Labor

National Deficit-Reduction Commissioner: "The market-worshipping, privatizing, de-regulating, dehumanizing American financial plan has failed and should never be revived"

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It's hardly surprising that President Obama's deficit commission has become a font of unintented (if wince-inducing) hoo-larity. Nor is it a shocker that diabolically effective labor organizer Andy Stern would be brazen about re-molding government to benefit public sector workers at the direct expense of the rest of us. Still, there's something irritating about seeing a presidentially appointed deficit commissioner and inner circle FoB uncork statements like these:

Any resemblance to Bill Maher is purely coincidental

"America needs a 21st century economic plan because we now know the market-worshipping, privatizing, de-regulating, dehumanizing American financial plan has failed and should never be revived, worshipping the market again," Stern said in remarks at the annual conference of the liberal activist group Campaign for America's Future in Washington on Monday.

"It has failed America and everyone that works here," Stern said.

Stern said the changes that Obama and Democrats in Congress have made are nothing short of a "revolution" that will move the American economy from national to international.

"This not our father's or our grandfather's economy," Stern said. "We're as far today from the New Deal as the New Deal was from the Civil War. And we cannot drive into the future looking in the rear view mirror."

He said the progressive movement must build on the past and look to the future as the economy is transformed "from a manufacturing base, to a service, finance, knowledge, green, Internet, and bio-science economy."

"This revolution's going to only take 30 years," Stern said. "No single generation of people have ever witnessed this much change in a single lifetime. […] And as we've witnessed now in the absence of a simple and realistic way forward, people – even us – sometimes resist the future or try to turn back the clock to days that are now long gone."

You can watch the video at C-SPAN.

Once more, with feeling: 1) George W. Bush was not remotely a deregulator. 2) He was, in fact, a "big government disaster" (well, the "big government" is fact, and the "disaster" is well-considered opinion). 3) If the federal government has been busy "privatizing," this past decade, I for one haven't heard much about it, and I work for a foundation that publishes something called Privatization Watch. And I will let our friendly neighborhood commenters chew on what does and does not make a particular economic policy "dehumanizing."

An idle closing thought: Long after the public mood has soured on Obamanomics and Democrat interest-group policy, the structures and personages that keep cranking the stuff out will still be standing. Having an Andy Stern anywhere near the levers of government economic power should be a wake-up call to anyone who prefers markets to mandates, choice to control, capitalism to corporatism.

NEXT: Now Playing at Reason.tv: Overdose! The Next Financial Crisis

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  1. I’m glad that all of these not-socialists are not trying to destroy what’s left of the free market.

    1. And don’t you just love hearing “we cannot drive into the future looking in the rear view mirror” from a big-union guy, most of whose economic thinking seems straight out of the 1930s?

      1. Big-labor types just can’t resist the automobile metaphors. A more fitting one is used often when a baseball game gets out of hand for one of the teams: “The wheels are coming off.”

      2. Somebody should tell Stern that “We can’t drive into the future in a piece of shit car that doesn’t work.”

  2. “This revolution’s going to only take 30 years”
    Beacause that last 100 years of people’s revolutions has worked out so well for everyone.

  3. This really is the kind of story that makes me look stupid when defending Obama to my Rush Limbaugh-conservative friends.

    1. Why would you defend the indefensible?

    2. You don’t have to like Limbaugh, but what on Earth is there to defend about Obama?

      If this makes you look stupid maybe you should take a step back and consider whether looks are always deceiving.

  4. “…from a manufacturing base, to a service, finance, knowledge, green, Internet, and bio-science economy.”

    Careful, Andy. I’m not sure how purple many of those new things will turn out to be, try as you might.

  5. “This revolution’s going to only take 30 years,”

    So, what, six 5-year plans?

    1. That’s like what? 100 million people dead? It will be a golden age for the grave-diggers. It also sounds like something the Keyenesians could get behind.

  6. “It has failed America and everyone that works here,” Stern said.

    SIUYA, Andy.

  7. I only recognize two of those four dudes.

    1. I can only hope that those four confused and unfortunate-looking dudes are as heavily medicated as another retina-damaging foursome. Pop a few more Vikes, ladydude; you’re going to need them.

