More About the Fix the Debt Crowd

Like the older brother in the back seat who soothingly says he won’t punch you anymore while reaching around to steal your sandwich, the Fix the Debt Crowd is hawking its urgent, communally minded, wares to all who are happy to have a partner from the overseer class. [Previous post.]

Windfall for the grown-ups 

by digby

Regular readers know that I’ve been dogging this bogus “Fix the Debt” group for many months. It’s long been clear that they are working on behalf of those who created the series of arbitrary deadlines called the “fiscal cliff” in order to press for cuts to entitlements.

It turns out they have another, more personal, agenda as well:

When a group of 86 large U.S. companies came out in late October in favor of fixing the debt it was seen as a rare example of corporate unity, and a wake up call on just how urgent an issue the growing federal deficit has become for business.

In a new report, the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), a liberal Washington think tank, argues that the group, called “Fix the Debt” is basically a larger version of an earlier Washington corporate lobbying group called “Win America”, and shares its focus on getting corporate money now being held overseas back into the United States with little or no taxes taken out.

And from David Atkins, also at Hullabaloo

The Grand Lie

by David Atkins

Part of what is so frustrating about any conversation about the “deficit” is the obviousness of the lies being told. Conservatives have a decades-long strategy that they have telegraphed since the Goldwater years. It’s not complicated, and everyone in politics knows about it:

1) Claim that jobs and economic growth depend on tax cuts, especially on the wealthy. Claim that any cuts will pay for themselves. Both of these are lies, and everyone serious in public policy knows it.

2) When revenues dwindle and deficits explode as they have under every Republican President since Nixon, blame “welfare” (a lie) and “spending” (another lie.)

3) Let Democrats be the ones to take responsible measures to bring deficits back under control by sacrificing their own programs. Don’t take responsibility for “starving the beast”: let Democrats do it instead, and then blame them for it.

4 When good economic times and minor tax boosts bring both the economy back to health and the deficit back in line, tell people that the government has too much money, and that they should “get more of their money back.” This is an intentional strategy to drive up the deficit, forcing more cuts later.

That strategy isn’t just politics. It amounts to direct economic sabotage–sabotage that everyone in politics and media knows is happening.

AND, it turns out that the horrific rise projected for “entitlements” may not be as solid as the DHs would have you believe.  Another from Hullabaloo:

Quick, let’s make a deal (before the deficit goes away on its own)

by digby

You know that deficit that’s killing us? The one we’re going to fix by “asking the rich to pay a little bit more” and cutting benefits for everyone else? What if the scam is even worse than we thought?

Dean Baker spills some very inconvenient beans:

[T]he big stick for the deficit hawks was their story of huge deficits in the longer term. They attributed these to the rising cost of “entitlements,” which are known to the rest of us as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

While they like to push the notion that the aging of the population threatened to impose an unbearable burden on future generations, the reality is that most of the horror story of huge deficits was driven by projections of exploding private sector health care costs. Since Medicare and Medicaid mostly pay for private sector health care, an explosion in private sector health care costs would eventually make these programs unaffordable.

As some of us have long pointed out, there are serious grounds for questioning the plausibility of projections that the health care sector would rise to 30 or 40 percent of GDP over the rest of the century. Recently a paper from the Federal Reserve Board documented this argument in considerable detail.

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