Apparently, these are the ?good-old days? our nation?s fiscal hawks relish. The Peterson Foundation?s David Walker co-hosted CNBC?s Squawk Box this morning (personally, we yearn for the good-old days when so-called ?news? shows were hosted by journalists?not partisan advocates?but that?s another debate).The discussion followed the classic Peterson Foundation talking points?government bad, business good?but ultimately led to a nostalgic reminiscence for the good old days when Americans faced debtors prisons and had no sense of ?entitlement? (presumably to the Social Security and Medicare benefits workers have funded for their entire working lives):
“The fact of the matter is we have to change how we do things. We are on an imprudent and unsustainable path in a number of ways. You talk about debtors prisons, we used to have debtors prisons, now bankruptcy is no taint. Bankruptcy is an exit strategy. Our society and our culture have changed. We need to get back to opportunity and move away from entitlement. We need to be able to provide reasonable risk but hold people accountable when they do imprudent things…it?s pretty fundamental.”…David Walker, Peterson Foundation, CNBC Jun 10, 2010
Now, maybe in the Peterson Foundation?s circle of Wall Street types and multi-billionaires, bankruptcy is an exit strategy, but for millions of middle-class Americans bankruptcy is, in fact, a life-altering and often debilitating choice. As for pitting ?opportunity? vs ?entitlement??that?s classic Peterson Foundation messaging designed to convince us that America?s seniors are somehow riding high on the hog and soaking taxpayers with all of their ?entitlements?.Of course, these fiscal hawks never mention that fact that the government doesn?t pay for those ?entitlements?, American workers do. It?s not the government?s money…it?s not Wall Street?s money…and those so-called ?entitlements? have been paid for by you and me. The truth is, retirees are entitled to receive the benefits they?ve been promised; however, fiscal hawks like David Walker would apparently rather roll back the clock, ignore those promises, and build more debtor?s prisons.