The following attachment is an invitation to David M. Walker, the former U.S. Inspector General of the General Accounting Office (GAO) (1998-2008) and now the President and CEO of The Peter G. Peterson Foundation, to join this audience. While at the GAO, Mr. Walker became alarmed at the financial irresponsibility of our government leaders and the collision course they have put this country on, if nothing changes. After testifying repeatedly to Congress and getting no change in their behavior, Mr. Walker began taking his message “on the road to taxpayers, university forums, civic groups and opinion makers”. Mr. Peterson, co-founder of The Blackstone Group established The Peter G. Peterson Foundation, in 2008, and he personally recruited Walker to serve as its first President and CEO allowing him to better carry out his work.
I have never shared, with this group, one of my standard solicitation letters, but due to his work and how it compliments my ongoing message I thought you might find my invitation (specifically, the first page and a half of commentary) to him worth reading. I would encourage you to take a minute or actually 30 to learn more about Mr. Walker’s story in his critically-acclaimed documentary – I.O.U.S.A. The film is narrated by him and features billionaire investor Warren Buffett, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, former U.S. Secretaries of Treasury Robert Rubin and Paul O’Neill under the Clinton and Bush Administrations, respectively, along with members of Congress. I think you’ll better appreciate his work and my commentary.
About the film: By now, you may have heard about our acclaimed documentary I.O.U.S.A., a film that boldly examines the rapidly growing national debt and its consequences for the United States and its citizens. The film has been a huge hit, getting rave reviews from Roger Ebert and others.
Now, we proudly release a 30-minute condensed version of I.O.U.S.A. designed specifically for watching and sharing on the web – for free.
So if you haven’t had a chance to see the movie yet, watch the condensed I.O.U.S.A. today. If you’ve already seen it in a theater, check out the abbreviated version for a refresher. Then, tell your friends, your family, your Facebook friends and your Twitter followers about the staggering amount of money – $53 trillion – in financial obligations owed by the federal government to foreign investors and to every single American in the form of pensions, health benefits, Social Security and Medicare.
Then, visit http://www.IOUSAtheMovie.com and join us in our Fiscal Wake-Up Movement. Together, we can make American fiscal responsibility a reality.
You can now own I.O.U.S.A. on DVD! The newly released DVD, with 125 minutes of bonus material, now enables even more concerned citizens to learn about the state of our country’s finances and take action!
The Peter G. Peterson Foundation website address is www.pgpf.org.
***See the attachment*** – “Dear Mr. David M. Walker” (This letter was originally sent to him, on Monday, as an email, but has been modified into a formal letter, for this audience’s sake. Several minor edits have also been made to correct grammar.)
November 23, 2009
David M. Walker
President and CEO
The Peter G. Peterson Foundation
New York, NY
(formerly the U.S. Comptroller General of the General Accounting Office (GAO)(1998-08)
Dear Mr. Walker,
I caught your appearance on 60 Minutes, in 2007 or ’08, and again just this week on another news program [60 Minutes] prompting me to finally write. I share your concerns over the financial irresponsibility by the leadership of this nation, both, in Washington and in statehouses across the country. It’s a clear sign of the lack of character, of the lack of integrity, both, in our elected officials and in their constituents for tolerating it. As a writer and philosopher, I see the financial problems that you have documented, so well, as being merely symptoms of a more troubled America, where our corrupt values are driving personal behavior and public policy. Our addictions to just about anything and everything that allows us to escape one’s personal pain and suffering with a temporary high is a short-term gain that always comes with long-term consequences. We’ve treated many personal and social problems as criminal and the policies haven’t worked.
The problem goes well beyond Washington and back home to a cancer-ridden society. Delivering the same news to an audience of U.S. citizens, which you have shared repeatedly with numerous Congressional committees, I suspect that your work would be applauded. However, if asked to see their part in the problem and to change their ways, most simply can’t or won’t. Nobody wants to wake up to this nightmare, to see the truth about his or her messy life, much less the sad state of affairs going down in Washington. We all want to complain about our politicians, but I don’t see the first political activist sitting in jail or demonstrators marching on Washington on a Monday. No one seems to have either their personal power or any insight into what’s really going on.
