Fiscal terrorism -- Pete Peterson deploys a rhetorical daisy cutter

Fiscal Terrorism

by digby

Floyd Norris catches the malevolent oligarch Pete Peterson deploying some big rhetorical guns in the deficits wars:
Today he put out a statement on the deficit reduction commission vote. I have italicized one phrase.

The work of this commission has clearly demonstrated the need to address our nation’s unsustainable long-term fiscal challenges, and it has shown that we should begin now. The time for denial, inaction and political gamesmanship is over. The time for fiscal patriotism is now.

There is a long and ignoble history in America of the misuse of the word patriotism, in which those who disagree with the speaker are not just misguided, but unpatriotic.

I hope Mr. Peterson will think better about the use of that phrase, and that others will not pick it up.

The deficit is now large in significant part because the financial system blew up and the government had to pick up the bill at the same time the recession caused by the financial crisis caused tax revenue to fall and social safety net spending to rise.

Well hell, I say let's take their rhetorical bombs and hurl them back on them. Does this sound patriotic to you?
“It’s almost like they’ve got — they’ve got a bomb strapped to them and they’ve got their hand on the trigger,” President Obama said on Thursday of the banks he’s chosen to bail out. “You don’t want them to blow up. But you’ve got to kind of talk [to] them, ease that finger off the trigger.”
You'll recall that these same "patriots" also threatened to burn down the whole system if they didn't get their bonuses.

Feinberg’s push for long-term accountability was met with what Feinberg calls “intense pressure” from officials at the Treasury Department and from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which had provided most of the A.I.G. bailout, to make accommodations for the firms whose perceived extravagance had created his job in the first place. First, there were those cash retention bonuses, which 8 of the 12 A.I.G. executives now under Feinberg’s purview received in 2009. Feinberg pushed to have the executives return the money and replace it with salarized stock. They all refused, even those who had pledged to give the bonuses back altogether.

Among those who insisted on keeping the cash was David Herzog, A.I.G.’s chief financial officer, whose bonus was $1.5 million. He and the others told Feinberg, through A.I.G.’s vice chairman Anastasia Kelly, that if they didn’t get to keep that bonus, plus get additional bonuses for work in 2009, they would leave, which would grievously imperil the company. No one at A.I.G. seemed to be embarrassed to argue that the chief financial officer of Wall Street’s Titanic was irreplaceable.
These are the big swinging Galtian heroes who Peterson represents. And now he's calling for destruction of the safety net in the guise of "fiscal patriotism." Fiscal terrorism is the proper term. It would be funny if it weren't so tragic.