The Blog of the Frances Perkins Center

Whose tsunami?

In Economics, Political world on April 28, 2010 at 10:54 am

Who stands to benefit if the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, Cato Institute, and other anti-social insurance think tanks continue to control the discussion about Social Security and Medicare? At a recent conference of the retirement insurance industry, all sorts of “concern” was evinced by speakers who could possibly have ulterior motives.

For example, here’s Robert Kerzner, president and CEO of LIMRA, LOMA and LL Global (LL Global is the nonprofit parent company of LIMRA and LOMA, two Conn.-based trade associations consisting of more than 1,200 insurance and financial services companies):

Clearly, the current entitlement programs are unsustainable. Americans are going to have to take more responsibility for their financial security — especially in retirement.

How convenient for Mr. Kerzner and his listeners.

Michael Tanner, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, opened the conference with this message:

The present value of our future obligations is more than $100 trillion and as the full force of entitlement programs kicks in, it will only get worse,” Tanner said to more than 350 retirement professionals. “There is no courage in Washington until someone is willing to stand up and do something.

The real courage in Washington will come from the people who dare to stand up against this onslaught and fight for the social insurance programs that are critical to so many Americans. As in the health care fight as well as the financial regulation fight, the opponents of Social Security and Medicare are extremely well funded and willing to spend huge amounts of money lobbying Congress and shaping public opinion. They are not above using scare tactics and misinformation.

They talk about the “coming entitlement tsunami.” We need to talk about the current tsunami of lobbying and PR dollars that these groups are spending to separate us from the programs we depend upon.

[Cross posted at the Virtual Summit on Fiscal & Economic Responsibility at OurFuture.org.]

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