Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Backlash Against Villaraigosa and "Fix The Debt" Reaches Critical Mass

After "Venice For Change" broke the story that "progressive" Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa would be joining the Campaign to 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 - backlash over Villaraigosa's involvement seems to be reaching the boiling point.

In less than 24 hours, over 5,000 Angelenos have signed on to a petition begun by a former Villaraigosa campaign volunteer demanding he resign.

"As somebody who volunteered and knocked on doors to help elect for Mayor Villaraigosa, I feel disappointed and betrayed, " states Angela Garcia Combs in the petition. "As former chair of the Democratic National Convention, it is inappropriate that Villaraigosa use his position to help this corporate backed group gut Social Security and Medicare, which many of us will need someday."

(You can sign the petition here.)

The Institute for Policy Studies has called Fix the Debt a 'Trojan Horse for massive corporate tax breaks'.  Scott Klinger, who wrote the IPS report critical of the lobby group said, "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."

The LA Weekly immediately picked up on Villaraigosa's hypocrisy when they ran with the story yesterday afternoon.
Set aside for the moment the balls required for Villaraigosa to pretend to be a deficit hawk. His handling of L.A.'s municipal finances is a matter of record.

Let's instead look more closely at the "balanced approach" advocated by Fix the Debt, especially its "pro-growth" tax reform ideas. What counts as "pro-growth"? Well, any reform that "broadens the base, lowers rates, raises revenues, and reduces the deficit."

Wait wait wait, go back. Lowers rates? Is this a deficit-cutting plan or a tax-cutting plan? Let's turn it over to Paul Krugman
That last part makes no sense in terms of the group's ostensible mission, but makes perfect sense if you look at the array of big corporations, from Goldman Sachs to the UnitedHealth Group, that are involved in the effort and would benefit from tax cuts. Hey, sacrifice is for the little people.

In the same vein, Matt Yglesias argues at Slate that Fix the Debt is not really that concerned about fixing the debt: "What they believe in, instead, is the overwhelming importance of rate-cutting tax reform and reduced spending on retirement programs."

You'd think that Antonio Villaraigosa, an ostensible liberal, would want to pay attention to those voices. Evidently not.

Perhaps he will if we all shout a bit louder.  Click on this link to sign the petition

No comments:

Post a Comment