Pete Peterson, multimillionaire investor, Blackstone Group founder and ex-Commerce Department Secretary, last week launched a $20 million public relations campaign the goal of which is to convince the public that government spending is the biggest threat to the nation’s economic stability and prosperity. With a press conference at the Newseum, flanked by Senators Kent Conrad (D-North Dakota) and Evan Bayh (D-Indiana), he launched the OweNo website and TV ads to "start a discussion" about deficit reduction. The ads feature a mock, presidential candidate name "Hugh Jidette." (Say it slowly, get it?) Jidette encourages voters to "Borrow like there’s no tomorrow!" and "Let our kids pay!" The Peter G. Peterson Foundation has spent $50 million in the past two years in an anti-deficit crusade. While deficits have grown recently due to two unfunded wars and collapse of an $8 trillion dollar housing bubble, 300 economists recently signed a letter to the President arguing that this time of continuing economic crisis and high unemployment is not the time for fiscal austerity. Not surprisingly, Peterson never advocates policy prescriptions such as a tax on Wall Street derivatives trading to raise revenue. Instead he favors a pillage-and-plunder approach to critical programs that aid the middle class, including Social Security and Medicare. Peterson prescriptions will radically increase economic inequality and uncertainty -- a bitter pill for the middle class but a great relief to the Wall Street elite.
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