      1. Wow, Dagny! When did you go Madame Toussaud’s Wax Museum? I’ll bet there’s enough plastic and paraffin to plug the rest of the hole in the Gulf.

    2. Looks to me like Obama, Lester Freamon, Joe Lieberman and Bill Maher. Isn’t that right?

      1. Having Lester near the levers of government would make me sleep much, much easier. Sadly, that ain’t him.

      2. More like Mo, Larry, Shemp, and Curley

  8. We are so screwed.
    DOOOOM

    1. Damn you warren. The one time I get the drop and nobody reads the thread

      DOOM SQUARED

  9. He said the progressive movement must build on the past and look to the future as the economy is transformed

    You know, I used to dismiss certain right-wing claims that a significant number of leftists were bone-deep socialists-in-the-wings, trying (and waiting for chances) to deeply socialize the country. I am rethinking such dismissal as more and more of these fuckers open their mouths in what they feel is now a seemingly safe environment; that they have the upper hand.

    1. “This revolution’s going to only take 30 years,” Stern said. “No single generation of people have ever witnessed this much change in a single lifetime. […] And as we’ve witnessed now in the absence of a simple and realistic way forward, people ? even us ? sometimes resist the future or try to turn back the clock to days that are now long gone.”

      I am convinced there are many more Maoists hiding in the woodwork, Epi, and they will get braver and less inhibited about proclaiming their collectivists beliefs as the economy tanks. As entitlements expand to encapsulate and insulate the dwindling middle class, more will indeed gladly give up liberty for a faux sense of security until the bill comes due, which I believe will be sooner than later.

      I really believe this dime store Bill Maher look-a-like is the tip of the iceberg.

      1. I think you’re right Groovus. As more people are put on the government dole the more secure & vocal the Maoists will become. It won’t be long before they turn this country into Greece.

      2. Will they become more bold as everything goes to hell? Will they want to own this then? They’ve shown themselves to be remarkably stupid; as soon as things look like it’s going their way, they step out and expose themselves for what they are. You’d think they’d hold off a bit and see how the wind blows, but they’re feeling their oats now, and want to crow about it.

        1. Right. Because it was happenstance holding their genius back up until this point. What’s the old law? “The behavior of any large bureaucracy can be predicted by assuming it to be run by a cabal of its enemies.” I believe they’ve reached critical mass.

      3. Will they become more bold as everything goes to hell? Will they want to own this then?

        Yes, yes they will. That is when the boot to the neck approach will be applied. We aren’t Greece in the sense that we have someone to bail us, as a nation, out. To quote Warren, “DOOOM!”

        This is where using the crony TEAM RED as useful idiots is handy, and TEAM BLUE pointing to them about how they wrecked the economy (there is truth to this) to the point of the necessity of the nationalization of industry. They still use The Shrub as a scapegoat, and will not run out of scapegoats. Gridlock, to me, will merely slow the inevitable. I plan to vote for as much gridlock as possible.

        I’m still not sure which is more in play here: either masterful planning or sheer incompetence. My personal theory is the the planning is there with existing groundwork laid by largely the previous administration, but the sheer incompetent execution is necessitating hurrying that plan along. I also think as much PR damage this administration is getting a la BP, they are not at all sorry this happened and see it as a chance to bully pulpit for Green tech.

        As Rahm Emmanuel said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

    2. They’re the black shirts in this show.

      Well, purple shirts, but anyway.

    3. I keep expecting the word “smash” to make a reappearance.

  10. I’m glad I don’t have any children. I feel sorry for my nieces and nephews.

    One of these days, the Treasury will have an auction, and nobody will come.

    1. Two kids and 4 grand-kids. I am deeply worried about their future.

    2. Who will you ask to avenge you?

      Two kids, who are royally fucked. The bill should come due just as they graduate from college. Assuming we don’t become the Wiemar Republic before then.

    3. Maybe it’s partially because I’m young, but I can’t even pretend to understand why a person would choose to have children in this day and age.

      Not just libertarians, either–every side has its conspiracy theories and pet ideas about how the other party is going to wind up destroying the country by war, climate change, economic collapse, bloody revolution, totalitarian takeover, socialist takeover, or whatever. If they really believe that, how can they choose to have kids regardless?

