Monday, July 21, 2008

Partial Truth Out on Pete Peterson

TruthOut ran a piece on Blackstone Group co-founder, Pete Peterson, and his new foundation, aptly named the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. It cited the organization's main purpose, "to cut back spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid." Finding the piece unsatisfying, I dug for more.

It turns out Pete had a banner 2007, at least financially. He and his partner, Steven Schwarzman grossed $4.5 billion, between selling a stake of their firm to China and taking part of it public. Uncle Sam's preferred tax status for private equity underwriters (PEU's) enabled the pair to avoid up to $855 million in taxes. How might that money have helped to shore up Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid?

In my research, I found Pete isn't working alone on these critical issues. CQ Politics reported Mr. Peterson is encouraging Blue Dog Democrats to work with their Republican counterparts in the House of Representatives. The article stated:

Watch for the House’s most fiscally conservative Democrats and Republicans to start meeting regularly, in the same room at the same time. The GOP Tuesday Group and the Democratic “Blue Dogs” have long shared the goal of reducing the federal deficit.

The two caucuses met together in the past week along with Pete Peterson, creator and benefactor of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to deficit reduction, and David Walker, who earlier this year left the top position at the Government Accountability Office to run the foundation.

As I finished the piece, another Blue Dog appeared on my television screen, Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana. Evan is sponsored by another PEU, The Carlyle Group. They fell from his #3 lifetime donor to # 7 in the last election cycle, but still ponied up $75,000. MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell, live from Barack Obama's visit to Iraq, tried to get Evan to say something other than "Aw, shucks" in reference to his potential Vice Presidential status.

Watching Evan schmooze, my stomach turned. The Bayh family made millions from flipping WellPoint stock options the last few years. Susan Bayh serves on the board of the huge health insurer, sharing the table with President Bush's Uncle Bucky and ex-White House economic czar Al Hubbard. Yes, that's the same Al Hubbard who recently accused the American people of ordering medical caviar.

The fix is in folks. Businesses want to give you responsibility for your health care coverage. In a deja vu of 1980's retirement benefits (which produced IRA's and 401k's), the average citizen will soon fund their health care coverage. It will look like Al Hubbard's caviar, costing a fortune and barely covering the smallest portion of the plate.

Guess who Pete Peterson wants to design this new health care system? American CEO's! Of course, their executive compensation package will include prime coverage while everyone else's deteriorates? Just think, they can get a huge multi-million dollar bonus for dropping health care coverage for their employees.

"Let them eat cake." Just like the PEU boys' preferred tax rates, they get the benefits, you get the pain. Recall, someone had to pass legislation and then choose not to change it. A used condom is coming if people don't wake up. Pete's yearnings aren't for the post World War periods, they're for the Guilded Age.

No comments: