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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Tell Market Place, Peter Peterson Spent $1 billion of His Own Money to Cut Social Security

Tell Market Place, Peter Peterson Spent $1 billion of His Own Money to Cut Social Security

Friday, 19 November 2010 05:56

BusinessWeek editor Peter Coy told Market Place radio listeners that Peter Peterson spent $1 billion of his own money to inform people about the budget problems facing the country (emphasis in original). This is not true.

Peterson has consistently pushed for cuts to Social Security and Medicare. He has never supported the presentation of a balanced picture of the country's budget situation. For example, even though it is easy to show that the projected long-term budget deficit is entirely attributable to projections that per person health care costs in the U.S. will rise to three or four times the average for rich countries, this fact is largely concealed in Peterson-financed budget projects.

Peterson has almost completely excluded any discussion of financial sector taxes (the source of his wealth) from budget debates, even though there is wide recognition that the sector is a source of massive waste and rents. He has also routinely misrepresented the state of Social Security's finance in his public statements, repeatedly insisting that there is no trust fund. This is completely untrue and is an invention of Mr. Peterson. As can be seen in the Social Security trustees report and numerous other budget documents, the trust fund currently holds more than $2.5 trillion in government bonds.


Comments (12)Add Comment
written by Ron Alley, November 19, 2010 6:20
The reality is that Peterson is interested in Social Security privatization. Privatization offers a rich, steady stream of fees. One way to create enthusiasm for privatization is to decrease benefits -- either by a direct reduction or by raising the full-benefit retirement age so that a greater portion of retirees are forced to take a benefit haircut when they actually retire.

What intrigues me is that Peterson and other Republicans (as well as the Blue Dogs) can all stay on the same page so easily. Do they have a better method of communicating their talking points than Democrats? Why can't we penetrate and expose it? Or, are they just inherently smarter and able to organize with little apparent leadership?
I [i]Paid[/i] for this Microphone
written by izzatzo, November 19, 2010 7:08
I own this microphone Mr Whose Your Nanny and I will use it to speak when and wherever I like to bring down the statist nanny state you represent that's choking the life out of free market capitalism.

Get your own microphone if you don't like it. Buy one you if you can manage to do it without a government subsidy.

You liberals have destroyed everything else and now you want to destroy free speech, my speech, by crowding out my private microphone with your socialist financed microphone.

Let the listeners decide. Stop using their money to tell them what's good for them. Now that money is speech, I will bury you and your socialism with the truth through the competition of free speech, the same way free markets have worked to make this country great with other goods and services.
written by Steve, November 19, 2010 8:41
I am so glad you are monitoring NPR. I heard that blatant bit of editorializing this morning and felt sick. NPR loves their Pete Peterson. PRI too. They should put him up for sainthood, after he destroys Social Security.

The so-called liberal public radio is led by upper class types who have nothing in common with working people. Same for our president. That's why they are so attached to the budget commission and other elitist institutions.

The deficit is a red herring, due mostly to the fall in tax receipts resulting from the great recession. These people don't actually care about the deficit. They are using it as a weapon to destroy Social Security and other pro-people programs.

The recession will end when President Romney starts our war with Iran, jacking up government spending to unheard-of levels. Any concern about the deficit will then be totally forgotten.
written by Rachel, November 19, 2010 8:42
And while we focus on this Social Security scare, people in San Francisco are spending over $35,000 for a hospital stay, versus under $13,000 if they lived in the medically competitive region further inland. Serious problems with "market clout" here.

Many other regions have these medical oligopolies too, contributing in a big way to government budget woes. But the press doesn't want to talk about it. So people are left to think that Social Security is what's wrong.
written by JTM, November 19, 2010 8:54
FIX THE TYPO in first sentence!
written by clown shoes, November 19, 2010 10:39
Sad that anyone thinks a hedge fun clown is spending 1 billion to altruistically educate the public on the budget. Portraying his intentions as anything but self-serving should be a skit for Saturday Night Live.
written by fuller schmidt, November 19, 2010 12:20
While he is a clown, I doubt seriously that Peterson has ever traded without somebody else picking up the tab and covering his losses.
Social Security Trolling
written by sherparick, November 19, 2010 1:51
Bruce Bartlett explains why Alice Rivlin and Pete Domenci are quiet trolls for Social Security Destruction

http://capitalgainsandgames.co...dium=feed& utm_campaign=Feed:+CapitalGainsAndGames+(Capital+Gains+
It is mordantly amusing ...
written by billyblog, November 19, 2010 9:34
to see izzatzo chest-poundingly saying "I own this microphone," as if the Internet were somehow the product solely of his efforts, or even the so-called private sector.

The Internet never would have come into existence
without the massive influx of taxpayer dollars flowing through directly managed government programs as well as government subsidized academic and industry projects stretching back to the aftermath of Sputnik, the space program, ARPANET, DARPANET, et al.

Some people have the smarts -- and humility -- to admit that they stand on the shoulders of government enabled giants, and other forms of public space social capital.

Others, caught up in paroxysms of Randian fantasies about self-sufficiency ignorantly bloviate like, well, Republicans.
Medical "market clout"--to be fair to NPR
written by Rachel, November 20, 2010 9:45
I was surprised: NPR actually did do a story this morning on the monopoly powers of big medical group. "The growing market power of providers, they say, will make cutting back on the nation's out-of-control health care bill that much harder."

NPR did another one a few weeks ago, that was much more accepting of "the new face of medicine." This one sounds as if they have a better sense that near-monopolies in medicine is something we all need to worry about. I hope they keep it up.
written by liberal, November 20, 2010 10:52

izzatzo regularly writes spoofs here.
written by diesel, November 21, 2010 3:01
Peterson's boy, Peter Coy
remarked to Market
Place, Peterson's ploy
to fund the drive
to drive the fund
(the not really existing one)
further into oblivion.

Tax transactions?
The market won't bearit,
Health care costs?
No problem, I swearit
Peterson coyly avered.

There's only one thing
that's problematic
that drives me insane,
I tell you I've had it
with people who want to stash their dough,
in public accounts
and act as though
when they retire
their money is there
and not a fiction
a digital hoax
an accounting ruse
a phantom depiction.

A million here
a million there
Beneficient purposes
so I declare
anyway who's counting?
it's foundation loot
Tax free
I propose and
dispose absolute.

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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.