Yesterday, in a New York Times op-ed piece, Congressman Paul Ryan proved once again he is little more than economic tote boy for the wealthy financiers of the Right. Just like his so called Path to Prosperity budget plan that was part and parcel of Republicans losing badly in the 2012 elections ,this latest ploy is carrying the water for Peter G. Peterson and his lifelong career of trying to cut and privatize Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. For those unfamiliar with Peterson, he is behind the astro-turf populist organization Fix the Debt.
He was also behind the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction committee who pretended that the greatest crisis in the history of man was the federal budget deficit and that to address this dire issue we must cut earned benefits like Social Security, even though in truth Social Security does not add one dime to the deficit.
One of the problems for both Peterson and Ryan are that they both base their dire predictions on a study by Reinhart and Rogoff titled "Growth in Time of Debt," as proof of why we must immediately embark on job destroying austerity measures here in America and how ultimately this will somehow magically produce prosperity. Reinhart and Rogoff both have ties to Peterson that pose questions of objectivity in their research and conclusions.
Reinhart, who the New York Times mistakenly touted as the most influential female economist, has been a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute and participates, as does Paul Ryan, in Peterson sponsored seminars on the economy. Rogoff is on the advisory board of Peterson Institute and Peterson bankrolled the economists book titled Decade of Debt which is based on the same flawed research as their 2010 paper.
The Right has an already known history of intellectual fraud to give self serving ideas an aura of intellectual validity starting with Milton Friedman's Chicago School of Economics that forms the economic basis for a rapacious form of Free Market Capitalism running rampant in the world and creating huge wealth disparities the world over. These false ideas have been the basis of policies economically in the U.S. and also by the IMF and World Bank for several decades as the economic rule book by which the world should play. Free Market Capitalism forms the basis for the economic suicide committed by the US since the Clinton Administration, with trade treaties such as NAFTA, CAFTA that drive back workers wages and enable outsourcing of millions of good paying jobs and creating the greatest redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the wealthiest Americans in our history.
Another irony is that Friedman believed his ideas of Capitalism and Freedom were linked and yet his ideas have only been able to take hold when governments resort to dictatorship. Some of us have speculated openly that this is behind the growth of a police state here in America and rapid erosion of the civil liberties protections of the Bill of Rights from our Constitution.
In Peterson's case, he has warned of the impending disaster of the budget deficit Friedman's economic policies largely have caused in the first place for several decades. On the other hand he said nothing about the economic crisis Wall Street perpetrated on purpose on America in 2008.
There are two studies that debunk Reinhart and Rogoff's findings, One from University of Michigan concludes, after using Reinhart and Rogoff's data, that there isn't one shard of evidence supporting their conclusions. The other, a University of Massachusetts study by Arindrajit Rube, found that in fact it is slow growth that causes increases in debt not the other way around.
As I have noted on these pages I have always believed lurking in the back ground of the shut down and debt ceiling crisis was a plan to demand cuts to Social Security using the Chained CPI as a basis for compromise and a huge part of the reason for taking America economically and politically hostage by the Right Wing Zealots in Congress. Right on cue, Congressman Paul Ryan serves up the this idea as what the Republicans would accept as a ransom payment for freeing government and paying our national debt.
The whole austerity plan is one gigantic fraud perpetrated with millions of dollars from self serving billionaires like the Koch brothers and Peter G. Peterson who have spent millions to buy our government for their own personal profit. Paul Ryan needs to be told what a famous country song told the boss to do to take this idea and well you know.