      1. I figure I HAVE to have kids if civilization is going to have a fighting chance. I’m sure as shit not trusting EVERYONE ELSE’S kids to make sure that we aren’t all speaking Chinese by the time I retire.

        1. exactly. The future needs my DNA.

      2. So what? It’s always like that, it’s always been like that, and it always will be like that, and people still have children.

      3. Because they prefer doing it skin to skin.

        I’m fairly certain that more kids born these days due to that reason than any other. There ain’t much thought about it.

        1. Probably at least half are Saturday Night Specials.

      4. “why a person would choose to have children in this day and age”

        To fight the good fight that’s why. Shits been more fucked up then this in the past. Thank good we have better weapons then our predecessors,

      5. Maybe it’s partially because I’m young, but I can’t even pretend to understand why a person would choose to have children in this day and age.

        A little historical perspective is in order. My parents were born in the 1930s when pretty much everything was going to shit so much faster and deeper than now that there’s just no comparison. If my grandparents could find the optimism to reproduce in the mid 1930s, it really shouldn’t be that hard now.

  11. Mandarin classes start in 2 months. I can’t find Portuguese.

    1. I’ll teach you. Let’s meet at the Village Bar in Des Peres and we’ll get the obligatory profanity out of the way.

  12. And as we’ve witnessed now in the absence of a simple and realistic way forward, people ? even us ? sometimes resist the future or try to turn back the clock to days that are now long gone.”

    Wait, *even you*? Does the labor movement try to do anything that isn’t encased in concrete, enmeshed in carbon fiber, sunk to the bottom of the ocean and weighted down with scrap metal that then has a nuclear device detonated right above?

  13. Andy Stern, may I suggest you consider lead with just a hint of potassium nitrate for your next meal?

    1. A high fiber meal originating from Louisville would be more fun.

  14. Of course, all this debt we’re racking up along the way will just go away on its own. No worries!

  15. There’s a reason why Americans are arming themselves at record breaking rates.

  16. I miss Bill Clinton; those were the days.

    1. Clinton would have done this sort of crap if he he had the majorities in Congress Obama has. He only cut back on the radical aspects of his agenda when he realized it would not get him re-elected. The difference between Clinton and Obama is that Obama may lack the level of narcissism to not risk losing the chance at a 2nd term.

  17. Andy Stern is a very good argument for violence as a solution.

    1. Pinkertons…we need the Pinkertons…

  18. The odds are that Andy Stern retired to avoid, well, maybe going to jail. His fist-pumping jive can’t hide the fact that “the next John L. Lewis”* turned out to be a dud, just like the past dozen.

    *Unless you’re even older than I am, you don’t really remember John L. He talked like the King James bible** and created the CIO, a haven for communists, which never bothered John L. and the West Virginia miners who loved him because Lewis was meaner than any commie.

    **Sample Lewis rhetoric, when FDR faulted both sides in the “Little Steel” strike: “It ill behooves one who has supped at Labor’s table and dined on Labor’s bounty to now curse, with equal fervor, and fine impartiality, Labor and her adversary, when they are locked in deadly embrace.”

  19. As much as Beck likes to rail on Cass Sunstein, I think Stern is far more dangerous and capable of wreaking economic havoc.

    “Yes! All laws of economics and human behavior have been repealed! Government will save us!”

    All of this only cements in my mind that the currency bubble is coming and these asshats are going to make sure nobody stops it. I’m beginning to appreciate Rothbard more and more. Giving these idiots even a minute amount of power is insane.

    1. It’s like this guy is TRYING to make Beck look sane.

  20. He said the progressive movement must build on the past and look to the future as the economy is transformed “from a manufacturing base, to a service, finance, knowledge, green, Internet, and bio-science economy.”

    Isn’t that what we’ve had the last few decades? Isn’t that the economy where we were going to flip our houses to each other to prosperity? Seems to me, and I could just be crazy, that that economy just blew the fuck up.

  21. “This not our father’s or our grandfather’s economy,” [Andy] Stern said. “We’re as far today from the New Deal as the New Deal was from the Civil War.[…]

    All the way to Pluto.

    […] And we cannot drive into the future looking in the rear view mirror.”

    Especially if in the rear view mirror we get to see the sign that says “Bridge Down”. Nobody wants a party-pooper . . .

