While Bill Clinton, John Boehner, Paul Ryan and all of the other political elites all congratulated each other on their fiscal responsibility and commitment to bipartisanship over at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s Fiscal Summit, the Huffington Post reminded us how they all got there: because Peter Peterson Spent Nearly Half a Billion in Washington Targeting Social Security, Medicare.
Between 2007 and 2011, Peter G. Peterson has contributed at least $258 million to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation to cast Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and government spending as in a state of crisis, in desperate need of dramatic cuts….
But Peterson has been able to drive a major shift in elite consensus about government spending, with talk of “grand bargains” that would slash entitlements, cut corporate tax rates and end personal tax breaks, such as the mortgage deduction, that benefit the middle class.
To put Peterson’s spending in context, all corporations and unions combined spent less than $4 billion on lobbying in 2011. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was heading over to the summit on Tuesday afternoon to protest. During his entire federal career, beginning in 1989, Sanders has raised $16,566,611, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, roughly 3 percent of what Peterson has spent in just a few years.
The whole thing is worth a read, but to sum up: he spent a lot of money. And a lot of money buys a lot of influence.