Mayor Scott Smith of Mesa, whom I’m told is “moderate”, has gubernatorial aspirations. Which is why you’re seeing him more in the news these days than you’d expect to see the mayor of Mesa. And he’s very eager to have you see things like this:
Mesa Mayor Scott Smith has joined the Campaign to Fix the Debt as a campaign steering committee member. Smith, who is the incoming president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, will help lead the bipartisan group’s efforts to “find a practical solution that will help build the new American economy,” he said in a press release.
“Mayors know what it’s like to face a ‘fiscal cliff’ as they faced their own financial crisis years ago,” Mayor Smith said. “Mayors from both parties demonstrated how it is possible to balance budgets, reduce debts, while creating economic growth that adds jobs. They made the tough decisions, and our cities are both stronger financially and ready to take advantage of opportunities for growth. Washington can, and should, do the same to fix our nation’s financial challenges.“
More information on the campaign can be found at www.fixthedebt.org.
That is clearly a press release, uncritically reprinted in the East Valley Tribune. And who is behind this Campaign to Fix the Debt outfit? You will be shocked (shocked!) to learn that it’s none other than Peter G. Peterson, the guy I featured in my last post who philanthropically puts piles of his own money into the important cause of starving grannies. Here are HuffPo’s Christina Wilkie and Ryan Grim reporting
on the Campaign’s background and major players.
The companies represented by executives working with the Campaign To Fix The Debt have received trillions in federal war contracts, subsidies and bailouts, as well as specialized tax breaks and loopholes that virtually eliminate the companies’ tax bills.
The CEOs are part of a campaign run by the Peter Peterson-backed Center for a Responsible Federal Budget, which plans to spend at least $30 million pushing for a deficit reduction deal in the lame-duck session and beyond.
During the past few days, CEOs belonging to what the campaign calls its CEO Fiscal Leadership Council — most visibly, Goldman Sachs’ Lloyd Blankfein and Honeywell’s David Cote — have barnstormed the media, making the case that the only way to cut the deficit is to severely scale back social safety-net programs — Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security — which would disproportionately impact the poor and the elderly.
As part of their push, they are advocating a “territorial tax system” that would exempt their companies’ foreign profits from taxation, netting them about $134 billion in tax savings, according to a new report from the Institute for Policy Studies titled “The CEO Campaign to ‘Fix’ the Debt: A Trojan Horse for Massive Corporate Tax Breaks” — money that could help pay off the federal budget deficit.
Yet the CEOs are not offering to forgo federal money or pay a higher tax rate, on their personal income or corporate profits. Instead, council recommendations include cutting “entitlement” programs, as well as what they call “low-priority spending.”
Wow. Low priority spending. That’s Grandma’s grocery money, or her ability to not have to live in squalor in a substandard nursing home. So yeah, grannies gotta starve but not a precious hair on defense spending will be touched, while (naturally) the Job CreatorsTM get yet more generous tax breaks. This is a “bipartisan” effort with several high profile Dems (ugh) on board too, so it further helps a guy like Scott Smith look moderate and pragmatic. But the reality is that this is a radical movement bent on shifting the tax burden onto working people and demolishing the social safety net. The really fiendish thing about this is that if Smith runs for Governor of Arizona, he’s not likely to be asked about Social Security. He’ll simply use his participation in the Campaign to Fix the Debt to posture about how Very Serious he is and not like those crazy Republicans.