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  • January 2, 2013

    Albany Times Union features report “A Pension Deficit Disorder: The Massive CEO Retirement Funds and Underfunded Worker Pensions at Firms Pushing Social Security Cuts”

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    While America's CEOs have been fretting about the fiscal cliff, millions of American workers face a financial disaster that gets much less media attention. There's a half-trillion-dollar deficit in the nation's worker retirement benefits.

    . . . Fifty-four of the CEOs leading Fix the Debt benefit from lavish executive retirement programs. Their collective pension assets total $649 million, which comes to more than $12 million per CEO. That's enough to garner a $65,000 retirement check each month starting at age 65, according to a new report by the Institute for Policy Studies, which I co-authored. In contrast, the average retiree receives just $1,237 from Social Security each month.

    Yet, the firms headed by Fix the Debt CEOs owe their U.S. pension funds more than $100 billion, according to the IPS study. U.S. law requires businesses to keep their pension debts manageable.

    . . . Beware of CEOs who are lecturing us about tightening our belts. Workers would better off if CEOs worried about fixing their companies' pension debts.

    Read more: http://www.timesunion.com/opinion/article/CEOs-retirement-plans-4162737.php#ixzz2HKSbLDNA

  • January 2, 2013

    The Huffington Post

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    Did all their high-priced subterfuge pay off? The New Year's deal was a huge disappointment for those hoping that President Obama would use his bargaining position to strike a strong blow against the extreme inequality that is undermining our economy and democracy. But the Fix the Debt campaign also suffered a loss. After one of the most ambitious corporate lobby campaigns in history, they failed to win any of their three major objectives:

    1. Cutting earned benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare
    2. Cutting corporate tax rates ("pro-growth tax reform" in Fix the Debt speak)
    3. Shifting to a territorial corporate tax system, which would grant a permanent corporate tax holiday on offshore income, including the hundreds of billions stashed in the world's tax havens. Fix the Debt companies alone stood to gain an immediate 134 billion windfall from this reform, according to an Institute for Policy Studies report.

    As in the tale of the Trojan Horse, however, we cannot assume that the Fix the Debt army is going to just sail away. Corporate tax reform is expected to be a major focus of Congress in 2013, starting as early as the debt ceiling fight, which is likely to come to a head in March. . . .

    Congress's New Year's Eve capitulation to their wealthiest benefactors heightens the stakes for the corporate tax fight. Because Congress and the White House lavished so much on high-income individual taxpayers, they may well find themselves with fewer goodies to pass out to corporations. These will have to be paid for with either higher deficits or even more draconian cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and other programs ordinary Americans depend upon.

  • December 26, 2012

    The Baltimore Sun features article “A Pension Deficit Disorder”

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  • December 19, 2012

    Minneapolis Star Tribune

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    Former Minnesota U.S. Reps. Bill Frenzel and Tim Penny are co-chairs of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the umbrella organization for the Campaign to Fix the Debt. That has given them an insider's view as the powerful new group has amassed more than $40 million and field offices in 18 states since July, all in an attempt to influence the budget talks.

    . . . The approach has some critics. The organization gets nearly all its money from corporate donations, giving rise to questions from groups like the Institute for Policy Studies, which claims that Fix the Debt's plans to seek cuts to Social Security and Medicare are a veiled effort to secure corporate tax breaks at the expense of the poor and elderly.

  • December 19, 2012

    The Hill Blog

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    Tax hikes for millionaires and Social Security cuts for grannies. Those two divisive issues have dominated media coverage of the “fiscal cliff” debate. But now President Obama is hinting that corporate tax breaks might be in the mix.

    [FedEx CEO] Smith later explained his idea for a compromise: accept tax increases for the rich in exchange for an offer to “lower corporate tax rates to a territorial tax system.”
     
    Why would a wealthy guy like Smith be willing to barter away his personal tax breaks for this corporate perk? His argument is a patriotic one – that this reform would encourage corporations to bring their money back to America to invest and create jobs.
     
    The trouble is, similar tax breaks on overseas earnings haven’t led to job creation in the past. . . . 

    What is certain is that a shift to a territorial system would be a boost to the bottom line of global companies like Fedex . . . In public, the administration has not supported a territorial reform. But we saw two years ago how President Obama eventually backed down on his campaign commitment to repeal the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy.

     
    If one of his chief negotiators [Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner] favors a territorial tax system, it’s not hard to imagine that this dubious corporate tax break wind up on the table in the mad rush to reach a deal.

    Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-a-budget/273573-corporate-tax-breaks-in-the-mix#ixzz2HJyHTRKA

  • December 14, 2012

    Salon.com features blog “AlterNet: Five Job-Destroying CEOs Trying to "Fix" the Debt ”

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  • December 13, 2012

    HispanicBusiness.com

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    Florida's former senator and a one-time head of the national Republican Party, Mel Martinez, said Thursday that members of his own party need to get ready to go along with higher taxes. 

    "Republicans are going to have to swallow the pill they don't want to swallow," Martinez said on a conference call with reporters about the effects of the so-called "fiscal cliff" debt talks in Washington. 

    . . . The Campaign to Fix the Debt has come under fire from a liberal group, Institute for Policy Studies, which produced a study showing that many of the campaign's businessmen calling for entitlement reforms have huge nest eggs but lead companies that have retirement-fund pension problems. 

    "The corporations leading this campaign are contributing to Americans' retirement insecurity by funneling enormous sums into their CEO retirement accounts while underfunding their employee pension funds," the report said. 

  • December 13, 2012

    The Miami Herald features report “A Pension Deficit Disorder: The Massive CEO Retirement Funds and Underfunded Worker Pensions at Firms Pushing Social Security Cuts”

    Visit the publisher's websiteSee the report

    The Campaign to Fix the Debt has come under fire from a liberal group, Institute for Policy Studies, which produced a study showing that many of the campaign’s businessmen calling for entitlement reforms have huge nest eggs but lead companies that have retirement-fund pension problems.

    “The corporations leading this campaign are contributing to Americans’ retirement insecurity by funneling enormous sums into their CEO retirement accounts while underfunding their employee pension funds,” the report said.

  • December 12, 2012

    The Huffington Post features report “The CEO Campaign to ‘Fix’ the Debt: A Trojan Horse for Massive Corporate Tax Breaks”

    Visit the publisher's websiteSee the report

    Caterpillar is just one of many Fix the Debt companies publicly preaching a need to raise additional tax revenues while also lobbying to preserve -- or in this case, expand -- favored tax perks. One study, by the progressive Institute for Policy Studies, found that 63 companies advocating for a debt deal would stand to save $134 billion in tax payments if Congress approves a switch to the new system.

    The report describes the plan as "a Trojan Horse for massive tax breaks."

  • December 12, 2012

    The Huffington Post features report “The CEO Campaign to ‘Fix’ the Debt: A Trojan Horse for Massive Corporate Tax Breaks”

    Visit the publisher's websiteSee the report

    One study, by the left-leaning Institute for Policy Studies, found that 63 companies advocating for a debt deal would stand to save $134 billion in tax payments if Congress approves a switch to the new system.

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