There is a glitzy high dollar campaign running now featuring a spoof presidential candidate “Hugh Jidette,” A play on the words “Huge Debt.” The thrust of the campaign is to draw attention to the mounting national deficit and to then offer “solutions” to the impending crises. It all looks and sounds really good… on the surface. But upon closer inspection, the message which seems tailored to the current tea party angst that recently swept many long time progressives from office (including establishment liberal republicans in the primaries).
You can see their videos here:
The “owe no” campaign featuring Hugh Jidette is NOT a conservative campaign. It is not a “tea party” campaign. It is new, quasi-conservative rhetoric surrounding an old-fashioned false-face defense of both old progressive programs, and the recently enacted ObamaCare legislation. Its purported solutions will do nothing to decrease either the deficit or the size and scope of the federal government. Hence, it will also do nothing to decrease the size of the federal budget.
Update 11-23-2010: OweNo is a project of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. The Peter G. Peterson Foundation is chaired by its namesake, who happens to be chairman emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, or CFR for short. The CFR is a powerful thinktank that advocates internationalist and progressive causes, which are often intertwined. The Owe No campaign has been designed by the progressive Peter G. Peterson to direct Tea Party energy towards actually supporting the very things the Tea Party Movement is against.
The way the “Solutions” section is organized reveals the progressive nature of the “Owe No” campaign, which sees only four sections to the federal budget: Defense, HealthCare, Social Security, and “other.”
Here is what OweNo says about defense:
America’s military is the strongest fighting force in the world. And it should be since the United States spends more on defense than the next 14 countries, combined. We can develop a defense budget that protects our nation against our most important threats in an affordable way. Reviewing our priorities and making responsible choices can generate significant savings, while also maintaining national security and an important role for the U.S. in the world. An over-bloated defense program that adds to our debt burdens and hurts our economic future is certainly not good for national security.
Possible changes to our defense budget include: eliminating costly weapons systems, reducing troop deployments overseas, lowering the number of nuclear weapons, and reforming military pay and benefits.
While there is clearly value in reducing foreign commitments, There is no value in eliminate weapons or reducing America’s arsenal. The destruction of, or forfeiture to international control of America’s nuclear arsenal is ironically, something that Communists have pursued for decades. Further, is the pay for the men and women who serve us with their lives really the place to start cutting the debt? It is if you desire a weak US and demoralized army, something that progressives desire, as they would much rather see an empowered UN serving as the ultimate Big Brother with full power to regulate and tax and control nations, communities and individuals. The CFR supports global government as built on efforts to curtail carbon, as well as the accompanying redistribution of US wealth to other countries. Given the source of the Owe No, campaign, it can be expected that it will not take a constitutional conservative position on domestic issues either and, as it turns out, it doesn’t.
Here is what they say about Healthcare. It is interesting how similar some of it is to Obama’s rhetoric and how they ignore the elephant in the room, that is the federal government paying for healthcare:
Healthcare represents 44% of projected federal spending by 2040, and is the largest and fastest growing fiscal challenge. The federal government spends money on healthcare through various programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and insurance for government employees.
The U.S. spends twice as much per person on health care than most other countries, but our results are no better. The rapid growth in healthcare costs has placed a huge burden on families, businesses and the federal government. If we don’t take action soon to change these trends, health care costs will lead to more and more borrowing and leave fewer resources for our economy and our daily lives.
In order to address this important component of our fiscal challenge, we need to lower healthcare spending, and particularly to slow the growth in these costs. However, we all want to maintain high quality care for Americans and avoid making changes that would result in poorer health. Therefore, we need to get more “value for our money” in healthcare — spending less, while achieving better health. Options to consider include: developing best practices, promoting wellness, reforming the payment system (so that it rewards good patient outcomes rather than simply tests and services), reforming medical malpractice laws, and using technology to improve efficiency.
Our results are no better? Is that why Canadians come here to get treatment? They don’t even take issue with the federal government choosing what constitutes “best practices” and “promoting wellness” and seizing control and telling doctors and hospitals what they MUST charge? You will notice also, that they have no problem at all with “Obamacare.” In fact, they recognize healthcare as a federal responsibility:
As a nation, we need to work together to make this system more efficient, so that we can put America on a better path, both fiscally and for our health. There are many ways that we can make our healthcare system more efficient and effective. SOURCE
They even lift Obamacare’s “patient outcomes” payment method, where the number of tests and procedures doesn’t matter, but only vaguely defined “outcomes.” How can this result in anything but less tests and procedures being done? Notice also how they talk as if “the healthcare system” is a single entity that is to fall under the control of the federal government.
Adopting better ways to organize the healthcare system, so that doctors and hospitals are helping to lower costs. For example, paying hospitals based on good patient outcomes rather than the number of tests and procedures and encouraging integrated groups of providers who can better coordinate care at a lower cost . SOURCE
Here is what they say about Social Security:
Social Security is an important program that is part of the fabric of the America. We must ensure that Social Security is available for future generations. Without reform, Social Security’s shortfall will grow larger and larger until the program will simply be unable to pay full benefits to future retirees. By acting sooner rather than later, needed reforms can be phased in more gradually, giving people time to plan for retirement years. Reforms can also be implemented in ways that protect the most vulnerable. Options to address these shortfalls include: raising the retirement age gradually, reducing the automatic growth in benefit payments, and increasing the amounts collected from workers.
