Top CEOs from 80 large companies across a variety of industries have joined the push for a grand bargain deal that could happen during the lame duck session. In a statement organized by the well-funded Fix the Debt campaign, the CEO’s called for a bipartisan deal to reduce deficit the by increasing revenue and cutting spending.
The statement comes only a week after the biggest executives on Wall Street sent a letter to Congress expressing a similar sentiment, but this new statement is more explicit in what the CEO’s are really after from a deal. Mainly they want to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid so they can have lower tax rates while increasing the number of lower income Americans paying federal taxes. From the statement in the Wall Street Journal.
Reform Medicare and Medicaid, improve efficiency in the overall health care system and limit future cost growth;
Strengthen Social Security, so that it is solvent and will be there for future beneficiaries; and
Include comprehensive and pro-growth tax reform, which broadens the base, lowers rates, raises revenues and reduces the deficit.
President Obama has not only rhetorically left himself room to pursue just such an agenda, but he told the Des Moines Register that getting a deficit deal is his top goal for his second term.
The amount of money, energy and political capital lining up to push for cutting entitlements after the election is remarkable. The best hope is that House Republican intransigence on tax increases and a revolt by a few Senate Democrats will kill any deal, but when so many CEOs actively lobby for an issue in Washington they rarely fail.
Individuals who have for years wanted to cut the social safety net now see the fake crisis of the “fiscal cliff” as their best opportunity in years. They are preparing to go all out to get Social Security and Medicare benefits cut in the coming months.