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December 06, 2012 09:23 PM UTC

Why "Fix The Debt" Is Not Your Friend

  • by: Colorado Pols

As the Denver Business Journal’s Neil Westergaard reports:

A group that includes some of the biggest names in Colorado business is imploring Congress to cut a bipartisan deal to fix the federal debt and deficit problems, and avoid going off the so-called “fiscal cliff” before Jan. 1.

The Colorado Fiscal Leadership Council of the nationwide Fix The Debt organization, chaired by Denver oilman Peter Dea and Cole Finegan, managing partner at Hogan Lovells in Denver, sent a letter Monday to the Colorado delegation in Congress, and key members of the House and Senate, urging quick resolution of the stalemate in Washington.

In the letter, the group says Congress needs to adopt a bipartisan package that includes reforms to “all areas of the budget, including Medicare, Medicaid, tax reform and increased revenues.”

The Colorado chapter of Fix The Debt includes a hefty and at least nominally bipartisan cross-section of the state’s business elite, from Republican kingpin Phil Anschutz to Rob Katz of Vail Resorts, who has a fairly liberal reputation. But the goals as expressed by Fix The Debt don’t seem very “bipartisan” at all–from the letter in question, sent to every member of the Colorado congressional delegation and signed by the Colorado business leaders comprising Fix The Debt:

In order to develop a fiscal plan that can succeed both financially and politically, it must be bipartisan and reforms to all areas of the budget should be included.  The plan should:

– Reform Medicare and Medicaid, improve efficiency in the overall health care system, and limit future cost growth;

– Strengthen Social Security, so that it is solvent and will be there for future beneficiaries; and

– Include comprehensive and pro-growth tax reform that lowers rates, [Pols emphasis] raises revenues and reduces the deficit.

That’s right; the solution from the “bipartisan” Fix The Debt group, and all the Colorado business leaders who signed on including a number of at least nominal Democrats, is nothing more than John Boehner’s vague suggestion to “reform” (meaning cut) Medicare and Social Security, and “tax reform” that lowers tax rates. For context, a new Quinnipiac poll today says 65% of Americans want tax rates increased on income over $250,000 per year–and only 31% oppose.

Is that the side the Democrats who signed this letter are taking? Apparently so.

If Fix The Debt sounds less “bipartisan” after reading what they actually stand for, as Huffington Post reported earlier this week, there’s a good reason:

[Fix The Debt’s] bipartisanship is only skin deep, according to campaign finance records and non-profit tax filings reviewed by The Huffington Post, which reveal that Fix The Debt’s biggest backers and partners are Republicans and Republican-allied.

HuffPost previously reported that members of the campaign’s Fiscal Leadership Council currently calling for cuts to Social Security and Medicare have benefited from billions of dollars in war contracts, bailout funds and tax subsidies. But the CEOs haven’t just been taking — they’ve been giving, too, in the form of political donations to many of the lawmakers who keep the spending spigots turned on.

Of the 86 CEOs on the council, all but 10 donated to political candidates in 2012, for a total of more than $3.2 million through Oct. 17. Of that, 79 percent, or $2.5 million, was donated in support of Republicans, while only 21 percent aided Democrats.

CEO contributions to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney outpaced those to President Barack Obama by more than three to one…

In summary, we can’t really explain why anyone to the left of Mitt Romney himself would sign up with Fix The Debt, and both the results of the election last month and public polling clearly point to a solution very different than that recommended by this group. Democrats who have provided bipartisan cover to what appears to be a partisan Republican agenda should be asked to explain what they were thinking: that, or they should be seriously re-evaluating their decision.


5 thoughts on “Why “Fix The Debt” Is Not Your Friend

  1. The 71 Fix the Debt CEOs who lead publicly held companies have amassed an average of $9 million in their company retirement funds. A dozen have more than $20 million in their accounts. If each of them converted their assets to an annuity when they turned 65, they would receive a monthly check for at least $110,000 for life.

    The Fix the Debt CEO with the largest pension fund is Honeywell’s David Cote, a longtime advocate of Social Security cuts. His $78 million nest egg is enough to provide a $428,000 check every month after he turns 65.

    Forty-one of the 71 companies offer employee pension funds. Of these, only two have sufficient assets in their funds to meet expected obligations. The rest have combined deficits of $103 billion, or about $2.5 billion on average.

    As Esquire’s Charlie Pierce put it, “Listening to these people talk about the national economy is like listening to a burglar tell you that you should really polish the silver more often.”

    Rob Katz involved with this crap sucks. Cole Finegan is a heartbreaker.


    What should the U.S. do about the so-called “fiscal cliff”? Who better to ask than Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein ($16M annual salary), “one of the world’s most influential bankers”?

    CBS’s Scott Pelley began: “When we asked Blankfein how to reduce the federal budget deficit, he went straight for the subject that politicians don’t want to talk about.”

    BLANKFEIN: You’re going to have to undoubtedly do something to lower people’s expectations. The entitlements, and what people think that they’re going to get, because it’s not going to-they’re not going to get it.

    PELLEY: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid?

    BLANKFEIN: Some things.

  3. I see what they are doing with that math trick that Mittens tried, lowering the amount of money you bring reduces the deficit.

    Good luck with that, again.

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