Political Animal


November 26, 2012 12:10 PM The Spare-Us-the-Pain Coalition

By Ed Kilgore

As noted earlier, a lot of the supposed compromise, “share-the-pain” proposals kicking around Washington right now as “solutions” to the “fiscal cliff,” don’t really offer a lot of compromise, unless you think giving up crazy, unrealizable tax-cut schemes in exchange for huge, generational changes in the social safety net is really equitable.

But there’s one major group with a proposal that is refreshingly honest in its sheer offensive greed: that of the CEO Fiscal Leadership Council, an adjunct to Pete Peterson’s lavishly funded Campaign to Fix the Debt, which had a lot to do with making the “fiscal cliff” such a huge and immediate post-election priority. As HuffPost’s Christinia Willkie and Ryan Grim explain, this coalition of the all-powerful is proposing that major corporate tax cuts accompany “entitlement reform” as part of its idea of a “balanced” fiscal solution:

During the past few days, CEOs belonging to what the campaign calls its CEO Fiscal Leadership Council — most visibly, Goldman Sachs’ Lloyd Blankfein and Honeywell’s David Cote — have barnstormed the media, making the case that the only way to cut the deficit is to severely scale back social safety-net programs — Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security — which would disproportionately impact the poor and the elderly.
As part of their push, they are advocating a “territorial tax system” that would exempt their companies’ foreign profits from taxation, netting them about $134 billion in tax savings, according to a new report from the Institute for Policy Studies titled “The CEO Campaign to ‘Fix’ the Debt: A Trojan Horse for Massive Corporate Tax Breaks” — money that could help pay off the federal budget deficit.
Yet the CEOs are not offering to forgo federal money or pay a higher tax rate, on their personal income or corporate profits. Instead, council recommendations include cutting “entitlement” programs, as well as what they call “low-priority spending.”

Nor, it seems, do the execs consider the enormous contracts they receive from the federal government—particularly from the Pentagon budget—“low-priority spending.”

Seems the most obvious response would be a “spare-us-the-pain” budget from the rest of the population. Then maybe we can talk.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • c u n d gulag on November 26, 2012 12:18 PM:

    I have an idea of how we can "Fix the Debt."

    And guess what rich people?
    YOU'RE the ones with the choice.

    We can either tax your ass willingly, or we lop off some heads, sieze the money, and hope the rest of you can take the hint.

  • Ron Byers on November 26, 2012 12:38 PM:

    Do you want to make a tax code change that could have real world impact. Make dividends deductable at the corporate level, just like salaries and rent payments. That would encourage corporations to pay dividends instead of CEOs. Personally I would prefer to see corporations pay dividends to their shareholders than ever higher compensation to their officers.

    At the individual level dividends should be taxed as ordinary income.

    In a consumer society, spreading dividends to more and more people is preferred to paying CEOs more and more lavishly.

  • del on November 26, 2012 12:42 PM:

    This is the same solution they had in the Euro Zone and we see how well their austerity measures are working. These programs, that were created so people do not fall through the cracks because greedy CEOs and other corporate raiders take all the dollars and leave their former workers to make use of these programs. In other words, they are part of the problem and not solution. They have not created jobs, nor will they, because that does not add to their bottom line, how many millons they will put in their pocket. It's time to stop calling these programs entitlements as most are paid into by workers and they serve a purpose so we do not see what we saw during the depression or in the Euro Zone currently. We need to raise revenue to get out of debt, you cannot get out of debt by cutting programs that aide the society.

  • cwolf on November 26, 2012 12:46 PM:

    These pricks don't have a clue.
    Go away now, or else.
    We know where they live.

  • jjm on November 26, 2012 1:18 PM:

    Meanwhile Carly Fiorina is just horrified at how obscenely rich unionized public servants are. http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/11/25/fiorina-it-is-not-fair-that-public-workers-are-so-rich/

  • stormskies on November 26, 2012 1:47 PM:

    Right, and guess who had these creeps on his "Meet the Propagandists" show the last Sunday ? Of course, none other than David "I am not a used corporate condom" Gregory.

  • exlibra on November 26, 2012 1:53 PM:

    jjm. Just last night, I had a drawn-out fight (virtual, on Facebook, with someone else's "friend") on that very subject: the obscenely high pensions of unionised workers (esp USPS), which they're allowed to start taking at an obscenely early age, while the poor, poor, working slobs like herself are asked to subsidize that life of Riley. And all those people who have hordes of children, without being in a position to support them, while she has none, by responsible choice. And, and, and...

    The ditty, which went around "the internets" a few months ago, is still very a propos today:
    Republicans whine
    Republicans bitch;
    The rich are too poor
    The poor are too rich.

  • schtick on November 26, 2012 2:53 PM:

    Only in the corporate world could failure generate a bonus and increases in pay and perks.

  • rdale on November 26, 2012 3:19 PM:

    The problem of greedy CEOs and rapacious banksters could be solved by putting a few of their heads on pikes lining Wall Street, pour l'encouragement des autres.

  • atlliberal on November 26, 2012 3:35 PM:

    Heads I win, Tails you lose.

    The only way to solve the debt "crisis" is to stop listening to Republicans and CEOs. They are wrong about the economy now, they have proven over the last 25 years that they don't know what they are talking about when it comes to economics, so just stop listening to them. When Republicans say that your plan will "destroy the economy!" tell them thanks for the input, and go ahead and do it anyway. Otherwise we'll never get out of this mess. frequently

  • Joe Friday on November 26, 2012 5:22 PM:

    Reverend Al (Sharpton) was on 'Meet the Republicans' yesterday, and after listening to all the scolds (David Brooks, Carly Fiorina, Andrea Mitchell, and of course David Gregory) say we MUST cut Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid and there must be "shared sacrifice", he had the temerity to point out that there was no shared benefit, and to ask, so why the hell should there be shared sacrifice ?

    They all looked at him like he was from Mars !