Billionaire Launches Campaign to Slash Social Security

Why does a billionaire want to take away your Social Security benefits?

Peter Peterson is 84 years old. He’s old enough to relax and enjoy the fruits of the years he was well paid for managing other rich people’s money. Why is he spending his fortune to convince politicians they should ruin the average guy’s retirement?

Today Peterson announced the next facet in his long campaign to hack Social Security, including a joke Presidential candidate named Hugh Jidette (“huge debt”) and a website called Owe No. His aim is to convince Congress to raise the retirement age, cut Social Security’s cost-of-living increases—and raise the payroll taxes we pay for Social Security and Medicare.

It wouldn’t matter what one cranky octogenarian billionaire had to say if he weren’t putting $6 million into ads, funding “expert” commissions, and spreading lies designed to panic the populace.

Maybe Peterson figures offense is better than defense—he’s got a lot to defend. He made his fortune as a hedge fund manager—that is, moving money around—so he ought to be living in fear. Someone might get the idea he and his buddies would be good folks to tax. It’s like Willie Sutton, the famous bank robber, once said. Asked why he robbed banks, Sutton replied, “Because that’s where the money is.”

Peterson and pals are the ones George Bush gifted with big tax breaks that are set to expire December 31. Although he says his top priority is reducing the deficit, Peterson doesn’t want to cut that deficit by putting his own taxes back where they were in the 1990s.

It’s hard to get your head around how rich Peterson is, and how many rich people there are in this country. But here’s how to put their money in perspective, in relation to Social Security. If Congress decides to extend those tax cuts, for households making $250,000 or more (the top 2 percent of earners), the money the Treasury will lose would be enough to put Social Security in the black for 75 years--and raise benefits by 2 percent.

First They Took Your House

Meanwhile, we have a big chunk of near-retirees today who have barely seen their wages rise at all during their working lifetimes, the last 30 years. They couldn’t save a huge amount; what they saved they had in home equity. And that was wiped away by the financial shenanigans of Peter Peterson and his ilk. There are millions of potential retirees who will have next to nothing except Social Security if they’re ever able to retire. It wasn’t enough for Wall Street to rob us of our houses’ worth and what we had in 401(k)s. Now they want to take Social Security too.

Like I said, I don’t understand it. Is there no shuffleboard court where this man could spend his golden years?

A friend wrote to me today. He’s working his butt off to keep Congress from raising the retirement age and cut back Medicare. He said:

My mother was an LPN in a nursing home. The last few years that she worked, her back and legs ached so much that she literally had to crawl up the stairs to her bedroom at night. If someone told her that she would have to work three more years before retirement because hedge fund managers don't want to pay the same percentage of their income towards Social Security as she did, she would tell you what to do.

A slew of organizations is organizing a Call-In Day to Congress November 30. That’s the day before President Obama’s deficit commission is set to release its recommendations for raising the retirement age. They're saying "Owe No You Don't"—the goal is to create a groundswell of outrage that will make the recommendations dead on arrival. Find out more at strengthensocialsecurity.org and see Labor Notes' package of fact sheets and info.

Comments

FRANCOL (not verified) | 12/08/10

You may not know but Chile tried to reform their system -- abolishing it 100 percent. They failed and now, years later, they are trying to make it alive from a near-death syndrome: it could not die out totally because there were too many impediments, just too many.
However, if the United States of America come some day to destroy their own SS system, I am positive: wolves and old foxes, like this richly sick octogenarian, will fall into it like maggots in a dead corpse.
In Brazil our system runs a millionnaire hand-out system, for sure, without any backing other than fed money. To me this is totally unwise, as it was unwise for the big system financing large building construction in Copacabana, so well done that they repeated the feat in building Brasilia, the new capital of ours, ten years later.
In both cases, while the system held well, it passed on to new generations a major public debt which, similarly to the North American, will never -- NEVER -- be paid off.
I fear that the system of Mexico, Venezuela and Peru are much similar to both Brazilian and North American.
The fact is that once they are bitten deep, probably privatization will ensue and the end of it will be pretty near.
It will be a debacle to Brazil, if the American Social Security system goes down under. Large capital sectors will see in it a good example and the results will be damaging to all of us around the whole American Continent.
No wonder it is a frequent scenario when we see TV almost subtle notes about how bad our system does, on local TV stations, sold out to capital and foreign enterprise. Makes you wonder why Chavez did away for sure with local conservative, read far right TV stations in Venezuela: he had a good reason to do so, since they plant into people's minds the seed of doubt, hate and revenge. Castrating Social Security everywhere is a clear cut case of it.

