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Pierce writes: "Listening to these people talk about the national economy is like listening to a burglar tell you that you should really polish the silver more often."

Author and political blogger Charles Pierce. (photo: unknown)
Author and political blogger Charles Pierce. (photo: unknown)

The Pirates Behind The Campaign To Fix The Debt

By Charles Pierce, Esquire

30 November 12


here are many more important topics out there than The Deficit, the scary, hairy monster that haunts the dreams of David Gregory and only the blood of the poor and elderly can appease its wrath. Climate change comes immediately to mind, as do income inequality, the vast inequities of our tax code, the ongoing upward translation of the nation's wealth, why more bankers aren't in federal prison, and whatever did I do to the baby Jeebus that he allowed Notre Dame to play for a national championship. But the biggest reason why we should shut the national piehole on the topic is not that we have more serious problems, or even that any discussion violates the blog's first rule of economics - Fk The Deficit. People Got No Jobs. People Got No Money. The real reason we should stop talking about it for a while is that the people who are insisting that it will eat us and our posterity on toast are lying swine who would sell your white-haired granny to the Somali pirates for another three points on the Dow. Until we all acknowledge the fact that organized wealth in this country has become downright sociopathic in the heedless damage it does, any discussion of The Deficit can and will be hijacked by that quarter in order to gain absolution for its grievous sins and the right to go on committing them against the rest of us, over and over again.

Listening to these people talk about the national economy is like listening to a burglar tell you that you should really polish the silver more often.

The latest confirmation of this obvious truth comes from the good folks at the Institute Of Policy Studies, who took a look at the various plutocrats and pirates who are behind Fix The Debt, the latest scam from the phony deficit scolds, albeit one made up almost exclusively of people who helped threw the national economy into the abyss for a decade, and then came looking for government handouts when it all went to hell. In a sensible world, the whole notion of taking seriously the economic proposals emanating from this particular bag of rancid marsupials would occasion an immediate takeout order from Wanda's House Of Tar And Feathers. Instead, we have the people at IPS, to whom none of our courtier press will pay attention, but who have done us the invaluable service of showing us in detail how the folks behind Fix The Debt do business in their day jobs. These are the people, of course, who are so concerned about The Deficit because of the impact it will gave on their children and grandchildren, most of whom, of course, will not have to work a day in their lives, because Grampy stole the country back in the day. The report is a truly remarkable look at who's really running things.

The 71 Fix the Debt CEOs who lead publicly held companies have amassed an average of $9 million in their company retirement funds. A dozen have more than $20 million in their accounts. If each of them converted their assets to an annuity when they turned 65, they would receive a monthly check for at least $110,000 for life. The Fix the Debt CEO with the largest pension fund is Honeywell's David Cote, a long-time advocate of Social Security cuts. His $78 million nest egg is enough to provide a $428,000 check every month after he turns 65. Forty-one of the 71 companies offer employee pension funds. Of these, only two have sufficient assets in their funds to meet expected obligations. The rest have combined deficits of $103 billion, or about $2.5 billion on average. General Electric has the largest deficit in its worker pension fund, with $22 billion.

(Cote is the sweetheart to whom Gregory gave such an elaborate private dance in the VIP Room of his show on Sunday. When it comes to speaking mush to power, there's nobody quite like the Dancin' Master.)

Look at those numbers. Only two - ! - of these gombeens run companies that intend to fulfill the bargains they have made with their workers. They have feathered their own nests so luxuriously that they make the Ottoman sultans look like Franciscans. And they now have organized themselves to lobby for a program that will cut Social Security and Medicare, and they are trotting it out in public, and nobody has yet greeted them with the flying clumps of horse manure that are really the only answer to this shameless audacity. My god in heaven, the average Social Security recipient receives a little over $1200 a month, or roughly 400 times less than will David Cote who, on Sunday, said this to David Gregory who, alas, declined to spit on him.

We have a significant problem with entitlements. Medicare, Medicaid in - in particular. Those things need to get resolved together. If we could actually develop a four trillion dollar credible market credible plan that would cause everyone out there to say, wow, we can govern again.

