Rich Eskow is one of my favorite progressive voices, and you should go read the whole thing:
President Obama and Vice President Biden both gave powerful speeches this evening, summoning the ideal of an inclusive nation and effectively distinguishing their mainstream American views from their opponents’ radical right-wing vision. The only real false notes were the passages in which they both embraced a right-wing set of proposals known as “Simpson Bowles.”
That means they were embracing a plan which would cut Social Security benefits and raise its retirement age. It also means they were embracing the ideology of a small network of well-funded individuals who are determined to take our country down the austerity path that is destroying Europe – and who may be personally antagonistic toward the President as well.
“Now,” said the President, “I’m still eager to reach an agreement based on the principles of my bipartisan debt commission.” Vice President Biden said of their opponents, “they rejected every plan put forward by us, by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles Commission they referenced or by any other respected group.”
But that commission offered neither “principles” nor a “plan” — in part because Republicans like Paul Ryan wouldn’t raise taxes of any kind, but also because some liberals on the commission refused to go along with its proposed cuts to Social Security and Medicare. As a result, it never agreed on any recommendations.
The President and Vice President are actually referring to private proposals put forward by Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, the co-chairs of that deadlocked group. Those proposals would cut Social Security through a variety of means, would cap the Medicare budget (which is effectively the same as cutting it), and — once you cut through all the doubletalk — would actually cut tax rates for corporations and the wealthiest Americans, while raising them dramatically for everyone else.
Simpson is a former Republican senator, while Bowles is an ex-Democratic staffer and Morgan Stanley director. Both are longtime allies of conservative hedge fund billionaire and former Nixon Cabinet member Pete Peterson, a long-time adversary of Social Security, Medicare and government’s rightful role in our society. Peterson-funded organizations provided staffers, as well as ideological guidance, to the Simpson Bowles Commission.
Those staffers worked under the direction of David Walker, who was CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation until he left to lead an affiliated Peterson organization called the Comeback America Initiative. Who is David Walker? He’s a former Comptroller General of the United States, a longtime Peterson operative and a featured figure in the rabidly anti-Obama film just released by Dinesh D’Souza, the far-right apparatchik whose attack book against the President was hilariously entitledThe Roots of Obama’s Rage.
Go read it all. Really.