Look how much of our economy benefits from personal financial irresponsibility and misfortune – alcoholism, cigarette and drug addiction, gambling, overeating and retail “therapy” in terms of sales revenues, employment and taxes raised. Vehicles like “easy” credit have allowed consumers to buy more than they can afford or need in a home and in car purchases while credit cards and home equality lines have caused Americans to behave no different than Congress and the President when it comes to the federal budget.
Our addiction, our obsession to growing the economy, annually, leads to tens of millions of Americans living beyond their means, on the edge (this is public policy) until some are finally forced to file for bankruptcy, year after year. This insanity has never been acknowledged and therefore there’s no change in, either, personal behavior or public policy. It’s totally irresponsible and immoral, both, on a personal and political level. The citizens are actually here to serve the government and not the other way around. It’s all dysfunctional.
So, the problem that you’re talking about is really a subset of a cultural crisis. Last year, was just a financial tremor, the big one is coming. For all the intelligence in this country, for all the fancy degrees from the fancy schools, job titles, wealth, power, we are a complete mess. We are operating without any fundamentals. Nobody has any integrity, dignity or sanity. Our problem is not a lack of smarts, but a lack of honesty. We are a crazy nation run by crazy politicians. Why would it be any different? The U.S. Capitol with all the federal buildings that surround it including the White House and even the one that you used to work at is one big mental institution; everyone who works up there are really mental patients. I only know this because I spent time in a few of them. Washington is no different. Only the insane would affirm the troubles that to you speak of, but then continue to behave as if they never heard it.
This problem can’t be solved in the mind, only in the heart. Like the founding fathers, there has to be a national resolve to change course and to fix the problem, at all cost. However, Albert Einstein said it best, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”. You need a higher level of consciousness. This explains why our elected officials can only talk out of their heads, while there’s no follow through to actually do something about it before the tsunami hits. My purpose in writing is to invite you to join my audience. For close to three years now, I’ve been telling the world including many Americans what’s not being said in the halls of Congress, in the White House, at the State Department, in the media, at Harvard, at Yale and so on.
I am a full-time writer and philosopher on political and social matters in the United States. Primarily, I write one or two monthly commentaries and freely share them with a growing international audience. I offer a spiritual approach to addressing many of these important issues of state, national and global interest. Rather than simply take sides to the symptoms of America’s social problems, like, our politicians, pundits and the mainstream media so often do, I seek to point out the root cause.
I believe that our elected officials in Washington and at most statehouses across the country are living in a radioactive slough. They are so sick, in denial and spewing poison from their lips at one another. Their heated rhetoric and twisted legislative actions has gotten all of us very ill. These environments produce insensitivity and disrespect towards one’s self and towards one another including every constituent as a result of the ever hardening of heartened hearts.
The United States is in serious trouble do to the many faulty belief systems promulgated and embraced by most of its citizens, we have become brainwashed. We must wake up to this reality, to the truth and set a new course that leads to peace and harmony with our fellow man, nature, God and ourselves. The “celebrity” lifestyle of money, power and fame that most of this society seems infatuated with is literally killing this nation. The subjects that I write about I believe are a breath of fresh air to one’s lungs, heart and to the human spirit.
Today, my audience has grown to over forty-eight hundred contacts including attorneys, business executives, clergy, major foundations (Bill and Melinda Gates, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur and Charles and Helen Schwab) policy institutes (Brookings, Cato, New America, AEI…), publishers, state and federal lawmakers of which forty-six hundred are PhDs teaching at more than fifty colleges and universities in ten countries — the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Australia and New Zealand included are eight nationally top-ranked university professors.
Among these schools are twenty-five world-class universities and over thirty-five hundred professors teaching in seven different programs at Harvard, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Law School (over 510), Yale, Yale Law School, Stanford, Stanford Law School, Berkeley, Princeton, Columbia, Columbia Law School, Chicago, New York University School of Law, Duke, Oxford, Cambridge, London School of Economics, Trinty College Dublin, ENS-Paris, EHESS, Leiden Universitat, ETH Zurich, Freie Universität Berlin, Toronto, McGill, British Columbia, Australian National University, Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland.
Since March 2007, I have produced over forty thought provoking essays on matters ranging from Alabama politics, gay rights, Middle East peace, freedom and slavery, our government’s treatment of our soldiers and veterans, Jesus’ hijacked message, global warming, abortion, capital punishment and the role of the U.S. Supreme Court, original sin, freedom, America’s lost virtues – truth and freedom, crime and society’s role, self-governing and democracy, the current U.S. economic crisis, taking risks, success, corporate consciousness, the genius of Forrest Gump and my own spiritual journey for the past twenty years.