Al Benchich (not verified) | 11/16/10

The people had a right to be pissed off this election cycle, but their anger was misdirected. As I tell fellow workers, it wasn't immigrants or Moslems that caused the foreclosure mess, reduced wages, closed plants or moved jobs out of the country. It was the people at the top. Billionaires like Peterson who now want workers to work longer and receive even less in Social Security Benefits. Why is there no righteous anger directed at these parasites?

Unlike in the US, the French are upset about the attempts to raise the retirement age in France and have been demonstrating by the millions in the streets. Even students have a clear understanding of the detrimental effects that raising the retirement age would have on jobs. As one protesting student said, "there are not enough jobs now, where will we find jobs if older workers are made to work longer."

Hopefully American workers and students will awaken to the fact that the rich have grown steadily richer in this time of economic downturn. Recent studies have shown that the top 1/10th of 1% of the richest people in this country now have more wealth then the bottom 125 million Americans. How did they get bigger slices of a shrinking economic pie? Obviously they have been stealing our pie. Don't count on the Dems. We need to take to the streets and demand it back! With interest, of course!

johnhkennedy (not verified) | 11/14/10

This lame duck session of Congress may our last chance to make all income subject to the Social Security Tax.

IF Obama and House and Senate Dems fail us, they should have Primary Challengers.
ARE YOU TIRED OF ELECTING "PRETEND" DEMS who Pretend to care about us?

This one change would "fix" Social Security for all time
and stop the Super Rich from Screwing the rest of us.

Should we "Primary" all Washington Dems who Refuse To Publicly Fight for this goal?

robertsgt40 (not verified) | 11/11/10

My guess Mr. Peterson is beholding to those that "helped" him become a billionaire. Those would be the financial/political wizzards. He doesn't address the trillions we've spent on "wars without end", the stuffing of his buddies pockets with taxpayer bailout dollars or the looting of Social Security starting with Clinton's slight of hand accounting. Ya know the taking of actual SS dollars and replacing them with IOUs. George Carlin said it best. "The world is run by an elite club and you ain't in it."

tokyoky (not verified) | 11/11/10

Perfect example of what the book None Dare Call It Conspiracy says about the big money blokes that use the Media to screw you in the mind and take your money while you are hypnotized by the TV ads they pay for. The mind can be hypnotized by lights flashing around 8 times a second. Coincidently your TV has harmonic frequencies that are in this cycles per second range. Go figure...

Big Big Big Money sucks really big big big time as you see with guys worth 300 trillion USD, the Int. Bankers:

Rothschild Bankers funded WW II Germans and Allied Bankers via B.I.S. in Basel Switzerland transferring funds the entire war between Nazi Deutch Bank and UK Bank of England extending it.

War could have ended 1-2 years but Germans Printed Debt Free Currency and Tossed Rothschild Bankers out of Germany so they firebombed all Germans and never bombed factories to extend war 5 years to kill all Germans so no more "Banking Problem Children" left living.

Oh and they invented Interest banking 800 years ago in Italy and Arab Sharia Law forbids Interest Banking so we been shooting Arabs last 800 years too.

Oh and don't count on the Police or Homeland Security to help with this Mafia, as they are paid to protect the government from you after you see this next video showing CIA and Police bring Coke into the USA Cities