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.
The 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