Our president recently set up a commission ( something he said was a sign of the failure of government to solve problems during his campaign, I guess he's changed his mind about that ) to look into ways of controlling the federal deficit.
The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, which first met this past April.
Weekly closed door sessions, not open to the press or the public, no news releases. Apparently, to my way of thinking, something either to shut the lid on conservatives' pressure for deficit reduction or to open the door wide for that long-time conservative wet dream, part or full privatization of Social Security.
There are people who are trying their level bests to pry the door open a bit, with some luck:
But for now, I’d like to come back to a point that Trudy made before, about the alarming lack of coverage of the commission. This is a high-powered group, charged with a hugely important task: “identifying policies to improve the fiscal situation in the medium term and to achieve fiscal sustainability over the long run.”
Yeah. Important, right? We’ve all got a lot at stake in the commission’s work. And there are early signs that Social Security will be a key issue in the midterm elections.
Well, you wouldn’t guess that from the press coverage of the panel. Make that the lack of press coverage. Sure, there are those fiery interviews with Simpson. That’s what he does best, and that’s why reporters like him. But on the real work going on behind those closed doors? Not much.
Go here for what coverage and news we are able to get:
With unemployment hovering around 10 percent following the worst economic collapse in 70 years you would think that members of Congress would be working day and night to get Americans back to work. You would be wrong.
The deficit fear mongers have done such a number on the thinking in DC that members of Congress think that when the American people say "we need jobs!" that they are really saying "cut my Social Security." But, I guess that when a billionaire Wall Street banker spreads $12 million dollars around town it can really confuse people.
Peter Peterson, very rich deficit hawk and very concerned about the financial well-being of the country:
This week, Peter Peterson [net worth $2.8 billion] and his foundation convened a closed-door meeting of Wall Street billionaires and millionaires at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Building in D.C.
Peterson is a former CEO of Lehman Brothers and former chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He underwrites the foundation with his own money, and his agenda is not a secret.
Peterson says the coming retirement of baby boomers is a threat to the economy and the federal budget. He wants to see significant cuts in Social Security and Medicare benefits, and would prefer a stream-lined process via a commission to implement these changes to "reduce the deficit."
After taxpayers bailed out Wall Street for over $700 billion, Peterson is worried about the deficit. And, of course the real problem is… Social Security. (The problem certainly would not be recent tax cuts, unfunded wars, and billions of taxpayer dollars squandered as bonuses to the very financial managers who brought the economy to near-ruin.)
The group today which included Alan Greenspan [$5 million]; Robert Rubin [$124 million]; Congressman Paul Ryan R-WI [$2.8 million]; Erskine Bowles [$71.5 million]; John Castellani [$5.57 million 2008 salary]; Sen. Judd Gregg R-NH [$10.2 million]; and Bill Clinton [$35 million], didn’t catch the show outside the Ronald Reagan Building over lunch hour.
Some "Billionaires for Social Insecurity" in tuxedos and gowns countered the secret meeting inside with a more public ask of the public (today this happened to include large groups of children on field trips) to donate their Social Security benefits so that they, the billionaires, could continue business as usual.
Another example of life imitating art, or to get Old Testament about it, the true test of a True Prophet is time. And Time is rapidly proving George Carlin true.
I do not know what power we as individuals have against the overwhelming influence of these people and their over-reaching media mega-phone. Politics in my home state Kansas is picking up, with the usual mess of candidates, like Tim Huelskamp. These are a dime a dozen, and they all say the same things, with the exception of trying to out-scream the proclamations of "cut taxes" and the false religiosity of their opponents. What I do know that we can do as individuals is to gum up their plans as much as possible, oppose them and their media cheerleaders, do what we can to inform, plead and reason.
If that fails, declare jihad, ragnarok, armageddon, whatever your particular religion requires, and we'll all eat lamb in paradise. ;)
Or, just cuddle up with your bear and remember what you love most of all.
Update 1: Judge sells out:
Judging from his reasoning (see Savage’s piece in NYT), which buys without question the industry’s arguments, this particular judge probably wasn’t ideologically inclined to accept the government’s arguments in any case. And there’s the little matter of his reportedly having an apparent financial conflict in the industry stocks he owned.
But when a judge argues that we would never ground all airplanes just because a wing fell off one plane, you have to wonder.
Update 2: Senator sells out, again:
Lincoln isn’t really showing her “true colors” here since they’ve been so obvious to anyone paying even a little bit of attention. She’s the Senator from Wal-Mart and pretty much always has been.