Looking at the Fix the Debt website, it’s replete with photos of everyday Americans — “over 300,000,” according to their numbers — who support the “fixers.” Or at least they support the talking points provided by the “fixers.” It’s again time for that familiar, almost always relevant question: how do those at the top manage to get so many of the huge majority beneath them to think they, the “fixers,” have the best interests of those below in mind?
Not everyone accepts the “Fix the Debt” arguments, of course. As Parramore notes, public protests are beginning to take place.
On November 27, they were greeted in North Carolina with a rally from NC Progress, which called for an end to the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent and told the group to keep its hands off the middle-class wallet.
And then there was, and is, the Occupy Wall Street movement. Occupiers could very understandably hold a mass mic check: “We told you so.”
In his article, Parramore provides a number of definitions, as in, what the “fixers” really mean:
1. ‘Fix’ means cut … 2. ‘Reform’ means rob … 3. ‘Bipartisan’ means all of the rich … 4. ‘Concern’ means covet … 5. ‘Fiscal conservative’ means economically confused … 6. ‘Strip-mining is not leadership.’ Fixers present themselves as magnanimous, responsible leaders doing what they believe is best for the country. But that’s a tough sell when you’re advocating policies that mainly benefit…yourself.
It is a “tough sell,” and yet to extents that are worrisome, it works. Over and over again, it works. Why is that?
(Fix the Debt Logo via Fix the Debt)