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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:20 AM
Original message
Vicious Ideologue Renews Attack on Social Security
by Dean Baker
Billionaire investment banker Peter Peterson is back on the warpath. He just established a new foundation with a $1 billion endowment, the main purpose of which is to cut back spending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

These programs, which provide an essential safety net to virtually the entire country, are hugely popular and will be politically difficult to cut. Nonetheless, $1 billion is a lot of money. Therefore, Petersons campaign deserves to be taken seriously.

Peterson has long been an ardent foe of these programs. He first rose to national prominence as commerce secretary in the Nixon administration. He then returned to the private sector and became a partner in the Blackstone Group, a very successful private equity fund.

Mr. Peterson is fond of telling his audiences that he doesnt need his Social Security. Of course, as a manager in a private equity fund, Mr. Peterson was allowed to take advantage of the fund manager tax subsidy - a provision of the tax code that allows some of the richest people in the country to pay much lower tax rates than ordinary workers.

With his enormous wealth, Mr. Peterson was probably given more than 1,000 times as much money through this tax subsidy as the typical worker can expect to see on her Social Security. Needless to say, if the rest of us had been beneficiaries of the governments largesse to the same extent as Mr. Peterson, we would not need our Social Security either.

Mr. Petersons public crusading against Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid began in 1992 when he formed the Concord Coalition. This organization crusades for cuts in these programs under the pretext of fiscal responsibility.

Mr. Peterson has also written several books calling for cuts in these programs with ominous titles like Gray Dawn: How the Coming Age Wave Will Transform America, which warns that the country will be bankrupted by the retirement of the baby boomers. He uses his power and wealth to publicize these diatribes and get them reviewed in top outlets, such as the New York Times Book Review.

While Petersons efforts appeal largely to Republicans, he generally pulls enough Democrats on board that he can pass off his attacks on the countrys key social programs as bipartisan. In fact, the media often treat Petersons assault on the social safety net as being above the political fray, allowing him to spout his views unanswered on major national talk shows.
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billyoc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:38 AM
Response to Original message
1. A billion dollars to fuck me? I'm flattered.
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:59 PM
Response to Reply #1
6. Wanna bet he picks your pocket to pay the arsonists to burn down your future?
Peter Petersen seems to be taking a real interest in the mortgage bailout issue:

Mortgage Crisis
Photo by Richard Drew

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, left, seated beside Peter G. Peterson, Chairman and Co-Founder of The Blackstone Group, listens to remarks before his address to a morning gathering at the the main branch of the New York Public Library, Tuesday July 22, 2008. Paulson said Congress needs to quickly approve a support package for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to make sure the two mortgage giants maintain their critically important role in housing finance.

The Blackstone Group might be up to its eyeballs in mortgage issues. As one indication, an attempt to buy PHH fell through earlier this year

Company:B:Blackstone Group
PHH Mortgage Sale Collapses
Posted by Riley McDermid on Jan 02 2008 06:31:01 PST
Mortgage originator PHH Corp. said Tuesday that it will not be completing its planned $1.8 billion sale to General Electric and the Blackstone Group due to problems with financing the deal ... The sale collapsed after volatility in the mortgage market caused Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and JP Morgan Chase and Co. to cut the loans funding the sale by more than $750 million. Blackstone had apparently been unable to convince the banks that PHH was still worth as much as its appraised price in March 2007, when the deal was announced. PHH would not pay the difference in the valuations. Because the deal has been scrapped, Blackstone is now liable for a $50 million termination fee, which will be paid to PHH ... ;jsessionid=1EBF8D1945C259ABEDEDE6F20D3BBA7B?pkId=10215&biId=746&serviceId=1

But here's an article from last summer about domestic backlash in China associated with investment in Blackstone, backlash due to mortagage concerns:

China faces backlash at home over Blackstone investment
By Keith Bradsher
Published: August 2, 2007

And here's another article from December, reporting that Blackstone is buying into firms saddled by the mortgage crisis:

Blackstone Raises $1.3 Billion Fund for Loans, CDOs (Update3)
By Edward Evans
Dec. 13 (Bloomberg)

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pokercat999 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:46 AM
Response to Original message
2. Why does he hate the American people so much ? nt
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liberal N proud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:51 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. He simply wants it all and he wants it now
He wants your money and mine and he wants it now and spending a billion dollars means nothing to him so he can say that he has taken yours and mine.

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fasttense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:51 AM
Response to Original message
3. He got his, F**k everyone else.
Not everyone can be as lucky as Peter Peterson. And he's gonna make sure they suffer for it.

I guess when he's buried six feet under and his corpse is rotting, everyone is gonna say gee wasn't it great Peter Peterson made a whole lot of money for himself and screwed everyone else.
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drm604 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 06:04 AM
Response to Original message
5. Can someone explain this to me?
Why the hell does someone this wealthy spend his time and resources on something like this? Why not try to solve some of this country's problems rather than try to create more?

I doubt that he is personally spending more that a billion in taxes to fund Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. So how does he benefit from this?
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AdHocSolver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 12:58 AM
Response to Reply #5
9. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid provide a measure of dignity and independence to people.
Eliminate that safety net and you make millions of Americans destitute and desperate enough so that they would be willing to support any despot who promises to "save" them.

It is sort of like "9/11" getting millions of Americans looking to Bush and Cheney to "protect" them from "terrorists".

These guys don't need any more money. It is all about getting power. They instill fear in the people to be able to control them.
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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:37 PM
Response to Original message
7. One hopes that the Mme Defarge's of the world are keeping track
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paparush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:44 PM
Response to Original message
8. How Much is Enough? A Little Bit More nt
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