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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Investment Banker Peter Peterson Appears Incognito In the Washington Post

Investment Banker Peter Peterson Appears Incognito In the Washington Post

Sunday, 10 July 2011 09:55

The Washington Post allowed Wall Street investment banker Peter Peterson to push his decades long crusade to gut Social Security and Medicare in his disguise as president of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. Given the Post's often-felt need to identify individuals and organizations who get funding from labor (sometimes wrongly), it should have identified Mr. Peterson by his past affiliation with the Blackstone Group, one of Wall Street's biggest private equity firms. Mr. Peterson is also known for having pocketed tens of millions of dollars through the fund manager's tax break.

As part of his crusade Peterson told readers:

"With the doubling of our senior population, entitlements will account for 100 percent of the long-term growth in federal non-interest spending as a percentage of gross domestic product. Any credible fiscal plan must include their reform."

This is true because the Congressional Budget Office projects by assumption that there will be no increase in any other category of government spending except Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlements. Either Mr. Peterson does not know this, in which case it is difficult to understand why the Post would print the views of someone who has no knowledge whatsoever of the budget. Alternatively, Peterson knows this fact and is deliberately deceiving the Post's readers, in which case it is equally unclear why the Post would print such a piece.

Of course, as every budget expert knows, the real problem with the long-term budget is the projection of exploding health care costs. If the country's per person health care costs were the same as those in other wealthy countries then we would be looking at huge surpluses in the long-term, not deficits.

Comments (3)Add Comment
written by Dick C, July 10, 2011 11:11
I'd expect the Post's reason for printing the piece are much the same as Peterson's excuse/reason for writing it. I used to automatically give people greater credit for intelligence and suspect your latter possibility, but I'm starting to wonder ...
Why Would Anyone Bother Reading Pete's Claptrap?
written by Paul, July 10, 2011 11:34
We all know what a dilettante Peterson is on public policy so mostly he is just ignored.

OTOH, James Grant's diatribe for a new gold standard in the WaPo was hilarious! The laughs were coming faster than a Chris Rock show.
written by denim, July 10, 2011 4:17
At his "pay grade" he has no significant skin in the game. One might wonder about his motives and why he wants to control the outcome.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.