It is hard to believe, given the very real look into how these people think that was the essence of the Romney campaign, that so many people now covering our politics seem unwilling to admit what is plainly in front of their face. We need government more than ever to protect us and our political commonwealth from a rapacious business and financial elite that sees the country as something to be pillaged, and that doesn't have the basic patriotism that god gave the common sea slug. These people have no more business directing the politics of the country than does your drunk uncle who watches Fox News. These people ought to have less influence in our politics than do the people who leave the mints on their pillows every night. There is nothing for the rest of us but self-government, which occasionally must show the right people its fangs so they do not wreck the country and loot what's left. It is all that the rest of us have.

Charlie has been a working journalist since 1976. He is the author of four books, most recently "Idiot America." He lives near Boston with his wife but no longer his three children. your social media marketing partner


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+136 # jmac9 2012-11-30 11:37
8 years of Bush-Cheney Republicans caused the Trillions of dollars collapse. You can't compromise with them.

All "Bailout" money should go to YOU.
2/3s of the economy is YOU spending money. So to recover from the Republican disaster direct your tax money to programs that benefit YOU.

Payment on debt is money- of no benefit or economic development – its money sent back to corporates and banks that caused the disaster with fraudulent accounting and other scams.

Debt payment only fattens banks and the 1% of population who we’ve seen, generate no economic development as debt payment is their income and that’s where it stays. From their scamming of the public funds, they can go to jail.

The "fiscal cliff" is a fraud created by Republican propaganda – Even Krugman and Reich have so stated.

Increase Social Security , expand Medicare, Medicaid - that increases more jobs with more doctors, nurses, med technicians, staff. Health care is potentially the biggest job creator and the biggest “industry” in the country.

Expand environmental research and development - more jobs with a future.

No more the poison and pollution jobs of oil, pesticides, herbicides, GMOs, corporates, which are jobs of the disastrous past.

Cut military spending - which is all waste. All war is failure.
-14 # jlohman 2012-11-30 12:06
>>> "All "Bailout" money should go to YOU. "

Wait a minute. YOU do not fund the campaigns, the Fat Cats do!
+44 # WestWinds 2012-11-30 17:52
No, we just fund their endless wars until we have nothing left and are paying for their endless wars with our blood. Wake up!
+7 # Joe Bob 2012-11-30 20:36
Send me mah dough !!!
+13 # Skyelav 2012-12-01 11:38
Why is this comment getting thumbs down? It is spot on.
+32 # WestWinds 2012-11-30 17:51
If we don't get Medicare for All/Single Payer, the medical industry will be one of the biggest disasters the world has ever known.

These corporate monsters are buying up all of the doctors' practices and consolidating all medicine into "Regional Medical Centers" which will be privately owned, and they will cherry pick their clients based on who has the most lucrative insurance policies. That means, YOU get nothing!!!

And don't write this all off as just a Republican thing; the Democrats have been right in there doing their part to change the world in favor of the ultra rich. Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are all DLC-ers (PNAC/New World Order), and our take-down all started in the second term of Jimmy Carter's administration. You need to have a better look at who is truly responsible for all of this.

We put these people into office based on their campaign lies, then we go home expecting them to take care of the country. But the hordes of paid lobbyists (former politicians like Chris Dodd and Dick Gebhardt,Democr ats,) move in and take the teeth out of any legislation that will do the 99% any good. If you think only the Republicans are responsible for this, then you haven't been doing your homework and really don't know what you are talking about.

