John Nichols: 'Fix The Debt' Run By Billionaires Who Really Want Lower Taxes


From this Saturday's Up With Chris Hayes, panel member and Hayes' fellow contributor at The Nation brought up a topic at the end of the show that we unfortunately don't hear too often on MSNBC, which is the fact that the "Fix the Debt" campaign is not really interested in "fixing" anything. They're funded by a bunch of billionaires that are pushing for austerity measures and who are really just interested in lowering their taxes.

Sadly I don't expect we'll be seeing any disclaimers from the network every time they have one of these lobbyists from Pete Peterson's group on any time soon though, especially considering they've got one of them on their payroll. The more we complain, the more the so-called "liberal" network puts Ed Rendell on the air without disclosing his conflict of interests on the matter and he's just the tip of the iceberg when you look at the entire list of their leadership.

As Nichols informed the viewers here, there is a new web site that's been launched by The Center for Media and Democracy called PRWatch which has a lot more information on "Fix the Debt." You can check out the site here: PRWatch.

And here is more from one of their recent posts: Pete Peterson’s “Fix the Debt” Astroturf Supergroup Detailed in New Online Resource at

Madison, WI -- One of the most hypocritical corporate PR campaigns in decades is advancing inside the beltway, attempting to convince the White House, Congress, and the American people that another cataclysmic economic crisis is around the corner that will destroy our economy unless urgent action is taken. Soon this astroturf supergroup may be coming to a state near you.

“We would not be here if it wasn’t for the Peterson Foundation and Pete Peterson. They laid the groundwork and we stand here on their shoulders.” – Fix the Debt Co-Founder Erskine Bowles

Today the Center for Media and Democracy launches a new wiki resources on the funding, leaders, partner groups and lobbyists of the Campaign to Fix the Debt, see it here at

Move over David Koch and George Soros! The effort is being bankrolled by one of the wealthiest men in the nation. Peter G. Peterson made a fortune at the Blackstone Group on Wall Street. He conveniently cashed out with $2 billion shortly before the 2008 financial meltdown and now has pledged to spend $1 billion of that payout to convince Americans -- who overwhelmingly want to keep and strengthen Social Security and Medicare -- that these programs threaten our very existence as a nation.

His task is a tough one. [...]

Key to the strategy is ginning up a crisis. In lockstep, the CEOs, politicians, and partner organizations stormed the media last fall warning of the looming disaster of the so-called “fiscal cliff.” Breaching the fiscal cliff “will lead to chaos,” warned Erskine Bowles; “derail the fragile recovery,” said Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein; generate a "shock to the financial markets and a painful return to the recession,” said the CEO of Morgan Stanley.

But this chorus of calamity was pure hype. One Fix the Debt steering committee member, former Tennessee governor Phil Bredesen, let slip that the strategy was to create an “artificial crisis” that would force Congress to act.

Their goal is to achieve a Simpson-Bowles style “grand bargain” on an austerity agenda for the United States by the nation’s 237th birthday on July 4, 2013. [...]

Many Fix the Debt firms pay a very low or even a negative average tax rate, contributing to the nation's deficit. Fix the Debt is secretly pushing for a major tax break that would exempt profits earned overseas by U.S. firms from taxation and encourage the offshoring of U.S. jobs. While the Fix the Debt CEOs call for cuts to Social Security, many of the publicly-traded Fix the Debt firms underfund their employee pension plans -- making their workers even more dependent on the popular social insurance plan that American workers pay into with each paycheck.

And as Hayes mentioned during the segment as well, Nichols contributed to The Nation's article on Peterson's group here: Stacking the Deck: The Phony 'Fix the Debt' Campaign.

I hope everyone checks out the entire article and the rest of the resources at PRWatch and I wanted to share just one more item from there. From their SourceWatch page: Fix the Debt Leaders and Conflicts of Interest:


And there's more here: Fix the Debt's Leadership

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