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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A funny thing happened on the way to eliminating the social safety net
Posted by Jill | 9:42 PM
David Dayen went to the Eliminate The Social Safety Net So Pete Peterson Can Have Even More Money In His Pockets Tour:
While the cumulative effect of all this tends towards social safety net cuts rather than tax fairness, the crowd in Los Angeles, at least, wasn’t biting at first. In surveying the discussion groups, most people seemed more concerned about the desperate need for more stimulus spending to move the economic recovery forward. They feared a double dip recession without job creation, and fretted about the lack of unemployment insurance extensions to help the less fortunate. “No one is talking about the long-term unemployed,” said one participant. In a nationwide poll, taken by participants through electronic devices at all 19 America Speaks sites, 61% said the government needed to do more to strengthen the recovery, with only 25% opposed. Even with a push poll question asking if participants supported government programs to increase growth “if it increases the deficit,” got a majority, 51%, of the group.

During the discussions about the long-term budget challenges, there was a greater tendency from the participants to place a greater burden for deficit reduction on those with the ability and capacity to do so. Among the anti-corporate sentiment, someone mentioned that Exxon paid $0 in federal taxes last year. During the scare film about the budget, a few people screamed “Wrong!” when it was suggested that defense makes up 20% of the total budget (that doesn’t include spending on wars). Lastly, people thought that the wealthy weren’t paying their fair share for the commons. Someone mentioned the carried interest loophole, allowing money managers to treat their income as capital gains instead of income, drastically lowering their tax rate. One of those money managers is Pete Peterson, the funder of America Speaks.

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