Friday, November 12, 2010

Pete Peterson Owns The Catfood Commission

No kidding. You think Congress runs it? Think again. David Dayen of FDL:

Pete Peterson’s Purchase of Cat Food Commission, Media Pays Off

By: David Dayen Thursday November 11, 2010 9:48 am

I wanted to highlight something about the Cat Food Commission to permanently shrink government, something we’ve all known about, but which hasn’t been laid out in specific detail in a while. This Presidential commission has been borrowing paid staffers from groups that are ideologically committed to destroying the social safety net in America. This hasn’t been well-reported in the traditional media until today.

Instead, about one in four commission staffers is paid by outside entities, many of which have strong ideological points of view about how to tackle the deficit.


The outsourcing has come under sharp criticism from seniors’ organizations and liberal activists, who say the strategy is part of a broader conservative bias favoring painful entitlement cuts over other solutions. The fears of some liberal groups appeared to come true on Wednesday, when the commission’s two leaders recommended significant reductions for Social Security and other social-welfare programs.

... Indeed practically all of the commission staff paid for by outside groups have one tie or another to Pete Peterson, the billionaire hedge fund manager who has sought to kill Social Security for several decades. And this is certainly true of the top-level staff. The Economic Policy Institute [our old favorite liberal economist Max Sawicki used to work for them - SB] sent one staffer, Ethan Pollack, to the commission, and he has clearly been sidelined.

And this played out in the outside coverage of the commission report, which mirrors the position of the commission because it’s paid for by the same person. One of the first words of praise for the Bowles-Simpson report came from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a Peterson-funded group. ...


I hardly need to add anything to that, but Dayen has plenty more to say if you're interested. This is not how the government of a free and open society is supposed to be run. But it's not just Peterson who is running things that way; look at the Koch brothers. Hence, by simple logic, we are not... we are no longer, if we ever were... a free and open society. Respond as you see fit.

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