You may or may not have heard of Peter G. Peterson, but he has been trying very hard lately to make you believe your Social Security is in jeopardy. ... Peterson has spent "at least $458 million," from 2007 to 2011, to make sure that you feel that you are about to lose your "entitlements" and that we have to deal with this immediately....
So who is this mystery master of manipulation? Peterson has spent decades on Wall Street, amassing a net worth of nearly three billion dollars. He has spent some time in politics, serving under President Nixon as Secretary of Commerce. He also co-founded infamous private equity juggernaut Blackstone Group. Sounds like your typical fat cat, right?
Not exactly. While most of Peterson's cronies make no bones about their right-wing politics, Peterson really wants you to think of him as nonpartisan. Peterson is definitely a conservative, but through his billion-dollar-endowed Peter G. Peterson Foundation, he has made a gargantuan effort to present himself as a friend of both sides of the aisle. Peterson has given grants to conservative think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute. But he has also given grants to the likes of the liberal Economic Policy Institute, and Peterson's foundation has brought the likes of Bill Clinton to its fiscal summit.
By attempting to present himself as nonpartisan, Peterson has been able to set our nation's agenda. Both Democratic and Republican politicians are being told by their sources of information that Social Security needs reform, so Social Security reform has, of course, become a big political issue. Peterson isn't exactly throwing handfuls of money at grantees and yelling, "Tell everyone we have to reform Social Security!" But he is making his priorities our priorities.