Pete Peterson's pet dog, the smarmy David Walker, just appeared on MSNBC (or whatever they're calling it these days) to try to conflate the nation's economic problems with the debt so he can push "bipartisan" solutions like cutting Medicare and Social Security. To whip up the hysteria, he tries to compare our financial situation to that of Greece - even though any comparison is just plain old wingnut craziness. But hey, when you're trying to steal the financial safety net of millions, whatever works!
Steve Kornacki pushes back a little, even though he makes it sound like a matter of opinion and not basic facts:
David, I think I want to challenge the premise of what you are doing here a little bit. I think some people can make a case, pretty strong case, that it is not really a deficit crisis that we have right now. It is a jobs crisis, and it is a demand crisis in the economy. People who don't have money because they don't have jobs or afraid of losing their jobs and they are not spending money.
If you can get the economy moving by getting people spending their money again then it is a windfall of revenue and the picture wouldn't look nearly as bleak. I'm looking at, you know, interest rates on government bonds are kind of ridiculously low right now, which to me says if you have a demand crisis and you have the nonexistent interest rates, isn't this the time for government to spend more money and not to be worrying in the immediate short term about deficit but to be stimulating the economy through spending so you get demand up and you get spending going again and get revenue coming in.
WALKER: We have a short term problem and structural problem and we need to deal with both. The short term we need to get economic growth up. We have to deal with our unemployment and underemployment challenges. Yes, that can justify additional target investment that are effectively implemented, even if they exacerbate the deficit in the short term as long as they are coupled with a clear credible concrete and enforceable plan to deal with the large and growing structural deficit that lie ahead driven by demographics and healthcare costs. By the way, in comparable full and fair accounting, there is only one country in Europe that has higher total government debt to GDP than we do, that's Greece, and we don't want it follow their example.
This is a really easy way to know someone is trying to sell you rotten fish: They compare us to Greece.
KRYSTAL BALL: David, let me ask you, I don't disagree with the idea of a short term jobs crisis and in the long-term a structural trajectory issue and healthcare costs that we need to get under control.
But I want to read a part of the op-ed you wrote with Ross Perot. "The purpose is to engage votes on these critical issues by stating the facts, explaining the stakes outlining the tough choices we face and discussing range of nonpartisan fiscal reform that should be able to gain bipartisan support all in the name of keeping America great and the American dream alive." Now, my question is, you say these are ideas that should be able to get bipartisan support. The ideas for that were Heritage Foundation ideas and should have gained bipartisan support, even cap and trade was really a, you know, market-based solution that should have been able to gain bipartisan support. When you have Republicans who say they will not accept a deal that is 10-1 spending cuts to tax increases, is the problem really one of pushing solutions or is the problem one of having a completely intransigent party that doesn't want it?
WALKER: They are in denial about revenues. It is a spending problem. the government is too big, promised too much and waited too long to restructure, but it's not too late. Much will be addressed through projected spending but we will have to have more revenue than the historical average. How you achieve that matters and when you achieve it. We should do it through comprehensive tax reform and basically, in this tour, we'll try to help people understand what the key principles are that are necessary to get bipartisan support.
This is just the latest version of the deceptive Amway-like AmericaSpeaks town halls, which Walker led up. It didn't go so well; people saw right through it. Funded by Peterson, encouraged by the Obama administration.
BALL: I hear what you are saying, David. but how do you fix that log jam? how do you compromise?
WALKER: Two ways. This is not a partisan issue. The truth is, President George Walker Bush was fiscally irresponsible and frankly so was President Barack Obama. The burden barometer has gone up $50 trillion in the last 12 years. You have to do two things: one, the president, whether Barack Obama's second term or Romney's first term, has to demonstrate extraordinary leadership and help people understand that we've got it make tough choices on the budget, on spending, on social insurance and on taxes. Has to lay out a way forward that is credible, that meets certain principles and the American people, we the people, have to put pressure on our elected officials to work with the president in a constructive way to try to help solve this problem, to diffuse this ticking time bomb. We have to make the political price associated with doing nothing greater than the political price of breaking irresponsible pledges and also, making tough choices to help create a better tomorrow. That is possible. Nobody has talked to more Americans, nobody has done more town hall meetings. nobody has talked to more editorial boards about this. it is possible. we just need leadership.
Well, David, I was at one of your town halls back in 2010. I can tell you this: People do not want what you want. Even after a lot of carefully calculated, sophisticated and manipulative lead-in from your trained facilitators, people rejected the very premise of your agenda:
Anyway, there were many, many insidious attempts to reframe the debate. But people were pushing back on just about everything – in the nicest, most polite way. But they definitely pushed back. Despite the little hints from the emcee about “denial” and “making hard choices,” the attendees held their ground.
And politicians did not get the go-ahead signal to go anywhere near Social Security.
Frankly, I was surprised. But in a good way! Now we’ll see just how AmericaSpeaks frames the results. But I want to tell you: Today, Americans did us proud. I hope they keep their guards up.
Because this is only the beginning. Obviously, the plan is to wear down our resistance with more clever infomercials like this one.