Chip in $3


Stand with over
 a million progressives


CNBC Mentioned ‘Simpson Bowles’ 3 Times As Much As It Mentioned ‘Poverty’ Over Last Month

The corporate lobbyists who want to pass the Simpson Bowles plan to lower the corporate tax rate and cut Social Security and Medicare benefits have far too many allies in Washington. But they also have found a powerful ally on TV: the network CNBC.

The station has given repeated positive coverage to the plan, and frequently features corporate CEOs to praise its features. Here’s one measure of just how skewed CNBC’s priorities have become.

I ran a media search on the term “poverty” during all of CNBC’s coverage during the past month. The term was mentioned 31 times, often in the context of international poverty (for example, talking about Mexico’s drug war). I then searched for “Simpson Bowles.” It was mentioned a whopping 116 times — almost 3 times as often.

CNBC is even more tilted than the traditionally right-wing Fox News. On Fox, Simpson Bowles was mentioned 59 times, and poverty was mentioned 100 times over the same period.

Out of all major cable news networks, MSNBC did the best in balancing out mentions of Simpson Bowles (70) with mentions of poverty (124). CNN had 72 mentions of the former and 111 of the latter.

Recall that CNBC stands for “Consumer News and Business Channel.” With its embrace of Simpson Bowles and its downplaying of the concerns of ordinary consumers — like poverty — it is failing to live up to its title, and is slowly simply becoming a channel of Big Business.


‘Fix The Debt’ Campaign Hires Lobbying Firms That Work For Corporations Bilking Taxpayers

A screenshot of the Fix the Debt campaign’s logo.

The so-called “Fix The Debt” campaign is trying to enact the Bowles-Simpson plan to cut Social Security benefits while lowering the corporate tax rate. Even though Social Security doesn’t add anything to the deficit, these austerity hawks say they support this plan in order to battle U.S. debt.

But if this group is just so passionately concerned with the debt, why did it hire public relations and lobbying firms that work for corporations who bilk U.S. taxpayers out of billions? Here’s a rundown of some of the firms the group has hired:

DCI Group: This D.C.-based lobbying shop has had clients that include Microsoft — which has dodged billions in taxes by shifting assets overseas — and Exxon Mobil, which benefits from $600 million in annual special tax breaks.
Glover Park Group: Glover Park offers its services to JP Morgan Chase, which received $94.7 billion as part of the federal government’s bank bailouts. Glover Park also works for the American Bankers Association, which represents bailed-out banks, and defense contractor giant Lockheed Martin. UnitedHealthCare — which fights for its unnecessary share of federal dollars spent on health care — A�is another Glover client.
Dewey Square Group: Dewey Square Group has worked for the bailed-out bank Bank of America and various biotech firms that net government contracts.
Burson-Marsteller (B-M):A�The force behind Fix The Debt’s “Got Debt” ad campaign, B-M does not publicly disclose its public relations clients, but various trade industry media has reported that its clients include the war profiteer Blackwater USA and numerous other corporations that get rich off of taxpayers.

Keep in mind that this is a small summary of some of the clients …

Jon Tester Won Montana Senate Race By Pledging To Expand Social Security, Medicare Benefits

Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT)

As we wrote recently, many of the most fervent advocates for the Bowles-Simpson plan to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits while lowering corporate taxes lost their races.

There has been some debate about the case of Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), who had spoken favorably of the Bowles-Simpson plan in the past. But while Tester did offer some positive remarks about the plan, it’s important to remember that he explicitly rejected the plan’s call for cuts to Social Security — which are widely seen as the plan’s centerpiece. Here’s an article from the Missoulian from October 21st showing this:

While Tester has said the Simpson-Bowles plan is a good starting point on how to reduce the federal deficit, he never supported its Social Security proposals, campaign spokesman Aaron Murphy said last week.

a�?Cutting the debt and deficit will be about priorities, and Jon believes cutting the safety net from seniors is not what we should be discussing,a�? Murphy said.

Additionally, his campaign website specifically called for the need to “expand” benefits in the Social Security and Medicare programs — which goes well beyond the normal “protecting” nomenclature:A�

In fact, during an August town hall meeting, Tester said he “doesn’t support cuts to Social Security and Medicare,” a fact he prominently displayed on his Senate website.

Perhaps this is why Tester did not receive the direct backing of Alan Simpson or Erskine Bowles.


Why Is Helping Bankers Cut Your Social Security?

When was founded in 2007, it was engineered to be a platform for the voiceless to quickly organize for a cause and win battles for progressive change. Indeed, the organization has helped people stop foreclosures of their homes, and has been involved in much positive change.

But it fell under controversy recently when it was revealed that it would start allowing corporate, Republican, and other organizations and causes to use its list-building tools. It is a for-profit corporation and these sources would allow it to expand its revenue stream.

The so-called a�?Campaign To Fix The Debta�? is using tools to get members and build its e-mail list. Recall that the Campaign To Fix The Debt is a groupA�run by corporate CEOs and bankers that is trying to cut Social Security and lower corporate tax rates.

The group is running a petition on Change’s site calling on Congress to endorse the Bowles-Simpson plan to cut Social Security and corporate taxes. In the three months the petition has been up, it has gained 255,846 supporters.

If you go to the Campaign To Fix The Debt’s website, you’ll see that it brags of having over 300,000 signatories to its petition:

Put two and two together and you’ll see that it appears that almost the entire membership list of the Campaign To Fix The Debt comes from’s petition tool.

Progressive organizations and grassroots activists who have been utilizing should be wary about the organization’s tentative alliance with this CEO-led group that is trying to cut Social Security while lowering the corporate tax rate.

We won’t compromise our values. Sign up to join our e-mail list using the tool below this post or …

Candidates Who Backed Bowles-Simpson Plan To Cut Social Security Went Down In Flames

Alan Simpson, author of a plan to cut Social Security

It’s conventional wisdom among elites in Washington and Wall Street that Social Security must be cut. The American people don’t agree.

That’s why a long string of lawmakers who supported the Bowles-Simpson plan — which would slash Social Security and Medicare benefits while lowering corporate taxes — went down in flames last night.

In fact, almost every candidate who was personally endorsed by the authors of the plan was defeated:

Charlie Bass: Bass was a strong supporter of the Bowles-Simpson plan, and the plan’s authors even personally endorsed him. He was defeated last night by bold progressive Annie Kuster.
Bob Kerrey: Kerrey, a Democrat, endorsed the Bowles-Simpson plan and got their endorsement in return. But promising to cut Social Security did not mobilize voters on his behalf, and he lost to his Republican opponent.
Brendan Doherty: Rhode Island Republican Brian Doherty — who proudly touted his support for the Bowles-Simpson plan and his endorsement by the plans’ authors — lost to David Cicilline.

The election results of last night should serve as a warning to both Democrats and Republicans alike: Americans treasure their social insurance programs such as Medicare and Social Security, and they do not want any candidate promising to cut them.