Dec 18 2012

Mayor Villaraigosa Joins Republicans and Corporate CEOs in ‘Campaign to Fix the Debt’

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner have continued talks this week over the so-called fiscal cliff cuts whose deadline approaches with the end of the year. While Boehner has conceded on tax increases for millionaires, according to the Washington Post, President Obama’s counter offer includes tax increases for those making over $400,000, up from his earlier position to increase taxes on those making $250,000 or more. The President has also reportedly made concessions on the cost-of-living increases for Social Security payouts, and the payroll tax holiday which the vast majority of Americans benefit from. But Boehner has asserted that the plan is still no “balanced enough.”

As the high level discussions continue, a corporate backed group called Campaign to Fix the Debt has been working behind the scenes to actively promote its agenda of preserving tax breaks for the wealthy by reducing spending on social safety net programs. A petition signed by over 20,000 people asking Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to remove his name from the Campaign to Fix the Debt group did little to sway the Mayor’s decision. Villaraigosa defended himself by saying, “As a progressive Democrat, I joined the Campaign to Fix the Debt because Democrats and Republicans need to come together to find a balanced approach to our fiscal future.” However, The Campaign, which was founded by Democrat Erskine Bowles and Republican Alan Simpson, has been backed mostly by Republicans despite claims of being bipartisan.

The group’s main source of funding has come from Wall Street billionaire Peter Peterson who has pledged close to $500 million dollars over the past five years to groups pushing to cut social safety net programs. Other members of the Fix the Debt Campaign include former US President Bill Clinton, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell as well as 86 corporate CEOs including Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, Jaimie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase, and Jeffrey Immelt of General Electric.

GUEST: Scott Klinger, an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies

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