There are people who create "crises" or wait for "crises" to instill panic in those whom they dupe. They do that for utterly selfish, unethical reasons. They do it to enrich themselves at the direct and negative expense of the duped.
There is zero doubt that Pete Peterson knows about the 1937 Mistake. He doesn't care. All he wants is for the people not to know about it, what it was, what was happening before the mistake, what impact it had, and what was done to correct it. All he wants is to privatize public programs so his cronies and he can leech off the people's hard work.
The so-called fiscal cliff is a wholesale contrivance, a fake, false propaganda. There is zero reason, unless you are a greedy pig who doesn't give a damn about the common people, to go the completely stupid austerity route.
Look, what has been rightly termed military Keynesianism pulled the US (and Germany before the US) completely out of depression. However, we don't need to use spending on military to accomplish a complete end to this current downturn. We can declare war on anything we want to end, such as poverty and pollution and disease and hunger and anything else with just as much results only better than with military spending.
Here's what they don't want you to hear, see, read, repeat, demand, etc.:
In 1937, after five years of sustained economic growth and a steadily declining unemployment rate, the Roosevelt Administration began to worry more about possible inflation and the size of the federal deficit than the ability of the economy to sustain the recovery. As a consequence, in the fall of 1937, FDR supported those in his administration who advocated a reduction in federal expenditures (i.e. stimulus spending) and a balanced budget. The results — which included a massive reduction in the number of people employed by such programs as the WPA — were catastrophic. From the fall of 1937 to the summer of 1938, industrial production declined by 33 percent; wages by 35 percent; national income by 13 percent; and not surprisingly, the unemployment rate rose by roughly 5 percentage points, with an estimated 4 million workers losing their jobs.
...the lessons drawn from the 1937-38 recession convinced FDR that deficit spending and monetary expansion were critical to economic recovery. In essence, the Roosevelt Administration, through hard experience, finally endorsed Keynesian economics, and over the course of the next seven years, government spending on the economy — increasingly fueled by the demands of World War II — would grow to unprecedented levels, all but wiping out unemployment (which fell to below 2 percent by 1943) and turning the United States into a global super-power in the process.
So, now that you know, stop allowing them to get away with it unchallenged. Stand up to them. Call them out on their lies and deceptions. Tell Pete Peterson that you refuse to except his greedy lies. Tell Alan Simpson to go home and zip it because he has zero to say that's worth hearing on this subject. Tell Obama that you are not going to let him get away with his tricks, pretending to be for the people while he "compromises" with the banksters and elitists in the continued raping of everyone else.
See also: "Fiscal Cliff and the Media," by L. Randall Wray