Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., called on an audience of business and political elites earlier this week to respond to populist anger by lobbying harder for a deficit-reduction package that would reduce corporate tax rates and cut public retirement programs such as Social Security.
Warner lauded MacGuineas, who runs the Fix The Debt campaign, which has lobbied Congress to pass a Simpson-Bowles type proposal. Although her group does not disclose its donors, its “CEO Fiscal Leadership Council” includes representatives from Aetna, Caterpillar, JP Morgan Chase, General Electric, and other corporate giants.
“We put together an effort that Maya led which was the first time I’ve seen the business community…called Fix The Debt where we raised some resources so we could in a bipartisan way support Members who were willing to say we need entitlement reform, we need tax reform that generates revenue,” he said. “It was probably 1/100th of the business community [that] participated,” he said.
Weinberger, for his part, complained that Congress is too responsive to the public. “In fact when I worked for [former Missouri Republican Senator] Jack Danforth many years ago, he had a great line. People think in Washington we’re so dissassociated, we’re so aloof, we’re so unconnected to the general public. Nothing could be further from the truth, quite frankly. And we want to do what they want us to do to get elected, in many cases.”
He continued: “The problem is when you have candidates on both sides of the aisle attacking the corporate institution as all greedy and rich… And all not paying their fair share…all the institutions lose trust.”