U.S. Economic/Financial News
Obama's Deficit Commission Dominated by Peter Peterson
May 22 (EIRNS)Two former advisors to President Obama on Social Security matters have exposed the fact that Obama's deficit reduction commission is targeting Social Security for massive reduction, if not elimination, and is dominated by the fascist billionaire Peter Peterson. An article in the Neiman Watchdog, Harvard's journalism review, notes that Obama and Congress have "delegated enormous, unaccountable authority to 18 unrepresentative, inordinately wealthy individuals," who meet regularly behind closed doors, and who will present a plan for budget-slashing to the post-election lame-duck Congress which will then fast-track it through, without proper legislative consideration or hearings.
The two authors, Nancy Altman and Eric Kingson, suggest a number of questions that reporters ought to be asking about the commission, including:
* Why is the commission working so closely with Peterson, who has a clear political agenda?
* Why the urgent focus on Social Security, when hardly anyone is able to make a strong case that the program is in trouble?
* Have the commission members actually already made up their minds, making the exercise an effort by elected officials to avoid political accountability?
Jane Hamsher, the founder of firedoglake.com, wrote on May 21, in an article on Huffington Post, that there's no doubt the commission intends to use the budget deficit to justify cuts in Social Security. "It's going to be important to tell the tale of Peterson's inexorable march and defuse the notion that the Commission is simply responding to temporal economic factors," she writes. "This is class war, pure and simple. The rich against the poor. Hedge fund billionaires and defense contractors against senior citizens struggling to get by."
Huge Rally Against New Jersey Budget Cuts
May 23 (EIRNS)Between 30,000 and 35,000 New Jerseyans rallied in the capital city of Trenton on Saturday, May 22, protesting against deep budget cuts being planned in education, programs for the poor and elderly, and public service generally. According to AP, the demonstration is one of the largest ever to occur in state historyas befits the fact that the mass strike ferment is deepening around the United States.
NorthJersey.com reported that the crowd, dominated by unionists, especially teachers, was issuing a warning not only to Gov. Chris Christie (R), but to the Democratic legislators who might be inclined to support his proposals.
"I don't know how you can save New Jersey by shutting down our firefighters, police, and teachers," said Zein Maya, a West Orange resident and Newark firefighter. "It is the beginning of a new political movement in this state, one that stands in opposition to the kinds of cruel and unnecessary cuts that are devastating New Jersey, said Chris Shelton, a vice-president with the CWA. "One that says to all elected officialsif you want our support, you have to earn it."
Among the cuts that Christie is proposing in the budget to be ratified by June 30 are: reducing the free lunch program for poor children; demanding state workers pay 1.5% of their health insurance; and eliminating the Homestead Rebate for senior and disabled tenants (which allows them to afford high rents).