So Erskine Bowles, an alleged Democrat/Wall Street lackey who's rumored to be Obama's choice to replace Tim Geithner, is endorsing a New Hampshire Republican against a progressive Dem so there'll be one more vote in favor of the beloved Grand Bargain. But it doesn't stop there: Pete Peterson is pouring millions into post-election advertising for a lame-duck deal. Gee, I can't wait:
WASHINGTON -- Billionaire private equity mogul Peter Peterson is investing millions of dollars in a new Washington-based campaign for austerity, planning to blanket the airwaves after the election to bolster the case for a "grand bargain" in Congress' lame-duck session that would slash Medicare and Social Security spending in exchange for new tax revenue.
The new Campaign to Fix the Debt is chaired by former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat, and former New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg, a Republican. It's priming for lame-duck negotiations over the expirations of the payroll tax cut and the Bush tax cuts, as well as scheduled cuts to defense and non-defense spending.
Peterson's allies aren't waiting for the election, however. In New Hampshire, the co-chairmen of the 2010 Simpson-Bowles commission -- former GOP Sen. Alan Simpson and former Clinton White House official Erskine Bowles -- have endorsed incumbent Republican Rep. Charlie Bass, who supported a budget bill with many of their austerity recommendations, over progressive Democrat Annie Kuster. Bowles and Simpson have become fashionable politically, so Bass is taking full advantage of their endorsement, running full-page ads in newspapers across the state.
Kuster, who lost a squeaker to Bass in 2010, has hit back hard. "Let me be clear: I will never cut Social Security and Medicare benefits. My Tea Party opponent will," she said in a statement.
But it will take more than Annie Kuster to stave off the coming campaign to cut federal spending. The two parties have been in budget talks for the better part of two years, and Bob Woodward's new book, "The Price of Politics," portrays a president obsessed with getting a "big deal." President Barack Obama was ready before to agree to dramatic cuts, including to Social Security and Medicare, in exchange for new taxes, but Republicans ultimately refused to yield.
You remember Pete Peterson, right? He's paying to feed his deficit hysteria to high school kids; he funds dozens of think tanks; he funds former employee David Walker's Comeback America Initiative; he co-founded and funds the Concord Coalition. He's got his fingers in most Washington pies, and he's very generous with his checks.
Except with us. Like most Wall St. billionaires, he just can't stand the thought of workers having dignity in their old age -- especially when he and his buddies want to get their hands on that Social Security money. He's pouring massive amounts of money into persuading us otherwise, and he's already bought off most of the politicians.
Don't fall for it.
P.S. You can donate to Annie Kuster's Blue America page here.