If you really want to make a change: Occupy and then Occupy the Green Party (which is FDR's New Deal plus other goodies such as protection of the planet's natural resources.
+17 # DevinMacGregor 2012-11-30 19:20
Jimmy Carter was a one term President. His hypothetical second term is Ronald Reagan;s reality first term.
+11 # aaheart 2012-11-30 20:21
Jimmy Carter didn't have a second administratiion , but Bill Clinton did. Billy Boy helped gut SS to pretend he had a balanced budget and in the take down of the Glass-Steagall Act that unfettered the greedy monsters in the banks and other financial institutiona
+10 # guyachs 2012-12-01 10:53
Don't think you know what you're talking about. Clinton didn't gut Social Security. Phil Gramm had a law passed that required reports to include the Social Security trust fund in them in order to make the budget look better but even he didn't gut social security.
+7 # aaheart 2012-12-02 02:09
Thanks Guy...I checked it out on the SS website and you are correct. The appearance of placing SS into the balance sheet did make his administration seem to have a balanced budget, but that didn't change the function of SS.
+10 # Skyelav 2012-12-01 11:34
This is so true and we liberls are too into our heads or worse, ignorant or in denial, or unable to take criticism, to admit we have a fox in the hen house and its called the DLC..and friends.
+4 # Skyelav 2012-12-01 11:37
Yes and they are building detention centers in case we riot. LOL.. Disgusting organized wealth is right.
+3 # Ray49 2012-12-01 13:19
seriously excellent points!
-9 # aaheart 2012-12-01 16:49
Did you buy a house, a car, anything else on credit? Did you sign for a bank loan of any kind? Then part of that NATIONAL DEBT is TO YOU. YOU need to redeem your portion of the NATIONAL DEBT. Why is the NATIONAL DEBT so high? Because YOU didn't complete the commercial transaction! Don't blame politicians, bankers, or corporations! Blame yourself for not paying attention to the details.

You thought that you were supposed to pay back all those loans! By now you should have noticed how the Federal Reserve creates money out of DEBT! YOUR debt, too! When they change your debt into securities, YOUR debt was PAID and YOU were supposed to be paid the profits. Your promissory note was passed on to the US Treasury through the Federal Reserve.

But you didn't know that you were supposed to have a trust set up into which your credit could be placed. That increase in the NATIONAL DEBT was your share.

Learn how to do commercial transactions so you can reduce YOUR part of the NATIONAL DEBT.
+1 # Barbara K 2012-12-04 07:23
jmac9: It is obvious to everyone watching that the Rs are not interested in paying down their debt. It is a ruse to hide the fact that they will do all they can to keep taxes rising for their bloated supporters, who will pay anything to destroy this country and ALL of us with it. The fat cat's supporters will suffer right along with the rest of us, they need to smarten up about that.
+56 # ghostperson 2012-11-30 12:09
This reminds me of federal Indian Policy. Government & Plutocrats to Indians: "We are here to help you but first you must be impoverished for your own good. This of course was said as the former two groups of righteous Philistines walked off with the spoils previously owned by the latter.
+50 # abstract668 2012-11-30 12:10
Thank you, thank you, thank you for pointing out the truth of this campaign! Now please give us the talking points to argue with our friends and neighbors who believe the hogwash that is being peddled by David Gregory et al.
+6 # aaheart 2012-11-30 20:15
Talking points:

A large chunk of the debt is owed to the people who wrote promissory notes to buy homes, cars, got student loans, boats, used credit cards...just for starters. Their notes became securitized and monetized by the banking system and since the law says that the maker of the securitized note is to receive the proceeds of its sale, the homes, cars ...assets should have been paid in full and the surplus paid to them. Failure to redeem the debt has lead to a massive accumulation of debt that is owed to the people whose promissory notes seerved as the basis for our debt-backed money.
+52 # tbcrawford 2012-11-30 12:26
...If you have any silverware left...Right on Mr. Pierce...Most of us are too gullible and/or too lazy to follow the money. It only takes a second to find out who is behind ploys such as "Fix the Debt" but how many of us make this effort..."I read it in the..." is NOT sufficient assurance of reliable information.
+34 # R. Indignation 2012-11-30 13:16
Thank you Mr. Pierce. Perfectly said, perfect tone... I am mostly unable to attend to the current budget talks among the power elite (lying liars who lie) a.k.a. banksters and their minions. Are we peasants revolting yet? Agh!
+46 # MidwestDick 2012-11-30 13:43
"And they now have organized themselves to lobby for a program that will cut Social Security and Medicare, and they are trotting it out in public, and nobody has yet greeted them with the flying clumps of horse manure that are really the only answer to this shameless audacity"
At least not till you wrote this. Thanks
+38 # gerdahoke 2012-11-30 13:50
Why do we worry about falling off the "fiscal Cliff" when the real cliff is the melting glaciers ? And climate change is called a hoax when the FC is the real hoax.
-19 # aaheart 2012-11-30 20:07
Yes Gerda, the Fiscal Cliff is hokum used to apply political leverage...but so is AGW. Global temperatures have been higher in the past and life on earth thrived and flourished...ev en without the additional CO2 from human technologies. Currently other planets in our Solar System are warming up but there aren't humans there to be blamed.

