Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson have launched a new campaign -- called "Fix The Debt" -- to get Members of Congress to support their austerity plan to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits while lowering corporate tax rates. They're even taking aim at bold progressive congressional candidates like Annie Kuster who oppose their plan.
In an article published yesterday in Bloomberg News, former Senator Judd Gregg, who is campaigning with Bowles and Simpson, promised "financial support" to lawmakers who back their Social Security-cutting plan:
“We’re trying to develop a plan that can be used by members of Congress, called ‘Simpson-Bowles plus,’ if you will,” Gregg said. “We want to combine that with grassroots help and financial support to be there for members of Congress who need political support when they make these tough decisions.”
First of all, there is no "grassroots" demand to cut Social Security and Medicare. As we revealed to you last week, Bowles and Simpson have enlisted funding from billionaires to try to create the impression of one by flooding town halls with questions about austerity. They've already raised $30 million.
But the second part of what Gregg said is more interesting. He is openly saying that his group will provide "financial support" for lawmakers who want to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits. That's a monetary incentive to Members of Congress.
And who is Gregg, exactly? Bloomberg correctly identifies him as a former senator, but doesn't note his day job. Gregg was named an "international advisor" to Goldman Sachs in early 2011, shortly after leaving the Senate (where, coincidentally, he spent his last days trying to derail financial reform legislation).
Wall Street has been targeting especially Social Security for decades, and there's no reason to think it would stop now. The "Fix The Debt" campaign does not reveal its donors, but with a $30 million war chest, it's not a stretch to imagine that Gregg has convinced his bosses at Goldman to jump on board.
So that's where we stand. The cronies of the banking industry are offering Members of Congress tons of money to cut your Social Security and Medicare.