A Washington-based coalition called Fix the Debt – which advocates lower taxes alongside a more obvious goal of putting a dent in the $16.2 trillion-plus national debt – is launching a state-level organization on Tuesday in Raleigh.
To help promote the launch, an array of business and political leaders will head to an afternoon event at the Marriott City Center: Bob Ingram, former CEO of GlaxoSmithKline, former Govs. Jim Hunt and Jim Holshouser, Durham Mayor Bill Bell, and Clear Defense CEO Tonya Cockman.
According to a release, they will be "calling on policymakers to address the impending 'fiscal cliff' and steer the national debt towards long-term sustainability."
Fix the Debt has been something of a lightning rod for criticism from liberal advocates. Paul Krugman, The New York Times' liberal columnist, described the group as such:
Now yet another organization, Fix the Debt, is campaigning for cuts to Social Security and Medicare, even while making lower tax rates a “core principle.” That last part makes no sense in terms of the group’s ostensible mission, but makes perfect sense if you look at the array of big corporations, from Goldman Sachs to the UnitedHealth Group, that are involved in the effort and would benefit from tax cuts. Hey, sacrifice is for the little people.
Local advocates have taken notice of the group's foray into North Carolina, including AFL-CIO. The labor union's state leader, Marybe McMillan, called Fix the Debt a "lavishly funded" effort to keep tax cuts for the wealthy intact during negotiations over how to navigate the looming expiration of tax cuts started under President George W. Bush and continued by President Barack Obama in 2010.
"Real leadership is acknowledging that we cannot 'fix the debt' by giving huge tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations," McMillan said. "Defending the money working people have paid into Social Security and Medicare ... (is) the kind of real leadership North Carolinians need right now from their members of Congress."
A group organized by Progress North Carolina is also expected to rally outside the event.