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View Diary: Simpson not the only catfood commission problem member (103 comments)

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  •  A few items in response (1+ / 0-)
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    Jane Hamsher has a chart herewith an effort to ID what their positions are.

    If you read what Conrad says at his site with a close eye, you will note that he keeps referring to preserving and strengthening but makes no mention of what changes he would make:

    Senator Conrad is eager to work in a bipartisan fashion to preserve and strengthen the Social Security program and close the long-term funding gap. He believes that any reforms to the program must maintain the basic Social Security benefit guarantee and protect low- and moderate-income workers. He is opposed to drastic benefit cuts, to payroll tax rate increases, and to any fiscally irresponsible schemes

    Does opposition to payroll tax rate increases include raising the cap on wages subject to tax?  What about raising the retirement age?  It also notes that he is one of the authors of this friggin' commission.

    On Ann Fudge:

    Board member on the Council of Foreign Relations, where Peterson is Chairman Emeritus and Robert Rubin is Director/Co-Chair, fundraiser for Obama campaign,  Novartis Board of Directors

    Moreon Ann Fudge

    Obama's fifth pick is Ann Fudge, a major campaign bundler who already spends a bit of time around tables with the American banking elite. Fudge was chairman of the board of advertising firm Young & Rubicam Brands, which includes former Bear Stearns CEO Alan Schwartz, until 2006. She's now on the boards of Brookings and Rockefeller Foundation, both teeming with top Wall Street elites (including Prince, Parsons, Gupta, Hutchins, Johnson, Rubenstein and Wolstencroft, to name a few), as well as GE and Novartis Pharmaceuticals. With her extensive marketing experience, perhaps she'll be the one who figures out how to sell the commission's "sacrifices" to the public.

    Kuttner remarksin WaPo:

    The Peterson Foundation is joined by leading "blue dog" (anti-deficit) Democrats such as House Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt of South Carolina and his counterpart in the Senate, Kent Conrad of North Dakota. The deficit hawks are promoting a "grand bargain" in which a bipartisan commission enacts spending caps on social insurance as the offset for current deficits.

    Alice Rivlin

    ....[Reischauer] penned a memo  in 2009 with fellow Brookings Institution elites calling for Obama to take "action to stem the growth of Social Security and Medicare," .....One of Reischauer's co-signers of the Brookings memo, Alice Rivlin, is another fox Obama has put in charge of the Social Security henhouse. Former Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve under Greenspan at the peak of the tech bubble, and also a Hamilton Project board member, Rivlin will likely make another great Wall Street ally on the commission. In 2004 Rivlin co-authored (with Obama's current Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag, among others) a 138-page Brookings report titled "Restoring Fiscal Sanity" advocating $47 billion in entitlement cuts, including an "increase in the retirement age under Social Security" and "more accurate inflation adjustments to Social Security benefits."

    Keep in mind that she supported this plan before most of Bush's military expenditures, before the Great Recession, and before the financial bailouts. If that's not enough, Rivlin, who gave roughly $10,000 to Obama's 2008 campaign, was also on the board of Public Agenda Foundation with Peter Peterson, the private equity kingpin who has devoted literally billions to destroying Social Security during his lifetime. Public Agenda has organized research and events to refine elite strategies for pushing deficit reduction, including entitlement reform. From a recent Public Agenda forum titled Trillions of Reasons to Get Serious About Our Fiscal Future:

    "Panelists agreed that the key word when talking about reducing the deficit should be 'sacrifice' and not just for the wealthy, a message to which most Americans might respond negatively."

    More on Rivlin in this comment thread in which I got into a debate over her.

    •  Hamsher's chart includes lies (0+ / 0-)

      YES - Durbin admonished “bleeding heart liberals” to be open to program reductions to restore fiscal balance

      That's an out and out fabrication.

      •  Gee, I'm really glad I bothered to spend an hour (0+ / 0-)

        assembling all those sources in response to your questions, so you could use it as an opportunity to tee off on Jane Hamsher.  Really great.  Won't be making an effort for you again.  Oh, and you're welcome.

        Durbin, as quoted in the similarly lying New York Times:

        But Senator Richard J. Durbin  of Illinois, the second-ranking Senate Democratic leader, denounced suggestions of an administration VAT plan as the "musings of right-wing cable shows."

        He also admonished "bleeding heart liberals" to be open to program reductions to restore fiscal balance.

        The google thingy enables you to check before you call someone a liar, but I know that in the case of Jane Hamsher it's more fun to just say whatever comes to mind.  Or at least that's how it seems around here.

        •  No. Hamsher is a liar and your research is weak. (0+ / 0-)

          The video of Durbin's remarks is online.

          He does not make that assertion.
          So Hamsher repeats and extends the NYT lie.

          The reality is that Durbin gave a speech on (a) income inequality (b) tax fairness and (c) not stupidly ratcheting down stimulus before the recession is over. He ends with a relatively anodyne remark that on the one hand hard hearted conservatives have to respect the safety net and on the other hand bleeding heart liberals have to be concerned about growth. The assertion that Durbin said liberals have to be open to "program cuts" is a lie. And Hamsher takes the NYT lie and writes an article expanding on it by claiming, in the title, that Durbin said liberals have to be open to cuts in Social Security - a further fabrication.

          And then "progressives" who have for some reason ignored the history of shoddy reporting at FDL in service of their right wing ideology, repeat the same crap over and over.

    •  your other notes (0+ / 0-)

      a)Conrad. Long time vigilant supporter of Social Security. You are supposing that because he does not specifically rule out a proposal he has never supported and that would damage SS, he may be in favor. Seems like a stretch.
      b) Fudge. Peterson and Rubin are not the only people on the CFR board, not that it makes any difference.
      c) Spratt is sort-of blue dog, but (1) appointed by Pelosi and (2) as noted spent his birthday celebrating SS. What do you think he's going to do - go back to the people in SC and say "well, i didn't mean it"?
      d) Rivlin: I give her writings and you give summaries of documents she "co-signed" - summaries written by people who have their own views to flog.

      The missing part in all this is motive. What would motivate a person like Rivlin who has a long stated interest in tax fairness and who knows that and says that SS is not a significant budget problem to agree to SS cuts - unless there is a major payoff for social equity on the other end?

      What would motivate Spratt or Obama for that matter to fuck over the core Democratic accomplishment?

      If you start from the assumption that Obama is a secret neo-con, you can conclude anything.

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