An extravagantly funded campaign is underway to, in effect, steal Social Security benefits from future retirees and starve Medicare and Medicaid programs, says William Greider, who has written a cover story in The Nation exposing this effort. Grieder explains in this interview why citizens should be prepared to mount a grassroots effort now to preempt this attempt to undermine retirement and health security for millions of Americans.
The leader of this effort is former hedge fund manager Pete Peterson and his Peterson Foundation, perhaps best known for bankrolling the film "I.O.U.S.A." That film makes the one-sided argument that the nation is facing a fiscal crisis that can only be addressed through substantial cuts in "entitlement" programs, including Social Security. Peterson's goal is to have a commission write a set of recommendations, that would be characterized as the only plausible solution to the country's long-term fiscal challenges, that Congress would rubber-stamp. In reality, there are several approaches to lowering the nation's debt that should be up for debate that do not involve taking funds that people have paid into the Social Security and Medicare systems.
Peterson has assembled a bipartisan group of prominent people who "think they have a way to slip this past the American people," Greider said. What must happen, he said, is that citizens should respond by telling their representatives in Congress, "If you vote to gut Social Security benefits, you're on our list and your career is doomed."
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