Misc. Mondays: Middle Class Task Force Update

More than half of all Americans – about 160 million – think of themselves as middle class according to a 2008 Pew survey.  However, Washington, especially the White House, view only one tenth of those people as middle class.  Specifically, only the 16 million union workers are considered by our Federal government to be in the middle class.

VP Biden was in Philadelphia a few weeks ago holding his first Middle Class Task Force town meeting – next up is Minnesote, home of anti-union Target.  According to an editorial in the Philadelphia Inquirer, it is “apparent that the administration’s policies are not friendly to most of the middle class.”  For back up, the author cited Obama’s Executive Order that repealed the right for employees to know whether labor officials use their dues to support political candidates and the Order that encourages project labor agreements for union construction workers, including for construction as a result of the stimulus plan effectively eliminating 85% of the construction workforce.  Most striking, though, according to the author, is the “green jobs” legislative language “being touted on Capitol Hill is little more than union giveaways in a shiny new wrapper.”  I couldn’t agree more.


Misc Mondays: Biden Addresses AFL-CIO Bigs

Earlier in the Month, VP Biden addressed the top brass of the AFL-CIO at their annual convention in Miami, Florida.  By the way, at a time when the unions are crying foul on of big business owners and CEOs, that meeting was held at the ultra-luxurious, five-star, Fontainebluea Resort.  But I digress.  According to FoxNews, the VP decided to ban cameras from filming his speech.  Uh, wait, the next day, the AFL-CIO recanted that statement and said it was actually the union that did not want the speech filmed.  Whatever.  What’s more important is that some print reporters were allowed to attend and a transcript was made of the speech.  Here is the whole transcript.  Below are some worthy snippets:

  • The best place for me to be my whole career is surrounded by organized labor.  And I know how to say “union.”
  • An old joke, Mr. President [of the union], you know, you go home with them that bring you to the dance.  Well, you all brought me to the dance a long time ago.  And it’s time we start dancing, man.  It’s time we start dancing.
  • It’s just not right, it’s just not right, and everybody knows it – it’s just not right when the average CEO makes $10,000 more every day – $10,000 more every day than what the average worker makes every year – $10,000 per day.  And by the way, before I said it, I did the math, I did the math, and it’s literally true.
  • The NLRB explicitly says – and that came later – the NLRB explicitly says, this nation’s policy is to encourage – encourage – collective bargaining, encourage unions.
  • What is news here is you now have an American President and Vice President, and the Speaker of the House and Majority Leader who agree with everything John Sweeney [union president] said.
  • Some of you guys were there when the Middle Class Task Force was announced.  I said “welcome back to the White House, let me tell you something: I think John [Sweeney], you’ve been back every week.
  • We will judge the success or failure of our administration at the end of our four years based on whether or not the standard of living of the middle class has increased, or not.  That’s the bottom line measure.  And guess what.  Neither one of us believe it can get better without you getting stronger.
  • Even when our economy felt like it was on solid footing over the last – you know, during the ’80s and ’90s and through the first part of 2000, even when we were on solid – when the economy was growing, the middle class was slipping – middle class was slipping.
  • We’ve only been in office about a  month.  The first bill to pass, Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.  What happened then?  We named a Secretary of Labor – who I guess came down and spoke to you all.  We named a Secretary of Labor who is a daughter of union members, not the darling of union busters.  A little change over the first executive orders, first version in the past eight years, and making it clear we want to see a project labor agreement on federal construction projects.  Second order: making sure that taxpayer dollars go to something other than union-busting activities.
  • On the Employee Free Choice Act, folks, let’s get it straight – we’re not asking – we’re not asking for anything we don’t deserve.  And we’re not asking for anything that wasn’t intended when the NLRB said we should be encouraging – encouraging – unions.  We just want to level this playing field again.
  • If a union is what you want, a union you’re entitled to have.

Of course I have some problems with what he said.

First – the average CEO does not make $10,000 per day.  The averageCEO employs less than 100 people and makes a fraction of $10,000 per day.  The $10,000 per day figure is bantered around by unions all the time now.  The CEO of Bank of America made that much one year.  And now that number is the “average” of what CEOs make. 

Second – the Obama Administration has just went on record to say that it will judge the success or failure of its administration on whether the standard of living of the middle class increased.  Not whether the United States remains a superpower.  Not whether the Middle East is secure.  Not whether illegal immigration is controlled.  Not whether the stock market has rebounded.  Not whether gas prices have remained stagnant and alternative fuel vehicles are more prevalent.  Not whether education prepares students to compete on a truly global platform.  Not whether the unemployment rate has shrunk – because remember the saying during the Great Depression when unionization ran rampant, a unionized job is a good job, if you can get it.

Third – on the Employee Free Choice act, Biden says we aren’t asking for anything we don’t deserve, and if a union is what you want, a union you’re entitled to have.  Since when do employees deserve unions?  Employees deserve to be treated and paid fairly and have their employers follow the myriad of labor and employment laws already in place to ensure that they are treated and paid fairly.  Likewise, they are entitled to be treated and paid fairly and have their employers follow the myriad of labor and employment laws already in place to ensure that they are treated and paid fairly.  Biden lets the cat out of the bag – union members believe they deserve and are entitled to outrageous demands simply for being an employee.