I guess PBS decided that "Fix the Debt" campaign's Steve Rattner wasn't getting quite enough air time, what with his near daily appearances on MSNBC's Morning Joe, because Charlie Rose and his producers gave him some unfettered air time Monday evening.
Rose asks why President Obama should care about the "Democratic wing of the Democratic party" thinks about his policies, and whether he's willing to go after our social safety nets. I'd love to know the last time Rose asked whether a Republican president should just ignore the base of his party and suggested that what they think doesn't matter all that much. To his credit, Rattner did admit that President Obama has good reason to pay attention to those that just reelected him, and that they should not be ignored.
He also briefly alluded to the conversation he had during the panel segment on This Week, where his fellow guest Steve Brill rightfully pointed out that lowering the Medicare age would actually save money, but rather than getting into the weeds on that discussion, Rattner only admitted that maybe raising the age might not be "such a good idea." Heaven forbid anyone might actually discuss the heart of Brill's arguments, because it runs counter to the Villager narrative that we must raise the Medicare eligibility age in order to control our health care costs.
Instead, the conversation turned to whether President Obama is entitled to change his mind on the issue or not and with Rattner again pushing for "significant changes to entitlements" as long as there "was a reasonable response from the Republicans on revenues." The idea that Republicans are ever going to come around on taxes seems pretty ridiculous, and as Karoli noted here on our health care costs, the problem is not with the cost to administer Medicare or with the consumers out there, it's with the providers Congress refuses to reign in.
Rose and Rattner were also extremely dismissive of Paul Krugman, who has written extensively about the fact that the debt and the deficit are not urgent issues now and not what we should be focusing on, with Rose calling him "a Nobel Prize winner, but also a minority opinion."
There was also a good dose of Rattner playing the "both sides do it" game, with Republicans refusing to raise taxes ever on anything and Krugman being treated as equal and polar opposites and Simpson-Bowles being the nice "moderate" middle that somehow, amazingly, doesn't have the majority of public support.
Heaven forbid the public doesn't agree with Rattner and his fellow millionaire Villagers in the corporate media out there, who think gutting our social safety nets and undoing the New Deal is the nice moderate "centrist" position. Not a good idea if you're not a member of the one percent, though.
And just like MSNBC, PBS decided not to disclose Rattner's conflicts of interest with his leadership role in the Fix the Debt campaign. They didn't hide the fact that he's a member, which he told the viewers himself. What they did not do is let the viewers know just who his group is looking out for, nor did they explain why anyone who is a member of the working class should give credence to any words out of his mouth.
Here's more on that from PRWatch and The Center for Media and Democracy's SourceWatch page on Rattner and Fix the Debt:
Steven Rattner is on Fix the Debt's steering committee. He is a former investment banker for two decades at Lehman Brothers, Lazard Freres and Morgan Stanley. Rattner was the Treasury Department's point man on the 2009 bailout of the auto industry by the Obama administration. He is on the board of the New America Foundation, the Pete Peterson-funded parent organization of Fix the Debt and the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB). Rattner is also chairman of Willett Advisors LLC, the investment arm for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's $25 billion in assets. In 2010, Rattner reached a deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission in which he was banned from the securities industry for two years and required to pay $6.2 million for his involvement in a pension fund kickback scheme between his company, the Quadrangle Group, and New York State's $125 billion public pension fund. "Rattner delivered special favors and conducted sham transactions that corrupted the retirement fund's investment process," David Rosenfeld, the associate director of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's regional office in New York, said at the time of the settlement.