Real world translation: You will pay more and wait longer to get less, INCREASING YOUR SS TAX! Please pass this on and let people know this “Owe No” campaign is BOGUS. It is progressivism sprinkled with conserva-speak. If there was any grain of conservatism in this, they would put a ‘phased withdraw from Social (in)security on the table and let people take back their own money and prepare for their own retirement. Protecting the most vulnerable means that some will pay in more and get fewer “benefits,” that is, less of their own money back. In other words, Obama’s wealth redistribution program. Social Security is an unjust program that robs people and provides meager return. A phased withdraw from forced retirement programs would be the best course of action. Falling somewhere in between would be the transformation of Social Security into actual private accounts that you could track and pass on to your children or spouse or whomever your will designates WITHOUT restriction or limitation.
Here is what they say about the “other 21 percent” of the federal budget. (As if this is insignificant).
Making changes to defense, healthcare and Social Security will help us reduce our debt and also leave money to fund other critical responsibilities and make important investments in our future. But there are also opportunities to save money in the remaining 21% of government spending, which includes things such as agriculture, transportation, homeland security, education, unemployment benefits, national parks, international relations, and the operations of government. All of these areas need to be reviewed so that we can find savings and reduce wasteful and ineffective activities.
Things like FEDERAL funding of education, unemployment benefits, international relations (foreign aid?) need to be seriously debated and then not just reduce waste or eliminate “ineffective activities” but completely eliminate ALL unconstitutional funding and programs from ALL areas of the federal government.
Then if you still think “Owe No” might be serious about fiscal conservatism and constitutional government, they also support energy taxes, IE cap and trade!
Options to consider include: making our tax system less complicated, increasing rates for individuals and/or corporations, eliminating or scaling back tax deductions, introducing new taxes (for example on energy or consumption); reducing corporate taxes and replacing them with others, improving tax collection and prosecuting tax cheats.
Source of quotes (unless otherwise noted in article):
The Peter G Peterson Foundation (PGPF) is the money behind the OweNo Campaign, and here is an interesting exert from their official press release:
PGPF also works to raise awareness and inspire citizens across the nation to engage on the development of solutions to the growing fiscal challenges that threaten the long-term future of our nation, through initiatives such as the critically acclaimed film “I.O.U.S.A.”, the “Indebted” campaign in conjunction with MTV, a grant to Columbia University to create a national curriculum on fiscal issues, and a “Fiscal Wake Up Tour” with The Concord Coalition. Additionally, the Foundation engages in policy research in areas such as healthcare payment and delivery reform.
Have you ever known MTV to be involved with anything beyond “progressive” politics?
The Concord Coalition likes Obamacare’s special tax on good healthcare plans, and seems to generally like Obamacare, even offering their subtle suggestions for “improving” this onerous government intrusion. Link (scroll to end of article for their suggestions). Notice throughout the article a general lack of concern about the Constitutionality of the law, and their naive faith that the law is as its strongest proponents suggested it was.
Some quotes from the Concord Coalition’s website:
The most obvious benefit of either bill is that they would expand health insurance coverage to almost all Americans. According to CBO estimates, the House bill would expand coverage from 83 percent of the legal nonelderly population in 2010 to 96 percent by 2015. The Senate version would expand such coverage to 94 percent by 2016.
The revenue package in the Senate bill holds more promise to reduce the deficit than the House version because the Senate bill’s largest component — the excise tax on high-cost insurance plans – will better keep pace with the growth rate of health care spending, and will also work to lower health care costs.
A tax base that includes health spending. Taxes on this base allow revenues to grow at approximately the same rate as expenses. Taxing employer-provided health benefits (which are now exempt from the federal income tax) is one example of a revenue source that will keep pace with the costs of health care. As an added benefit, such taxes further the reform goal of letting consumers see a truer price of health care — thus working to hold down spending.
Taxes not limited to a very narrow segment of the population. Limiting tax increases to only the very richest households means that marginal tax rates on such households would likely rise substantially compared with a tax increase levied on the broader population. Not only does this increase any adverse effects of the tax on economic incentives, but it raises a potential political challenge as one small segment of the population is asked to pay for the benefits that go largely to others. Broadly based tax increases, even if they remain progressive, spread the notion that all must contribute something for government benefits — imposing an important breaker against “free lunch” spending giveaways.
The OweNo campaign is a progressive trojan horse that is not aligned with constitutional authority. It should NOT be supported by any Constitution and freedom loving conservative. Please share this article with others and tell them to “Just say NO!” To Owe No and their false fiscal conservatism.
http://oweno.com/solutions/ data pulled 11-16-2010.