Glaciers melt and then accumulate more ice. That's how it has always been. Change is the name of this game. Claiming that humans are at fault is just leverage to tax your right to breathe. We'll need to keep the hot air to a minimum or Maurice Strong and his disciple, Al Gore, won't get filthy rich on carbon tax scams.
-4 # Skyelav 2012-12-01 11:42
Partly true sir, however did it occur to anyone out there that humans are the only animals that shit in their own nests?
+46 # tadn54 2012-11-30 13:55
Mr. "I Got Mine" Cote is a despicable, greed-infested selfish cockroach, as are most others within his kingdom of priviledge and wealth. It brings to mind a quote from Wolfe's "Of Time and the River": "....people need to sacrifice and suffer sometimes" id this man who has sacrificed and suffered nothing."...... ....
+14 # JSRaleigh 2012-11-30 14:22
Well said. When I run for President, I'm hiring this man as my principal speech writer!
+38 # psadave 2012-11-30 14:48
The SURE way to fund Social Security is to remove the cap on the tax (currently $110,000) which means that fat cats only pay into Social Security for a few days or maybe weeks each year. If there was no cap, Social Security would be funded through the rest of the century without CUTTING any benefits! Do you hear this group talking about this? Also, high net worth folks could volunteer to pay their own health care costs instead of using Medicare funds if they were really CONCERNED about anything but paying lower taxes!
+6 # Skyelav 2012-12-01 11:44
What?!? and take away part of their yacht crews? Please.
+13 # Tigre1 2012-11-30 14:49
Well said. Save six for pallbearers.
+27 # BradFromSalem 2012-11-30 15:45
Except for the occasional 5 minute interview you will never hear the orthodoxy of entitlement reform being questioned, with only few exceptions on msnbc (during the liberal evening shows) and current tv (probably not carried in your area). So the lie that in order to save ourselves from this humongous pit of debt we must sacrifice our retirement and our healthcare continues virtually unquestioned.

The so-called responsible "balanced" recipe is supposedly to take a dash of Obama, a handful of Boehner, and a cup of Teaparty. It is fairly obvious that Boehner is angling to get the rate increases cut in half (or so) for the disgustingly rich. Then take a hunk of "entitlements" away from people or redirect it to banks and insurance companies. Sorry, Mr. Speaker. You had your chance two years ago when you won. You lost this time, and the President (should) dictates the ground rules.

The recipe goes something like this. A pound(ing) of Elizabeth Warren, 2 cups (Dolly Parton size) of Progressive, and a dash of Simpson Bowles just for a touch of balance.
+22 # chrisconnolly 2012-11-30 16:04
Yes, call our republican representatives out on this. Obama is asking the we the people show that we are pissed and want some real representation, not this phony rip rap coming out of the monied right wing. They are afraid that they might have to pay a few more thousands of dollars out of their hundreds of millions to cover their fare share of democracy. Make 'em pay and show some true patriotism.
+25 # Lanesvillain 2012-11-30 16:27
Not to mention:
The global super elite hides more money each year in tax havens than the combined GDP of the USA and Japan, says a new report by the Tax Justice Network With the help of financial leaders like Credit Suisse, UBS and Goldman Sachs, anywhere between 21 Trillion Dollars is hidden--enough cash, if taxed or accruing interest, to eradicate abject poverty and provide education, clean water and healthcare to every man, woman and child on earth.
+9 # fhunter 2012-11-30 19:13
In his first term, President Obama did not understand that PLUTOCRACY is the greatest danger this country is facing. He had the perfect chance to stop it, but he was not up to it. Will he do better in his 2nd term? There is no evidence to believe it.
+3 # aaheart 2012-11-30 19:55
Assets that are unclaimed by citizens increase the Federal National debt. Almost all homebuyers think that they owe a debt, but in reality the debt is owed to them. Do your country a favor by redeeming the debt that is owed to you and reduce the debt of the Federal Government. How?

