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It’s supposed to be a clue when the simple act of joining a “bipartisan” group, rather than actual substantive policy, provides the “bipartisan” group the political cover and enhances their label.  


High Broderism: the debt, the debt, it’s the debt…. (November 16, 2012)

High Broderism in Missouri: State Treasurer Clint Zweifel (D) (November 19, 2012)

State Treasurer Clint Zweifel joins Campaign to Fix the Debt to urge leaders in Washington to reach bipartisan consensus

State Treasurer Clint Zweifel [….] has joined The Fix the Debt Campaign, a national bipartisan group dedicated to finding a long-term resolution to the current fiscal crisis facing the United States.  Treasurer Zweifel will be chairing the state’s steering committee….

State Treasurer Clint Zweifel (D) might want to consider skipping those meetings.

Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012 9:52 PM UTC

When did “Fix the Debt” become “protect Bush tax cuts”?

A coalition devoted to reducing the deficit shouldn’t embrace the irresponsible tax measures that helped create it

Fix the Debt and its partners find themselves twisted in a knot. Because “comprehensive tax reform” is such a central component of their vision, they have to root for the Bush tax cuts, because there’s not much room for reform otherwise. But supporting the Bush tax cuts, as a baseline, is not “fixing the debt.” It’s the opposite, since the Bush tax cuts make up almost all of the long-term projected deficit, as this chart from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows.

It’s also worth noting that Fix The Debt’s approach to taxes is not the same as the Simpson-Bowles commission. Simpson-Bowles started from the assumption that the Bush tax cuts would expire. Insisting that the Bush tax cuts form the starting point for negotiations was the position, instead, of Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan (it was one reason he opposed Simpson-Bowles), and the current House Republicans.

I’m not sure why Fix the Debt put itself in a position where it now seems more concerned with protecting the Bush tax cuts than actually reducing the long-term deficit. Maybe it’s that the devotion to the fantasy of a grand bargain that includes something called “tax reform” drove them there. Maybe it’s that it’s necessary to maintain the nominal support from Republicans and business leaders that they boast. But whatever the cause, it’s where they seem to be. And a group devoted to fiscal responsibility has no business protecting one of the two most irresponsible fiscal choices in recent history….

When? As if it ever was anything else?

Does Fix the Debt Want To Fix the Debt, or Keep Tax Rates Low?

By Matthew Yglesias

Posted Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012, at 12:03 PM ET

….So it’s not a group dedicated to avoiding premature austerity at all costs and it’s not a group dedicated to deficit reduction at all costs either. But it does include among its “core principles” that we need to reduce entitlement spending and enact “comprehensive and pro-growth tax reform” that, among other things, “lowers rates.” That sounds a lot like the agenda of a group that’s dedicated to rate-cutting tax reform and entitlement spending cuts, rather than to any particular view about the appropriate timing of deficit reduction.

From the Institute for Policy Studies:

The CEO Campaign to ‘Fix’ the Debt: A Trojan Horse for Massive Corporate Tax Breaks

By Sarah Anderson and Scott Klinger. Contributors include Brent Soloway.

Released November 13, 2012

This business-driven initiative is using the so-called fiscal cliff as a cover for tax-code changes that would damage our economy.

The Fix the Debt campaign has raised $60 million and recruited more than 80 CEOs of America’s most powerful corporations to lobby for a debt deal that would reduce corporate taxes and shift costs onto the poor and elderly.

This report focuses on the Fix the Debt campaign’s corporate tax agenda and in particular the windfalls the campaign’s member corporations would reap from a territorial tax system. We also analyze the savings the Fix the Debt campaign’s CEOs have derived from the Bush tax cuts and how many of them received more in compensation last year than their corporations paid in federal income taxes….

But wait, there’s more:

A Pension Deficit Disorder: The Massive CEO Retirement Funds and Underfunded Worker Pensions at Firms Pushing Social Security Cuts

By Sarah Anderson and Scott Klinger. Contributors include Brent Soloway.

Released November 27, 2012

This report analyzes the retirement policies of the U.S. corporations leading the “Fix the Debt” campaign, which is calling for reduced spending on senior citizens’ benefits as part of a deal on the national debt.

A major player in the national debt debate, the “Fix the Debt” campaign, is arguing that cuts to Social Security and Medicare are necessary to avoid economic disaster. Meanwhile, the corporations leading this campaign are contributing to Americans’ retirement insecurity by funneling enormous sums into their CEO retirement accounts while underfunding their employee pension funds.

Key findings:

The 71 Fix the Debt CEOs who lead publicly held companies have amassed an average of $9 million in their company retirement funds. A dozen have more than $20 million in their accounts. If each of them converted their assets to an annuity when they turned 65, they would receive a monthly check for at least $110,000 for life.

The Fix the Debt CEO with the largest pension fund is Honeywell’s David Cote, a long-time advocate of Social Security cuts. His $78 million nest egg is enough to provide a $428,000 check every month after he turns 65.

Forty-one of the 71 companies offer employee pension funds. Of these, only two have sufficient assets in their funds to meet expected obligations. The rest have combined deficits of $103 billion, or about $2.5 billion on average. General Electric has the largest deficit in its worker pension fund, with $22 billion….

Gee, incentives. What’s State Treasurer Clint Zweifel’s excuse?