Thursday, October 25, 2012

Felix Salmon — CEOs’ self-serving deficit manifesto

In other words, the letter basically just says “please cut our taxes, raise taxes on everybody else, and cut the benefits they get from Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, which are programs we individually don’t rely upon”. It’s gross self-interest masquerading as public statesmanship.
It’s also the latest example of the absolutely enormous influence of Pete Peterson on the public debate. Peterson’s extremely well-funded and highly-focused concentration on fiscal issues has turned worrying about the national debt into a bipartisan pastime, to the point at which debate moderators can simply assume that the national debt in general, and entitlements in particular, are an enormous and urgent problem, and then ask the candidates how they’re going to fix this huge problem which we can all agree exists. The public just nods along.
But the fact is that nothing is remotely so obvious. The really huge and important and urgent issue facing the US right now is the problem of unemployment, and specifically of long-term unemployment.
Reuters | Opinion
CEOs’ self-serving deficit manifesto
Felix Salmon

Although Salmon's diagnosis is good, his etiology and treatment solution is bonkers.
A plan to stabilize the debt would be a welcome thing; we could get a lot of the way there by capping deductions, a la Romney, and then putting in a few Pigovian taxes on things we don’t want, like carbon emissions or high-frequency trading. And if you want to strengthen Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, then one way of doing that is to go the European route and pay for them with a VAT. But nobody is suggesting that as an option.


Dan Lynch said...

When Neoliberals talk about "broadening the tax base," that's code for shifting the tax burden to the working class.

widmerpool said...


Still a step forward for somebody as influential as Felix to be calling out Peterson.

Ironically Felix was (is?) a Peter Peterson Foundation fellow.

beowulf said...

"Felix Salmon, the finance blogger for Reuters and a leading voice on financial and economic issues, has been appointed the Columbia Journalism Review’s next Peterson Fellow, writing on the media’s coverage of fiscal and economic matters. Funded by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, the Peterson Fellowship was created to encourage the business and political media to take the long view..."

Matt Franko said...

Salmon is "Captured!"