When you get a loan from a bank it will paid off almost immediately by your promissory note which is normally sold as a security before the ink is dry. You should have no payments at all, not even one payment, because the sale of your note pays off your promissory note in full.

You signed the promissory note and by indorsing your note, the bank changed it into a security that can be sold or used as collateral for loans.

You borrow from a bank, the bank borrows from the Federal Reserve, and the Federal Reserve borrows from the United States Treasury. Assets generated from the sale of the security, the promissory note, belong to the borrower / grantor / obligor / trustor / creator of the trust deed investment. That's YOU. The funds are held in a custodial account for you.

You thought the promissory note was a debt, right? You thought it would be necessary to fulfill the obligation to repay…but that isn’t really what the note is about. The promissory note can be converted to debt money just like a Federal Reserve Note and it can be bought and sold as though it were an asset. And becomes national debt owed to you. Do us all a big favor and redeem the debt owed to you.
+12 # Bruce Gruber 2012-11-30 20:09
Hear ye! Hear ye! (again)
Make defense a fee instead of the 16-25% of our income tax dollar. Charge the FEE on the 'assets' that are being 'defended' against enemies - at home and abroad.

IF the capital value of the USA is $188 Trllion ( and IF the budget for defense is $0.9 Trillion ( then the FEE we should pay (FLAT FEE, to be sure, Teapartiers) would be .9/188, or less than 1/2 of 1% of the value of our defended assets. If a family owned a $70,000 house, two $10,000 cars and household goods worth $10,000 they would pay a fee of $500 for defense instead of 16-25% of their present INCOME tax to support the defense of Mitt's offshore accounts, numerous houses, stock portfoio and whatnot ... or Disney's trillions of dollars worth of theme parks, movies, media outlets and defense subsidiaries.

I think the math is right, if somewhat simple. It shows the middle class is paying to protect the 1%'s STUFF while losing humane benefits from the government THAT IS US.
+8 # Bruce Gruber 2012-11-30 20:33
Oh, yeah!
AND while being maced, pepper sprayed, threatened with 'enemy' detention and derided by THEIR purchased politicians as enemies of America ... Right!!!
+12 # Rick Levy 2012-11-30 21:00
As Pierce all to clearly articulates, just because the rethouglicans no longer control the Senate or the Presidency doesn't mean that the 1% can't continue to inflict damage on the 99%, especially to those of us living on earned benefits.

Of course, this has been obvious for sometime but the way Pierce presents the picture, it just makes me furious to think that our social security could be so cavalierly jeopardized.
+4 # 2012-11-30 23:30
Of course he's right "We need government more than ever to protect us and our political commonwealth from a rapacious business and financial elite that sees the country as something to be pillaged, and that doesn't have the basic patriotism that god gave the common sea slug. These people have no more business directing the politics of the country than does your drunk uncle who watches Fox News."

China has the message of money made round to go round & replace burden of Barter re-freighting coffins to bakers for bread etc.

