The Big Lie at the Core of Pete Peterson’s Attack on the Baby Boomers

By William K. Black

For the purposes of writing a column I ended up reading materials written by the financial industry PR specialist Makovsky and found this nugget. A Makovsky executive was interviewed about Millennials and he explained the finance industry’s perspective on that group.  Millennials have been leading victims of financial fraud and the resultant Great Recession so they have no love of financial firms:  “the four major banks in the U.S, were ranked in the 10 least loved brands among Millennials according to Viacom.

The Millennials’ disdain for big finance is terrifying to finance for an excellent reason that Makovsky quantified.

[M]illennials [are] larger than the Baby Boomers and when it comes to wealth transfer they are expected to inherit more than $30 Trillion in the future.  One thing that makes banks, financial advisors and brokerage firms very nervous is money changing hands because it usually doesn’t stay.   A disconnect with Millennials puts financial brands at a great disadvantage and potentially missing the boat.”

Millennials are expected to inherit more than $30 trillion, most of it coming directly or indirectly from Baby Boomers.  Pete Peterson, in his never ending quest to privatize Social Security and make Wall Street even wealthier, is sending groups to campuses trying to convince college students that their parents are the enemy and that austerity and privatization are their only means of staving off poverty.  The reality, as Makovsky is stressing to bankers is the opposite of Peterson’s propaganda.

We’ll also have to root out propaganda efforts financed by big finance designed to seduce the Millennials.  The Makovsky PR official was proud of these efforts.

“Bank of America’s recent partnership with Kahn Academy could be a new approach to educating Millennials and money, credit, lending and investing.”

Yes, a “new approach to educating” Millennials about finance that is shaped by the Bank of America is just what the world needs.  I trust that they call their course “The Big Kahn” (funded by Bank of America).

8 responses to “The Big Lie at the Core of Pete Peterson’s Attack on the Baby Boomers

  1. While writing my book, “What If Boomers Can’t Retire–How to Build real Security, Not Phantom Wealth”, I read Peterson’s “Gray Dawn”. One of his major points was that baby boomers should invest in stock-based retirement plans because the generation following the boomers could not pay enough into Social Security for it to pay for their retirements. I wrote a long, and courteous letter to him, asking how boomer’s stocks, that were bought that to be sold for substantial gains could achieve those gains if the primary buyers have to be the same next generation that he said could not sustain Social Security? He never answered.
    My question, which was a major point of my book, has turned out to explain why the advice actuaries gave to pension plans was wrong and so many of them have been abandoned or are in trouble.

    • I’m not surprised Peterson didn’t answer, just as many wouldn’t be surprised to learn he was expelled from MIT for cheating, and ended up at David Rockefeller’s old alma mater, where he was groomed by Davy for later financial greatness (Peterson would be handpicked for managerial positions at the Council on Foreign Affairs, by Rockefeller, and would later receive seed money from the Rockefeller family to finance the Blackstone Group). Pressured by the Rockefellers, Peterson was appointed to head the Commission on Foundations (also called the Peterson Commission) which was supposed to investigate the financial structure of foundations. This commission was an outgrowth of the congressional studies and investigations of Rep. Wright Patman, who had opened the curtain on how the super-rich hid their wealth and ownership within foundations and trusts (should you ever read a book by the founder of Moody’s, John Moody, entitled The Masters of Capital, you will read where Moody brags how old man Rockefeller never really broke up Standard Oil, only on paper — instead he shifted the stock ownership to a series of holding companies, which in turn were accorded ownership to foundations he founded, so this had been going on for quite some time).

      Peterson’s Blackstone Group has a mighty sordid history, but is a major player in the area of the full spectrum economic warfare being practised against the majority, whether buying up refineries then shutting them down to drive up the price of oil, cornering the anthrax vaccine market, aiding Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley in their speculating up the price of oil/energy, and a host of other such nefarious financial machinations.

      In a really pathetic book written by Barry Lynn at the so-called non-partisan New America Foundation (funded by Peterson’s Peterson Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts), Lynn skips over a major crime by the Blackstone Group (wonder why, huh?) and claims not to understand what they did, which was essentially major pension fund theft, another of their many crimes.

