Last week I wrote about the conspiracy of corporate chieftains to impose a budget plan involving large cuts to Social Security and Medicare, regardless of who wins the elections in November. According to veteran Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein, who wrote approvingly of these efforts, many of the top executives of the country's biggest companies are meeting behind closed doors to design such a budget plan.
This plan is expected to follow the designs of the plan crafted two years ago by Morgan Stanley Director Erskine Bowles and former Senator Alan Simpson, the co-directors of President Obama's deficit commission. The Bowles-Simpson plan called for a reduction in the annual cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security that is equivalent to a 3 percent cut in benefits. It also called for gradually raising the normal retirement age to 69 and phasing in lower benefits for workers who earned more than $40,000 a year. The Bowles-Simpson plan would also raise the age of eligibility for Medicare to 67.
Pearlstein indicated that these corporate honchos were prepared to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to get their plan put into law. He put the necessary figure at $278 million. This target is made easier by virtue of the fact that the CEOs sit on trillions of dollars of corporate revenue and, thanks to the Supreme Court, all their contributions for this effort will be fully tax deductible.
That's the state of play, at least according to Pearlstein's assessment, or my interpretation of his assessment. The question is whether this juggernaut can be stopped?Read it at The Huffington Post
Beating Back the CEO Attack on Social Security and Medicare
Dean Baker | Co-director, CEPR