It?s that time of year again when all of America?s well-funded fiscal hawks, their lobbyists and political supporters spend the day rubbing elbows in an all-day anti-Social Security and Medicare love fest.The Pete Peterson Fiscal Summit is one of the multi-billionaire Wall Street financier?s most visible legacies from his commitment to spend $1billion dollars in a campaign to convince America we can?t afford middle-class programs like Social Security and Medicare.Claiming these programs have led to ?generational theft? and ?fiscal child abuse?, Peterson kicked off the event with the standard boiler plate calls to cut Social Security and Medicare under the guise of deficit reduction, just as the plan created by Fiscal commission co-chairs Bowles/Simpson proposed. Economist Dean Baker describes it this way:
?This plan includes a wide range of budget cuts, including cuts to Social Security and Medicare. It would reduce the annual Social Security cost-of-living adjustment by 0.3 percent, which would lower lifetime benefits by an average of more than 3 percent. It would also raise the retirement age for Social Security. To balance these cuts to programs that benefit tens of millions of ordinary workers, Bowles and Simpson would cut the corporate tax rate from 35 to 28 percent and would lower the tax rate paid by the very wealthy from 40 percent to 28 percent. While these reductions in tax rates are supposed to be offset by the elimination of loopholes that benefit the wealthy, people have good cause for skepticism.?
Statement: Max Richtman, President/CEO
National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare
Peterson Foundation Fiscal Summit Rally
May 15, 1012?I am so proud to be here today with Senator Bernie Sanders — NOW President Terry O?Neill — Global Policy Solutions CEO and National Committee Incoming Board of Directors Chair — Maya Rockeymoore — and Campaign for America?s Future?s Roger Hickey — to expose the myths and misinformation that are being sold to the American public, right now, inside the Fiscal Summit.Pete Peterson, the sponsor of this summit, is spending one billion dollars to promote the false and dangerous choice that to save Social Security and Medicare we have to destroy these vital systems through privatization and huge benefit cuts.Unfortunately, all too many members of Congress believe in the false choice of trading tax increases for cuts in Social Security and Medicare benefits.What is happening behind us today is a cynical attempt at manipulating the American public into believing that the only choices to fix Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are to:1) Cut benefits, and2) Repeat choice #1Middle-class Americans — who have paid all of their working lives for these programs — are struggling with skyrocketing health care costs, diminished home values, unemployment and decimated savings. It is no wonder they feel abandoned when politicians try to undermine two of the remaining systems they can count on — Social Security and Medicare.In poll after poll, it is clear voters of all ages and political persuasions do not support cutting benefits for middle-class Americans who depend on Social Security and Medicare. There is no other issue that draws this level of nonpartisan support.In fact, 94 percent of Democrats, 82 percent of independents and 64 percent of Republicans prefer raising taxes on the richest 2 percent of income earners rather than cutting benefits.So if most Americans oppose cuts to our social insurance safety net, who supports the bill of goods being sold at Pete Peterson?s Fiscal Summit?Millionaires whose tax loopholes would be paid for by cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.Wall Street bankers who would reap a windfall of commissions and fees if Social Security was replaced by risky private accounts, andInsurance companies who would make billions more if Medicare was privatized.The evidence is clear. From what we have learned through polling, town hall meetings and focus groups held across the country, the American people stand with us and not with Pete Peterson, millionaires, Wall Street bankers and insurance companies.To the elected officials and opinion leaders attending this Summit —- for the sake of the American people —Distance yourselves from the propaganda being spread;Stand up for the millions of middle-class Americans;Fighting for them; andProtect the Social Security and Medicare benefits they have earned.?