    1. Wouldn’t that mean we already passed the bridge that was down?

  22. “…we now know the market-worshipping, privatizing, de-regulating, dehumanizing American financial plan has failed and should never be revived, worshipping the market again,” Stern said

    “We shouldn’t worship the market…not market worship…do not worket the marship…the market shouldn’t be worshipped again…” Stern then babbled on, using the words “market” and “worship” in various combinations upwards of thirty times.

  23. Andy Stern, the former head of the Service Employees International Union who now sits on President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform,

    Call me crazy, but I just don’t believe Andy Stern knows a goddam thing about “deficit reduction”. And neither does the buffoon who appointed him.

    1. Nonsense, he is a specialist in the deficit since his organization helped produce and expand it.

  24. He said the progressive movement must build on the past and look to the future as the economy is transformed “from a manufacturing base, to a service, finance, knowledge, green, Internet, and bio-science economy.”

    I’m at a complete loss trying to come up with any single more terrifying individual that has the ear of POTUS. He sounds like some cracked out firebrand flailing some piece of 1990’s obsolescence over his head and shouting, “Follow me to prosperity!”

    1. Jerry Falwell comes pretty close.

      1. Isn’t he dead?

      2. I missed reading about all those economic policy boards Jerry Falwell was on?

  25. Tangential to topic:

    [BP CEO Tony] Hayward, whose sardonic English tones and comments, including a prediction that the Gulf spill would be “very, very modest,” have irked some Americans, found himself directly in Obama’s cross-hairs.

    “He wouldn’t be working for me after making any of those statements,” Obama said on the NBC “Today Show,” after being criticized for what pundits said was a too tepid reaction to the disaster.

    Is it to anyone else not very encouraging that the current U.S. President seems to relate to everyone in terms of potentially working for him (or at his pleasure)?

  26. At first I just bought a little silver, a hand gun, and little bit of food to store, nothing big. But the more these fuckers talk, the more I am finding myself researching places to expatriate to.

    1. Canada is pretty lenient (esp. if you speak any French, and have an advanced degree) but they’ll get hit hard along with us.

      I’m wondering what NZ / Oz are looking for in their immigrants.

      1. Not from an Asian country with a muslim plurality or majority, english-speaking, and degreed. Helps to nod and smile when they start talking about their football, whose rules are even more incomprehensible to outsiders than American football.

        1. Maybe it would help if you say “Sounds terrific! Can I buy you a beer?”

  27. Less than two weeks ago, a blue-ribbon commission charged with solving the nation’s staggering national debt seemed, like the country itself, to be running out of money.

    Senate majority leader Harry Reid indicated in a May 28 letter that the commission had complained to him about inadequate resources. Commission members griped they didn’t have enough money to hold hearings around the country, according to a report by Tax Analysts, a non-profit website.

    But now the commission’s executive director, Bruce Reed, says its budget issues have been resolved, thanks to help from the White House. Reed, a former top aide to then-President Bill Clinton, says the administration dispatched 10-15 aides from the Treasury Department and several other agencies to meet the commission’s needs.

    Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2010/06…..z0qIhYb3i9

    1. Left off the headline:

      Deficit reduction commission bailed out by White House

  28. “This revolution’s going to only take 30 years,” Stern said.

    Perhaps. What about the one after this?

  29. This “revolution” won’t be bloodless, I’m afraid. I’m taking reservations for my mountain cabin retreat; first 10 takers get free gas masks.

  30. I am rethinking such dismissal as more and more of these fuckers open their mouths in what they feel is now a seemingly safe environment; that they have the upper hand.

    But Sarah Palin doesn’t even pretend she has “Maggie’s Farm” on her iPod.

    GET YOUR GODDAMN PRIORITIES STRAIGHT

  31. Still, there’s something irritating about seeing a presidentially appointed deficit commissioner and inner circle FoB uncork statements like [that]

    But Obama is not a socialist . . . m’kay?

  32. “Stern said the changes that Obama and Democrats in Congress have made are nothing short of a “revolution” that will move the American economy from national to international.”

