Perhaps Barack Obama picked Andy Stern for his bipartisan commission on the federal deficit just to get Stern out of the White House. After all, Obama may be getting tired of Stern’s weekly visits, but that hardly qualifies the SEIU chief to sit on a panel to make hard choices on federal budgeting. And with Stern on the panel, we can already guess how many job-cutting initiatives this panel will produce:
Honeywell International Inc. Chief Executive Officer David Cote and former Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Alice Rivlin were named by President Barack Obama today to serve on a commission on cutting the federal deficit.
The president also appointed Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, and former Young & Rubicam Brands CEO Ann Fudge for the panel, to serve on the panel. …
Obama last week named former Democratic White House official Erskine Bowles and former Wyoming Republican Senator Alan Simpson as co-chairmen of the commission. The White House appointees will be joined by 12 other panel members chosen by Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate.
The 18-member National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility was created by Obama to come up with recommendations for steps to reduce the federal deficit, which is forecast to hit a record $1.6 trillion this year. The budget shortfall may be an issue in November elections that will determine control of Congress.
Alice Rivlin is also a big donor to Democrats. In the present and previous cycle, the Brookings Institute economist donated over $47,000 to various Democrats. For that matter, so is Ann Fudge, who gave over $36,000. In contrast, Stern gave less than $6,000. (Cote only made one donation to a partisan recipient, a Republican, for $1000.) Is this change we can believe in?
But the larger problem is that Stern represents the problem that Congress faces in making tough budget decisions — not the solution. He has a vested interest in keeping federal employees on the job, as his union mainly represents public-sector workers. If this budget commission recommended cuts to staff, his union will lose dues — which will reduce the amount of funds available for his union to donate to Democrats. Public-sector unions gave 89% of their donations to Democrats in 2008, and so far in this cycle, 91%.
This “bipartisan” commission looks pretty stacked to me, in favor of maintaining the status quo for public-sector growth and the flow of cash to Democratic coffers. We can expect that this panel will recommend tax hikes in order to maintain that cash flow and to subsidize Democratic power.
Update: Rob Port connects the dots to Obama’s efforts to force government contractors into unionization.
Update II: CentristNet wonders whether marrying himself so closely to an increasingly unpopular labor movement will damage Obama even further with voters. (Geoff tipped me to the story, and I forgot to hat-tip him on this one. Sorry!)