By Fareed Zakaria
The American left has trained its sights on a new enemy: Pete Peterson. The banker and private-equity billionaire is, at first glance, an obvious target–rich and Republican. He stands accused of being the evil genius behind all the forces urging Washington to do something about the national debt. "The Peter G. Peterson Foundation is deficit-scold central," writes columnist Paul Krugman.
But for a deficit scold, Peterson does not seem very concerned about today's budget. "The current deficit is not the problem," he told me recently. "I wouldn't enact any measures to reduce it until the economy recovers properly." In fact, he is even in favor of additional stimulus spending, "as long as it's well designed and paid for," he notes. "My overriding concern has always been the long-term outlook, the massive structural deficits that we face as the baby boomers start retiring in large numbers. That's the problem we've simply refused to confront."