    Umm… I think we went international a couple centuries ago. Some thing about trading cotton or tobacco comes to mind. I might be misremembering my history, though. I’m glad Mr. Stern, a truly selfless and altruistic man, is here to disabuse me of everything I know about American history and economics. I’m going to go home and burn all those books I’ve read and then go protest a banker’s house.

  33. Don’t worry. Our grandkids will all be making $1-million-a-year salaries.*

    *Never mind that a Big Mac will cost $50,000.

  34. Having an Andy Stern anywhere near the levers of government economic power should be a wake-up call to anyone who prefers markets to mandates, choice to control, capitalism to corporatism.

    You might want to drop that hint to a few of your fellow editors who seemed to forget this lesson in 2008. (I’m not accusing you, Matt – just saying, you know at least more than one Obama voter on staff.)

    1. The only current member of staff on that list is Ron Bailey, though Cavanaugh is a columnist.

  35. When it comes to guaranteeing profits, markets fail miserably.

    1. Maybe I was hung over during a few business classes in college, Michael, but since when have there ever been guaranteed profits from any entity? Anytime you hear guaranteed profits, there is usually a scam involved. Didn’t your mother tell you if things sound too good to be true, they are?

      Now I’m sure you thought this statement was some clever and witty thing, but in reality it just shows that you have no understanding that markets, just like any other human activity, including government, have ups and downs, periods of profit and periods of loss, and of course times of wisdom and times of serious stupidity. Guess which time we happen to be in at the moment.

    2. True, but then again they don’t make that promise. Anyone who does is a charlatan, and anyone who believes it is a fool.

  36. I see no problem with anything said by Mr. Stern.

  37. Fuck Me!!

    1. I’ll grab the rubbers.

  38. I expected Matt to write: “Fuck the Progressives and the Neo-conservatives they rode in on.”

  39. In response to Matt’s request that we speculate on what Mr. Stern finds “dehumanizing”:

    I propose that what he means is that any person who does not smile favorably on, and rain money upon, people who utter variations on the following sentence:

    “I didn’t get my work done because of ‘X’.”

    It’s really pretty much that simple.

    Paying for work performed or goods produced = inhuman.

    Paying for stories about work that could have been performed or goods that could have been produced if it weren’t for the sad weight of the world = human.

    Moving to the first state from the second state = dehumanizing.

    See?

  40. because we now know the market-worshipping, privatizing, de-regulating, dehumanizing American financial plan has failed and should never be revived, worshipping the market again

    Well, now we know where Tony gets his rhetoric from…unless Tony is Stern’s speechwriter (gastric acid reflux).

    1. As bad as Tony can be, it sounds more like Max is Stern’s speechwriter.

  41. But the more these fuckers talk, the more I am finding myself researching places to expatriate to.

    I’ve got a trip planned to Panama for later this year. Give it a look. Cheaper than Costa Rica, and with some pretty easy-to-satisfy permanent residency options.

    1. Thanks RC, I have been considering south america since I am so close to the border anyway.

  42. To be fair, the “revolution” Stern and Huffington mentions are the Tofflerian revolution (agriculture, industrial, informational). In the end however, after watching the video, I’d say Stern is an idealist who thinks government CAN help us have it all. He actually doesn’t propose any solid plan, just a lot of hopey-changey stuff. His anti-capitalist rhetoric though sure makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up a bit.

  43. LOL! Obama actually put Andy Stern in the commission?? WTF does that moron know about economics or deficit reduction? He’s just another stupid Big Labor leader. Head of SEIU, no less. The most uneducated and low-skilled workers on the planet, rather than get training for higher-paying jobs, think they have some kind of “right” to all these sweet benefits and much higher pay than what they’re worth or their productivity. Pfft

  44. And who the hell are those other 2 people by Obama in the pic? Looks like a duo of nobodies to me. Don’t tell me THEY’RE in the commission as well? *facepalm*

    Of course, why anyone with a brain needs a COMMISSION to reduce the deficit, rather than just cut all unnecessary spending (I can think of at least a few areas), is beyond me.

  45. This article and the comments made about it (if you could even call them that) reflect an ignorance of history, a lack of knowledge of current events and an appalling lack of understanding of any reality. Much less any concerns for an egalitarian democracy. And thereby we have the reasons for our current economic and moral crisis: an immoral corporate war oil bankster state for the plutocracy.

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