I have consistently received high marks for the quality of my writing, as well as, for the insightful content. In addition to writing about political and social matters, I have also shared with this group a couple of life-altering experiences that have shaped my outlook on our world while discovering a hidden talent to think and to write. I currently enjoy a retention rate greater than 95% among my 4,600 professors.
I have steadily received accolades from the likes of business executives Joe Bullard, Congressman Jo Bonner (AL-R), Capitol Hill’s Roll Call newspaper, Jan Love, Dean and Professor at Emory University Candler School of Theology, in Atlanta, GA , Alabama state senator and Mobile, AL attorney Ben Brooks, Fairhope, AL attorney Jay Cooper and from many friends. In response to my essays, I routinely receive correspondence from the office of U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (AL-R) in Washington DC.
Other notables receiving my essays include the Retirement Systems of Alabama CEO Dr. David Bronner, cartoonist Scott Adams, the creator of “Dilbert”, Boston University’s Dr. Andrew Bacevich, former Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve and economist Dr. Alan Blinder of Princeton University, legal investigator Erin Brockovich, Dr. Richard Brinker, Dean and Professor of SFWS (Forestry) at Auburn University, former two-time West Virginia Governor and College Board, President Gaston Caperton, Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and New America Foundation President Steve Coll, former three-time New York Governor Mario Cuomo, Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, former Mobile, AL Mayor Michael C. Dow, Harvard University President Drew G. Faust, National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) Executive Director Michael J. Fitzpatrick, Mobile Chamber President Win Hallett, international artist “Nall” Hollis, Harvard Professor Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, economist Dr. Simon Johnson of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Dr. Patty Kelly of George Washington University, American University’s Professor Peter Kuznick, University of Sydney’s (Australia) Dr. Jake Lynch, Yale University’s Dr. Dale Martin, Chair and Professor of Religious Studies, University of South Alabama President Gordon Moulton, Judge Edmond Naman, Clinton Administration Labor Secretary Robert Reich, Dr. Larry J. Sabato’s Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, Regions Bank Executive Vice President Bill Seifert, Yale School of Medicine’s Dr. Sally Shaywitz, investor Charles Schwab, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution editor Cynthia Tucker, R.E. “Ted” Turner III, founder and former Chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting, philanthropist and Chairman of the Turner Foundation, Harvard Law Professor and Chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel (COP) Elizabeth Warren and Ashoka President Diana Wells.
At your next break, I would encourage you to take a moment and read my latest commentary “American terrorists”. All of my essays are available to read on my web site at www.toxicnation.blogspot.com and my biography is posted at www.tedburnettresume.blogspot.com.
If for any reason and at any time you would like to “unsubscribe”, just reply to my next monthly correspondence. I subscribe and support one’s personal right to freedom and to the truth, I believe they’re interwoven. You can’t have one without the other. In America , we make countless claims about our nation being the “land of the free”, “under God” and to knowing the “truth.” At the age of thirty-eight, I have come to believe that they are in extremely short supply and that there is even less of a demand for these virtues.
The latest national home mortgage scandal, the meltdown on Wall Street and the federal governments bailout of American corporations and banks tells me that the United States is in some serious trouble, but nobody wants to face this reality much less talk about it openly and honestly. Neither President Barack Obama or Congress nor the American people will acknowledge this rapidly growing and out of control deadly “virus.” All anyone of us seems to really want is to produce a synchronized chorus of – “give us our drugs and leave us alone.” Is this truly happening here in America?
Sadly, I think so.
See attachment — American terrorists (see www.toxicnation.blogspot.com)
500 Lincoln St. B-105
Daphne, AL 36526 USA
My blog: www.toxicnation.blogspot.com
My biography: www.tedburnettresume.blogspot.com
Copyright © 2009, 2010. All Rights Reserved. “An invitation to David M. Walker the President and CEO of The Peter G. Peterson Foundation” by Ted Burnett.
I am available for speaking, consulting and political advising. My other essays can be viewed at my blog – http://www.toxicnation.blogspot.com/. I can be contacted via email at – email@example.com. My bio can be viewed at http://www.tedburnettresume.blogspot.com.