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Villariagosa Partners With Wall Street To Throw Californians Off The "Fiscal Cliff"

by: Marta Evry

Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 10:02:52 AM PST

The last time Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa made national headlines he looked like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming semi as the Democratic National Convention he chaired descended into chaos.

This time he's making national headlines for joining the steering committee of "Fix the Debt", a high-profile lobbying group whose "core principles" include keeping tax rates low for the wealthy while slashing Social Security and Medicare. Founded by deficit hawks Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson (co-chairs of Erksine/Bowles 2010 deficit-reduction commission) the Campaign to Fix the Debt claims to be a "bipartisan" interest group, and is trying to influence ongoing fiscal cliff budget negotiations taking place in Washington D.C.right now.

"If we're serious about long-term economic growth, we need a balanced approach for reducing the federal debt," said Villaraigosa in a press release. "That approach should include spending cuts, raising revenue and reforms that put our entitlement programs on a sustainable footing. The Campaign to Fix the Debt is dedicated to reminding all Americans that we can't reduce the debt and create the conditions for long-term job creation without working across party lines to find practical solutions."

If you want to know what some of those "practical solutions" Villaraigosa will be lobbying for might look like, follow the money. Fix The Debt's $42 million war-chest is funded almost exclusively by Big Business CEO's notorious for underfunding their employee's pension plans, Wall Street executives who support privatizing Social Security, and virulent anti-tax lobbyists.

"These CEOs paint a stark picture of hypocrisy," said Scott Klinger of the Institute for Policy Studies, who co-authored a report which called Fix the Debt a 'Trojan Horse for massive corporate tax breaks'.

"They're simply taking advantage of the so-called 'fiscal cliff' to push the same old agenda of more corporate tax breaks while shifting costs onto the poor and elderly."

Klinger's report paints a stark picture of what Villaraigosa has signed up to defend:

  • ´╗┐Make permanent the Bush tax cuts for the top 2%.
  • Cut corporate tax rates and shifting to a "territorial tax system" that would permanently exempt from U.S. taxes all offshore income earned by U.S. corporations.
  • "Reforming" earned-benefit programs by raising the retirement age and means-testing Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security benefits.

The politically ambitious Villaraigosa is termed out of office in 2013, and is no doubt fishing around for his next gig.  With limited options in California, perhaps he thinks The Campaign to Fix the Debt will burnish his national profile and launch him into a cabinet position with the Obama administration.

Perhaps. But by signing on as a progressive "beard" for corporate interests, he'll be on the wrong side of this fight in the eyes of the coalition of working Angelenos, public sector unions, and progressive organizations fighting for economic justice who've traditionally backed Villaraigosa.

"Fix the Debt is a creature of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and the Wall Street Engineers of the the economic crisis we elected Barack Obama to get us out of, " said Rick Jacobs,  founder of the California Courage Campaign. "I hope the President will pay attention to the voters and not those who put us into this mess."

Marta Evry :: Villariagosa Partners With Wall Street To Throw Californians Off The "Fiscal Cliff"
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Villaraigosa (8.00 / 1)
Didn't he cheat on his wife, too ??

Sounds like the 'Bill Clinton Syndrome'
Cheat on your wife, Cheat on the voters
Work for Big Business and call yourself a 'New Democrat'

If Mayor Villaraigosa gets (0.00 / 0)
Involved with that shady bunch, He should be toast in the Democratic party, if He participates, as I sure won't for any Democrat that is involved with that group...

[ Parent ]
Sleazy (8.00 / 1)
The program outlined does seem pretty Sleazy
Keep corporations and the rich from paying taxes
Let everyone lese pay the bill

Weren't those the guys that got bailed out by W and Obama after they ripped us off ??
Look and see who Obama's biggest contributors were in 2008
.........  Wall Street !!

New Democrats  

[ Parent ]
A corporate view (0.00 / 0)
You know, these guys always say that corporate tax cuts will help small businesses create jobs. It's a lie. I own a small business--not the first either. And it's incorporated.

Tax rates make so little difference to me and to how I run my business that I often don't even know when they've changed.

I'll tell you who it makes a difference to--really, really big corporations. You see, a change in the corporate tax rate might cost me a few hundred dollars because my business is small and doesn't make that much. But a few percentage points for big multinational corporations that make billions can be a big deal. That's why they hire all those smart tax lawyers who get them out of paying any taxes at all and even get them tax credits. Because, if they paid taxes at the same rate I do, we'd be talking millions.

The thing is, they used to. I don't know if state taxes are the same, but when Ike was president, corporate taxes accounted for 70% of federal tax revenues. Now it's 30%. Personal taxes used to be 30%. Now they're 70%. So, when pay is stagnant and unemployment is high--and the biggest, most profitable corporations pay nothing--tax revenues drop and the deficit goes up.

If anybody really wants to help small businesses, I'll tell you what they should do. Create jobs. Anyway they can.

Build bridges. Fix roads. Hire teachers. Fund orchestras. It doesn't matter. But if more people had jobs, if fewer corporations sent jobs overseas, if the jobs we had here paid better, that would do more for small businesses than any tax change. Because those people with good jobs spend money. My clients sell more stuff, and they need my services. Not because of lower taxes. But because of higher wages and employment.

Anybody who tells you anything different is lying. Even if it's the mayor of L.A.

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