      Interesting to note that Peterson’s Blackstone Group was the broker of the fastest business real estate deal in NYC’s history: selling the World Trade Center some six months prior to 9/11/01. The Blackstone Group was also awarded the management of the captive insurance fund which was supposed to pay out to families of the victims of the WTC destruction.

      Simon Johnson, the former IMF economist and presently a econ professor at MIT, frequently claims in his talks he gives that David Rockefeller gave away most of his fortune — Johnson is also a senior fellow at Peter G. Peterson’s Peterson Institute.

      Guess it is a small world after all, huh?

  2. That’s really disappointing that BOA is partnering with Khan Academy, and yes I am a millennial.

  3. Divide and Conquer. The oldest method of grabbing power over people in the book.

    In addition to this “financial education” by the banks, there are numerous other similar propaganda programs such as the one that was paying David Brat to teach Ayn Randian economics to college students before his win over Eric Cantor.

    Apparently you can use a charitable foundation “to provide grants to schools that agree to create courses on capitalism that feature the study of ‘Atlas Shrugged.’ ”
    These charitable foundations are charitable towards whom? The mega-banks and other crony capitalist welfare queen mega-corporations, apparently.

    In the wikipedia article cited lower down here in my comment, it says that
    “Each year the Ayn Rand Institute donates 400,000 copies of works by Ayn Rand, including Atlas Shrugged, to high school students. According to a 1991 survey done for the Library of Congress and the Book of the Month Club, Atlas Shrugged was situated between the Bible and M. Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled as the book that made the most difference in the lives of 5,000 Book-of-the-Month club members surveyed, with a “large gap existing between the #1 book and the rest of the list”. Modern Library’s 1998 nonscientific online poll of the 100 best novels of the 20th century[53][54] found Atlas rated #1 although it was not included on the list chosen by the Modern Library board of authors and scholars.
    “…Sales of Atlas Shrugged have increased since the 2007 financial crisis, according to The Economist magazine and The New York Times. The Economist reported that the fifty-two-year-old novel ranked #33 among’s top-selling books on January 13, 2009 and that its thirty day sales average showed the novel selling three times faster than during the same period of the previous year. With an attached sales chart, The Economist reported that sales “spikes” of the book seemed to coincide with the release of economic data. Subsequently, on April 2, 2009, Atlas Shrugged ranked #1 in the “Fiction and Literature” category at Amazon and #15 in overall sales. Total sales of the novel in 2009 exceeded 500,000 copies. The book sold 445,000 copies in 2011, the second-strongest sales year in the novel’s history. At the time of publication the novel was on the New York Times best-seller list and was selling at roughly a third the volume of 2011.”
    Praise, criticism, influence, and renewed popularity

    So you get high schoolers and young adults who are encouraged to read this novel– probably the only one they are encouraged to read that has sex scenes in it– and with themes that are appealing particularly to teenagers and young adults: self-absorption, delusions of grandeur and of larger-than-life independence, and one justification after another for totally self-centered and anti-social behavior.

    Propagandists often persuade people to act against their own best interests by catering so attentively to their vices that they begin to think their vices are virtues. This is simply the version of this that targets teenagers and young adults. The propagandist takes the areas of immaturity that teenagers would normally grow out of eventually, and rewards and praises those characteristics until the teenager thinks of these as his or her best qualities. This results in arrested development for the teenager or young adult, and fat profits for the propagandists and the crony capitalist welfare queen mega-corporations that they serve.

    Just to emphasize the important point here, that’s 400,000 copies PER YEAR that the ARI donates to high school students. Someone needs to start a foundation to donate 400,000 copies per year of The Grapes of Wrath and The Jungle to high school students. And a Think Tank to finance the teaching of New Economic Perspectives to college students. Colleges students need to start learning to ask “Who is Tom Joad?” at least as often as they are asking “Who is John Galt?”

    • wonderful comment. you would also like the book, the Big Con.

      • Thanks for the compliment and for the book recommendation. I’m looking up the book now. Looks very good. I’ve read some of Jonathan Chait’s writings before and enjoyed them.

  4. What a damning, yet timely article! Good journalism!

  5. @Sarge,

    Thanks for the heads-up on the Moody book. Where did you get the dirt on Peterson?