If the president is going to pack the panel with cronies, how "independent" is it going to be?
Chris Good of the Atlantic:
Oddly enough, SEIU actually lobbied against the creation of a bipartisan deficit commission when it was being considered in the Senate, concerned with the quasi-binding nature of the suggestions that would have been offered under that commission--the Senate bill required congressional leaders to introduce the commission's proposals, which would be produced as a bill, for up-or-down votes in their respective chambers. Under Obama's commission, Congress isn't bound to vote on its proposals: lawmakers can tweak them, allow for amendments, or reject them outright.
Stern has been a fixture of White House summit meetings--perhaps most prominently, he was included in the health care industry meetings at the White House last year.
Stern doesn't sit on any other White House commissions, but SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger, who leads the labor coalition Change to Win (a political brainchild of Stern) sits on the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board and Vice President Joe Biden's middle class task force.
Labor has a lot of enemies, and not everyone is happy about Stern's appointment: "It appears we have moved from the state of the surreal to the land of outright insanity if our leaders are now taking advice from Big Labor bosses who have run their own programs into the ground," said Katie Packer, executive director of the Workforce Fairness Institute, an organization formed as a diametric opposite to union labor-policy initiatives.
This debt panel is lining up to be a "soak the rich" exercise. And toothless to boot. Still, it will be interesting to see what the Democrat's idea of deficit reduction looks like. Let me guess; massive cuts in defense, raising corporate tax rates - already the highest in the industrialized world, and the aforementioned raising taxes on the rich.
Yeah - that'll work.