Billionaire Launches Campaign to Slash Social Security

Why does a billionaire want to take away your Social Security benefits?

Peter Peterson is 84 years old. He's old enough to relax and enjoy
the fruits of the years he was well paid for managing other rich
people's money. Why is he spending his fortune to convince politicians
they should ruin the average guy's retirement?

Today Peterson announced the next facet in his long campaign to hack
Social Security, including a joke Presidential candidate named Hugh
Jidette ("huge debt") and a website called Owe No. His aim is to
convince Congress to raise the retirement age, cut Social Security's
cost-of-living increases-and raise the payroll taxes we pay for Social
Security and Medicare.

It wouldn't matter what one cranky octogenarian billionaire had to
say if he weren't putting $6 million into ads, funding "expert"
commissions, and spreading lies designed to panic the populace.

Maybe Peterson figures offense is better than defense-he's got a lot
to defend. He made his fortune as a hedge fund manager-that is, moving
money around-so he ought to be living in fear. Someone might get the
idea he and his buddies would be good folks to tax. It's like Willie
Sutton, the famous bank robber, once said. Asked why he robbed banks,
Sutton replied, "Because that's where the money is."

Peterson and pals are the ones George Bush gifted with big tax breaks
that are set to expire December 31. Although he says his top priority
is reducing the deficit, Peterson doesn't want to cut that deficit by
putting his own taxes back where they were in the 1990s.

It's hard to get your head around how rich Peterson is, and how many
rich people there are in this country. But here's how to put their money
in perspective, in relation to Social Security. If Congress decides to
extend those tax cuts, for households making $250,000 or more (the top 2
percent of earners), the money the Treasury will lose would be enough
to put Social Security in the black for 75 years--and raise benefits by 2

First They Took Your House

Meanwhile, we have a big chunk of near-retirees today who have barely
seen their wages rise at all during their working lifetimes, the last
30 years. They couldn't save a huge amount; what they saved they had in
home equity. And that was wiped away by the financial shenanigans of
Peter Peterson and his ilk. There are millions of potential retirees who
will have next to nothing except Social Security if they're ever able
to retire. It wasn't enough for Wall Street to rob us of our houses'
worth and what we had in 401(k)s. Now they want to take Social Security

Like I said, I don't understand it. Is there no shuffleboard court where this man could spend his golden years?

A friend wrote to me today. He's working his butt off to keep
Congress from raising the retirement age and cut back Medicare. He said:

My mother was an LPN in a nursing home. The last few years that
she worked, her back and legs ached so much that she literally had to
crawl up the stairs to her bedroom at night. If someone told her that
she would have to work three more years before retirement because hedge
fund managers don't want to pay the same percentage of their income
towards Social Security as she did, she would tell you what to do.

A slew of organizations is organizing a Call-In Day to Congress November 30. That's the day before President Obama's deficit commission
is set to release its recommendations for raising the retirement age.
They're saying "Owe No You Don't"-the goal is to create a groundswell of
outrage that will make the recommendations dead on arrival. Find out
more at and see Labor Notes' package of fact sheets and info.