So not only is the catfood commission stacked with conservative members with a long history of hostility toward Social Security, it's partly staffed by people on Pete Peterson's payroll.
[A]bout 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.
For example, the salaries of two senior staffers, Marc Goldwein and Ed Lorenzen, are paid by private groups that have previously advocated cuts to entitlement programs. Lorenzen is paid by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, while Goldwein is paid by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which is also partly funded by the Peterson group.
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....
Barbara B. Kennelly, a former Democratic House member from Connecticut who heads the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, said the commission's staffing structure is "unprecedented" and casts further doubt on its fairness.
"Taxpayers fund the commission and they should work independently of Washington lobbyists and power brokers," Kennelly said. "This is the type of shenanigans that average Americans are so upset about right now - that money talks and everyone else is left out."
Bruce Reed, CEO of the DLC and catfood commission executive director insists that it's fair because they have "an analyst from the liberal-leaning Economic Policy Institute" also on staff. What's notable about that is that the Economic Policy Institute is a think tank created to "to broaden the discussion about economic policy to include the interests of low- and middle-income workers." As such, it studies the full realm of economic policy. It's not at all equivalent to the Peterson Foundation, which has had as its basic mission nothing other than killing Social Security.
Update: There's more discussion in TomP's diary.
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