The Truth About the Comeback America Initiative

Today's blog post from Richard Eskow ("Six Degrees of Social Security: The President, the Senator and the Billionaire") is so replete with errors it is hard to know where to begin a correction of the record. In foregoing reasoned discussion to take swipes at various people and promote unfounded conspiracy theories, Eskow has muddied an important national debate that needs to take place.

I will leave it to your readers to consider the illustrative solutions my organization, the Comeback America Initiative, is discussing with the public -- non-partisan solutions that should be able to gain bipartisan support. They run the gamut from dramatic reforms of the tax system and social insurance programs to spending cuts within bureaucracies such as the Pentagon and various political reforms. During our "$10 Million a Minute" national bus tour, we will engage voters on these issues and more so "We the People" can press candidates to tackle our enormous fiscal challenges with the seriousness they deserve.

Unfortunately, seriousness is lacking in Eskow's blog, along with accuracy. Had he called me to get the facts -- or done sufficient homework to read my prior comments about the tour and documentary in the media -- he would not have written such an inaccurate and misleading piece. So let me set the record straight on several points.

The Peter G. Peterson Foundation is not funding CAI's national bus tour, which is its own project and is funded separately. Moreover, the tour has the backing of prominent experts across the political spectrum, including former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson, former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, former head of the Republican National Committee Mel Martinez, former head of the Democratic National Committee Ed Rendell, former Clinton Administration Budget Director Alice Rivlin, former Chairmen of the Fed Alan Greenspan and Paul Volcker, and former Presidential Candidate H. Ross Perot Sr.

Among the more ludicrous assertions by Eskow is that I somehow orchestrated the work of the Simpson-Bowles Commission. I was never a member of the Commission nor on its staff in any capacity. Several Commission members read my book, Comeback America, which was published in 2010. They may have agreed with some of the points that I made and solutions that I proposed; if so, that is gratifying. But I have been expressing my views publicly on our fiscal mess for more than a decade and my positions are very well known. I have no need or desire to whisper in anyone's ears about fiscal solutions. I am loudly and firmly on the record with it all.

As for my appearance in Dinesh D'Souza's documentary, I have already stated in media interviews that the nature of the film was misrepresented to me. I have also noted that I do not support the tone or conclusions promoted in this film. My comments in the documentary are clearly fact-based and non-partisan and they call to task both Republicans and Democrats for the mismanagement of our nation's finances.

If we are going to solve our serious fiscal challenges, we need to put a stop to partisan and ideological mud-slinging and open our minds to solutions that can attract bipartisan support. Judging from today's blog, Eskow is a part of the problem, not part of the solution.


Dave M. Walker
Former U.S. Comptroller General