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Middle Class Task Force, Minus the Middle Class

In President Obama’s recent State of the Union address, he exclaimed, “It is our generation’s task, then, to reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth – a rising, thriving middle class.”  This reminded me of the creation of Vice President Joe Biden’s Middle Class Task Force back in 2009. It was originally hailed as a “major initiative targeted at raising the living standards of middle-class, working families in America,” but faded from memory after it failed to produce results that would help the middle class.

There are so many things that are wrong with the Task Force that I have no idea where to start. I guess I’ll begin by asking this – how out of touch is the Obama Administration that it needs a task force on the middle class? Democrats claim to be the champions of the workers and the poor, but apparently they need committees to tell them what the plebeians’ wants are. The whole idea of the task force is condescending.

But what’s more condescending is the composition of the committee. Middle class refers to people earning anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000 per year, but everyone on the committee earns more than that. Biden earns $227,000, Energy Secretary Steven Chu earns $191,000, and the list goes on and on. So, elites are going around asking the poor what they need. That’s not so bad, is it? Well, it wouldn’t be that bad, except the task force isn’t asking the middle class what it needs. It spends more time talking to Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell, who earns $175,000, and Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter, who earns $167,000, than it does middle class families.

But at least the policy makers are helping to design legislation and push through executive orders that will help the middle class, right?  Well, not exactly. On February 26, 2010 the Middle Class Task Force released its first annual report; this was also its last annual report. The only other thing the Task Force has done is fly Biden around the country to give talks to middle class individuals. He has “talked green jobs in Denver, manufacturing in Ohio, college affordability in St. Louis — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.” That’s not really an accomplishment.

NewAdamOndoIcon-285x300The Middle Class Task Force isn’t there to help the middle class, though; it is there to get votes. Why do you think it met with United Steelworkers of America President Leo Gerard, who earns approximately $170,000 a year? Why do you think Joe Biden, acting on its behalf, issued a statement “congratulating the people of Ohio for rejecting Issue 2 — a law that would have stripped public employees of their collective bargaining rights?” It is being used to appeal to unions. Biden also uses it as a chance to fly around and tell people about what the Obama Administration can do for them, all on the taxpayers’ dime.

Biden promised that his task force would be “fully transparent, totally transparent,” and it is. Anyone who wants to see can easily see that it is nothing more than a government funded campaign engine that allows Biden to pitch his propaganda to dozens of groups of seniors, students, parents, workers, and teachers, all the while claiming to help the middle class.

Adam Ondo | University of Rochester | @JoplinMaverick

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5 Responses

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  1. Adpoli SoCal
    Feb 24, 2013 - 12:41 AM

    Ah, you guys have fallen for the college training that the liberals like to anoint their spokesmen with.
    MIDDLE CLASS is ‘code speak’.

    Middle Class to Joe Biden or anyone else in Washington DC doesn’t mean $40k to $100K wage earners. It doesn’t mean to describe private union workers,non union workers,small shop keepers, and small time entrepreneurs.

    It is meant to describe the government unionized bureaucrat/worker who increasingly votes to protect his paycheck every election, by voting Democratic.

    The growing number of government unionized workers and bureaucrats is growing and growing. And that is a growing ‘voter constituency’ that the Democrats in power don’t want to lose. They want to cultivate and nurtured their relationship so they can dependent on those tens of millions of votes for every election.

    It was only the 2009 recession that stopped and reversed the growth of government jobs.
    It was no accident in my mind that the majority of the so-called ‘Stimulus Bill’ was hundreds of billions dollars sent to state, municipalities, and government colleges to retain/replace/ and ‘SAVE” jobs.

    Reply
  2. Ceecee
    Feb 20, 2013 - 05:00 AM

    Ever wonder where the 40 hour work week came from? Thank a union.
    Ever get 1 ½ overtime pay? Thank a union.
    Double time pay on Sundays? Thank a union.
    Holiday pay? Thank a union.
    Is your work environment safe? Thank a union.
    Do you get health Insurance through your job? Thank a union.
    Without unions and OSHA American workers would still be working 16 hour days, 6 days a week, for low wages in hazardous work environments. Your parents, grandparents and great grandparents fought and died for the workplace rights you take for granted today.

    THE ABILITY TO ORGANIZE IN A UNION IN ORDER TO NEGOTIATE FOR A SHORTER WORK WEEK, OVERTIME PAY, BETTER WAGES, SAFER WORKING CONDITIONS AND BENEFITS SUCH AS HEALTH INSURANCE, HELPED LAUNCH THE MIDDLE CLASS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE 20TH CENTURY.

    Unions aren’t all bad.

    Reply
    • Ceecee
      Feb 20, 2013 - 05:35 AM

      BTW at least Democrats are pretending to listen, which is much more than I can say for the Republicans. Republicans ran on JOBS, JOBS, JOBS in the 2010 mid-term elections. But when Republicans got to Washington all we heard was GOD, GOD, GOD. Where are all the jobs Speaker Boehner?

      Reply
  3. Christopher Rushlau
    Feb 19, 2013 - 03:52 PM

    “Monetarist” economist Milton Friedman defined social programs (that’s a pretty broad category, presumably including public education, for instance) as a means for the middle class to extract resources from the poor. I think that remark was in his “Free To Choose”. A fellow medic in my National Guard unit in the 80’s who was a Maine state legislator, a Democrat, old school, party hack and proud of it (judging from the attendance at his wedding), said the book should be called “Free To Lose”. I think he compared Friedman’s theory of economics to a lottery, where you could win big or lose big, and most lose. I think he has a case to answer, especially given the widening of the rich-poor gap since that time. My own intuition is that wealth does naturally flow to the most cunning if not able. I don’t know where I got that idea, but I’ve had it all my life, from Peace Corps in the ’70’s where I described our small-farmer assistance program in Kenya as trying to make water run up hill. But up the road from me in Malakisi was a British-American Tobacco Co. (the actual name of the tobacco company, which was run locally by an expatriate white Rhodesian who seemed very nice, and very friendly to the locals) “leaf center” which was doing exactly what our government (Kenyan, USAID, World Bank) program was doing in concrete terms but they did everything right and we did everything wrong, seemingly on purpose.
    But as Dennis Weaver told William F. Buckley, Jr., in a TV debate (staged by Buckley) about the income tax, just because it’s had to be fixed every year since it was invented doesn’t mean it’s bad: “my daddy always said if something is worth doing, it’s worth working at until you get it right.”
    Maybe the thing we all see is that nobody is working very hard at politics these days, and our flaccid policies are the result. Limp. Designed to fail. And the cause of that is a total ban on frank conversation. Whose fault is that? It’s your fault if you put up with being muzzled.

    Reply
    • mercer
      Feb 19, 2013 - 05:19 PM

      Well said Adam and and exceptionally said Christopher!

      Reply

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