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Hand grasping at $100 bills
The New York Times' Nicholas Confessore commits some excellent journalism with this story about "Fix the Debt," the coalition of extremely well-heeled and well-connected former politicians and current CEOs masquerading as a public interest group. The organization, headed up by our foremost catfood pushers Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, is replete with old white guys who get paid very well by a number of industries to make sure that any budget cuts don't hit them.

This story exposes them all. For instance, Sam Nunn (yes, he's still alive):

Sam Nunn, a former Democratic senator from Georgia who is a member of Fix the Debt’s steering committee, received more than $300,000 in compensation in 2011 as a board member of General Electric. The company is among the most aggressive in the country at minimizing its tax obligations. Mr. McCrery, the Louisiana Republican, is also among G.E.’s lobbyists, according to the most recent federal disclosures, monitoring federal budget negotiations for the company.
The financial industry, always lobbying for Social Security cuts that might bring them more old people's retirement savings to play with, is also well represented.
Erskine B. Bowles, a co-founder of Fix the Debt, was paid $345,000 in stock and cash in 2011 as a board member at Morgan Stanley, while Judd Gregg, a former Republican senator from New Hampshire and a co-chairman of Fix the Debt, is a paid adviser to Goldman Sachs. Both companies have engaged in lobbying on international tax rules.

Mr. Gregg also sits on the boards of Honeywell and IntercontinentalExchange, a company that has warned investors that a tax on financial transactions would lower trading volume and curtail its profits. The two companies paid Mr. Gregg almost $750,000 in cash and stock in 2011.

And then there's former Rep. Jim McCrery, from Louisiana, who has been lobbying Congress to cut entitlements and "reform" taxes. McCrery's current job: a lobbyist with Capitol Counsel L.L.C., whose "clients have included the Alliance for Savings and Investment, a group of large companies pushing to maintain low tax rates on dividend income, and the Win America Campaign, a coalition of multinational corporations that lobbied for a one-time 'repatriation holiday' allowing them to move offshore profits back home without paying taxes."

Charlie Pierce writes about his first in-depth introduction to McCrery, in reporting the heart-breaking story of a little boy dying of a heart defect who lost disability benefits thanks in large part to the political opportunism of McCrery. Because maintaining low tax rates on dividend income is far more important to the nation than helping the families of terribly ill children.

The "Fix the Debt" crowd, like all the deficit peacocks, don't care about the deficit. They care about the rich people staying rich and siphoning up every bit of public money they can get their grubby paws on. Thanks to Confessore at the Times for reminding the nation of that with this story.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 02:11 PM PST.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders and Daily Kos.

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