You need a De-automation law or an unindustrial revolution and get back to domestic consumption of what you production ius. The Junbgle monkeys have now learned you were exporting trouble to their disposable income wallet. DSo you sell them the technology to automate and copy you. Now you cry you can't sell your overproduction so you bugger Trade law WTO-TPP what next? Just stop the rich from mecanising fuel shortage and unemployment, to export trouble to others. QED.
+2 # 2012-11-30 23:38
QED means Quad Errat Democracy.Stop exporting trouble just to underemploy and overuse fossil fuels for Republican greedy gains. Put Romney's 47% back to work, to reduce fuel shortages and costs, let others do the same PRC is now to stop lending to USA so added debt can buy more from them to re-boost the coffers to buy more of USA debt. Now they will put that $$$ to work in high employment infrastructure and consume more of what they produce by giving theirn peasant not Unemployment but fair pay to create consumer disposable income to buy their own product.

Remember that was the barter life before mjoney coffins sold to baker for bread and baker swapped coffins for rice and so on till all balanced and no body needed high finance and selling debt amonbg crooked Bankers, who are going to jail at last in the smarter nations.
+8 # kalpal 2012-12-01 11:11
Is there any reason why the rich should not continue to exploit and abuse the poorly educated fools who believe them?

I came to this country 50 years ago and was amazed to learn that America was not all that hot on educating its young future workers.
+7 # Skyelav 2012-12-01 12:04
The most and biggest laugh I have had in months. Thank you. Problem is the natural human tendency to greed and sloth is what got the country where it is today. We just sat around like a frog in hot water, and let Nixon, Reagan, Bush, and Bush jr, not to mention our own Bill CLinton! create a wealthy majority which now owns our political system, banks, treasury i.e. and media. Oh boy. Now what?
+1 # dovelane1 2012-12-02 05:19
There is a theory in psychology titled "learned helplessness." Basically it means that people never learned how to be assertive. Mostly they learned to be passive until the anger builds up, then they get aggressive.

Has anyone besides me ever wondered what this culture would be like if we started teaching assertiveness skills in grade school, and continued all the way through high school?

Authoritarians (and the 1%) probably wouldn't like it because too many probing questions would be asked, and too many egos would be threatened.

It might be messy in the short run, but in the long run, wouldn't we all be better off?
-1 # aaheart 2012-12-03 03:05
I've commented on one primary, effective way to practice assertiveness.. .without aggression. Learn how to transact in commerce using knowledge of how the commercial system actually works, not the way it is usually taught in every school and university, by our parents, relatives, teachers, preachers, friends, acquaintances, TV, movies...

99.9% of the people have no clue that when you sign a promissory note, whether for a business loan, home loan, auto loan...any kind of bank loan, your signature makes it possible for the bank to create a security that can be sold. The proceeds from that sale are supposed to pay off the loan and the deed of trust reconveyed to your own trust account.

Don't have one? Well, that's part of being assertive! The surplus is supposed to go into another trust account. You probably didn't have that ready either.

So the bank just quietly put it into a custodial trust for you because you have shown you weren't ready to do business competently. You weren't assertive enough to learn how it is supposed to be done got fooled into thinking that you were supposed to pay back the interest...perh aps for 30 years.

Hope I didn't threaten too many egos...but then egos demonstrate incompetence, too.
+9 # Ray49 2012-12-01 13:05
Excellent article. It is a tragedy that Rs and Ds seem to accept the need to frame this as a quid pro quo--revenue must accompany "entitlement" cuts. All totally untrue.Obama please do not buy into the con men
+7 # Lanesvillain 2012-12-01 22:30
Please?! Obama?..Puh-lee eze!! Since Roosevelt got us the NEW DEAL, the Repugs have vehemently dedicated themselves to offing it--ROOT AND BRANCH. Unfortunately, Dems have caved on it and betrayed their own best instincts and accomplishments ! Shame!! IT WAS, IS, AND SHOULD BE THE BASIS FOR THE FAIREST AND MOST PROGRESSIVE LEGISLATION EVER ENVISIONED FOR US(A)!
+3 # Skyelav 2012-12-02 09:14
to dovelane1:Yes, assertion is a good skill but the real problem (or the egg vs the chicken in any case) is the lack of parentiing skills learned or taught. Children raising children is an accepted norm here and the results are evident. Maybe we should put brilliant dog trainer, Caesar Milan in charge of training people to be good parents, not to make light of a troublesome situation.

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