02.28.2010 0

A Stern Word on the Obama’s Debt Appointment

  • On: 03/02/2010 10:01:49
  • In: Fiscal Responsibility
  • By Kaitlyn Czajkowski

    Barack Obama announced his appointments to the Bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform this past Friday, February 26th, nominating none other than Andy Stern. Stern is one of the White House’s most frequent visitors, and President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), an organization with close ties to ACORN and a substantial Democratic campaign contributor.

    But for a bipartisan panel, supposedly created to “improve the fiscal situation,” and “achieve fiscal sustainability,” Stern must have some qualifications that make him an ideal addition to this panel. Right?

    As J. Justin Wilson, Managing Director for the Center for Union Facts told LaborPains.com last week, “Stern and his unions know a thing or two about government debt, as they do their fair share to contribute to it. The SEIU has single-handedly driven more than a few states to the edge of fiscal insolvency. “

    For instance, in 2009, SEIU members in California earned wage increases nearly double the national average, despite the fact that California’s economy is in one of the worst in the nation.

    Of course, those economic woes are not limited to the state of California, as municipalities across the fruited plain have suffered revenue shortfalls in the wake of the recession. As reported by ALG News previously, the Pew Center for research found that at the end of the fiscal year in 2008, there was a $1 trillion gap between the $2.35 trillion states and participating localities had set aside to pay for employees’ retirement benefits, and the $3.35 trillion price tag necessary for keeping up payments on promised benefits.

    As Pew notes, public sector unions have long blocked the switchover to defined contribution plans from defined benefit plans, which would automatically put a cap on the current unfunded liabilities facing states across the country. Public sector unions, we would note, that Andy Stern represents.

    But then perhaps it wasn’t Stern’s commitment to debt reduction and a balanced budget that earned him a place on this debt-reduction commission. Instead, maybe it was Stern’s commitment to patriotism and American pride. Take a look at the pride that caused Stern in January to declare all Senators opposed to Obama’s health care plan “terrorists.”

    Or, perhaps it was Stern’s commitment to stimulus spending which earned him the nod. “The aftermath of a severe financial crisis” calls for more deficit spending, Stern recently told New York Times columnist, Paul Krugman.

    Clearly not a fiscal hawk by any stretch of the imagination, this is the man President Obama plans to put on a “bipartisan” commission, seeking ways to balance the budget by 2015, and making interest payments on the national debt, which will reach $840 billion by 2020.

    While Stern claims to be absolutely concerned about the national debt over the long term, he believes spending our way into prosperity over the short-term is the only solution to the recession. Making matters worse, he is opposed to any cuts in the pay or benefits of the public sector unions he represents that are draining state and local government coffers.

    This appointment sends a message, that instead of being placed on this commission to reduce the national debt and spending, Stern has instead been appointed to do just the opposite. As a member, Stern will work to ensure (thus calming the fears of all left-wingers) that the United States continues to raise taxes on its citizens to pay for entitlements, balances state budgets like California, New York, and Illinois, spends herself into a bottomless pit, and still fails to meet her commitments.

    Overall, the appointment of Stern sends another message to the American people — a message that Obama is far from serious about this commission and his commitment to the reduction of our national debt.

    The verdict? As J. Justin Wilson put it, putting Andy Stern on a debt reduction commission is the equivalent of putting a tax cheat in charge of the Internal Revenue Service. But then, this is Washington, and crazier things have happened before.

    Kaitlyn Czajkowski is a contributing editor to ALG News Bureau.


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