Peter G. Petersen is the most influential billionaire in the U.S. says the L.A. Times. He is the founder of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation which is a primary financier of the "Fix the Debt" movement.
Through his Peter G. Peterson Foundation he has been a prime influence behind the upcoming legislation about to come down on the 99%ers, with the "Fix the Debt" program which is headed by some 127 CEO's, the likes of Erskine Bowles (Simpson-Bowles Commission), ex-governor Ed Rindell, the leader of the "Fix the Debt" campaign Maya MacGuineas, and more than 90 "Fix the Debt" leaders at the various state levels the group has largely focused on the dismantling of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid as its main answer to resolving the debt our legislators have allowed over the course of the past three decades.
It should come as little surprise to readers the CEO's have no concern over their own security, financial or healthcare, as most will be well taken care of in their retiring years. Larry J. Merlo, CEO & President of CVS Caremark Corporation, will retire on $267,445.00 a month, CEO of United Health on $108,607.00 each month and they are but two who are pushing to cut the security of those less fortunate, while working hard to have their taxes slashed.
Fix the Debt member CEOs of publicly held firms as a whole have average retirement assets of $9.1 million, according to the IPS report "A Pension Deficit Disorder."
In contrast, a Congressional Research Service analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data found that one in two private-sector workers had no retirement program other than Social Security. According to the Social Security Administration, 23 percent of elderly married couples and 46 percent of elderly unmarried citizens receive 90 percent or more of their total income from Social Security. The average Social Security monthly retirement check in 2012 was $1,237, or about the amount Merlo's CVS Caremark expected retirement check would deliver in less than four hours.
In the most recent five-year period Peterson has personally contributed at least $458 million to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation to cast Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and government spending as in a state of crisis, in desperate need of dramatic cuts. Peterson's millions have done next to nothing to change public opinion: In survey after survey, Americans reject the idea of cutting Social Security and Medicare. A recent national tour organized by AmericaSpeaks and largely funded by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation was met by audiences who rebuffed his proposals.
This doesn't daunt Peterson as the people do not matter, but those who can easily be bought, the legislators, do. He has recently hosted a fiscal summit that brought together Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, former President Bill Clinton, Rep. Paul Ryan, House Speaker John Boehner, Tom Brokaw and Politico's John Harris, among a host of other elites.
Peterson has been aided immensely in gaining his massive wealth through tax breaks. He served as commerce secretary under President Richard Nixon, founded the Blackstone Group, one of the world's largest private-equity firms, which owes its great profitability largely to a once-obscure tax break that allows investment managers to pay lower taxes than regular, working people. Before that, during the 70s and early 80s, he ran Lehman Brothers, the firm that blew up at the start of the financial crisis in 2008. Peterson also followed David Rockefeller as Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations. He chaired the Federal Reserve Bank of New York during the George W. Bush administration. At the summit mentioned above, he told the audience that he sat on the committee that picked Geithner to serve as president of that bank.
More recently, Peterson has been pushing his fiscal arguments by spreading that half-billion dollars widely across the Washington spectrum, putting both Democrats and Republicans on his payroll. He even launched his own newspaper, The Fiscal Times, which complements the many Peterson-funded nonprofits, such as the Concord Coalition and the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
Of course there is no clue as to how he got Obama to put Social Security and Medicare on the table, other than the naming of Erskine Bowles to the Simpson-Bowles Commission. Possibly we will have to wait until Obama is out of office, much like with many legislators, to see how the wealth pours into the Obama coffers. Rest assured, they will.
Peterson has done his homework well as he has included all aspects of what it takes in order to "get things done" in Washington -- he has bought and paid for Republicans, Democrats, media gerbils, and business leaders.
All at the expense of the elderly, sickly, and disabled. To Peterson and the people he has bought with his half-billion dollars, these people mean little.
Question: "Why would one spend that much to make it uncomfortable for those less fortunate?" Remember, those "less fortunate" include not those living in poverty as must have worked in order to pay into Social Security and Medicare in order to receive benefits, much like any other insurance program. Social Security includes all who have paid into the program, even Peterson and those he is paying to destroy it. Heck, they don't need it so why should others?