President Stealth

In Britain, unions were given unprecedented power over their managers. The end result was an economy in downfall, falling living standards, and investor capital fleeing -or never coming. Margaret Thatcher broke the back of this economic regime and growth recovered.  But only after years of stagnation that set back Britain for many years.

Now the so-called British disease is coming to America, thanks to deft and near invisible sleights of hand by Barack Obama.

He is using one of his favorite tools, the executive order, to bring about big changes in how government workers are managed. Now their union leaders -- who do not have to be government employees -- have been given power to control how managers manage the federal work force. Furthermore, through a clever maneuver on his part, the actions that flow from this power will remain invisible to the rest of us. Obama  has made them immune from Freedom of Information Act requests. Barack Obama promised "the most transparent administration in history."  How is that campaign slogan working out now that he has been in power two years?  Not so well, apparently.

From a Washington Examiner editorial:

Sadly, an executive order signed by President Obama in 2009 has injected a massive dose of the British disease into the daily operation of the federal government. Executive Order 13522 is innocuously titled "Creating Labor-Management Forums to Improve Delivery of Government Services." The reality is that the only thing improved will be the ability of federal employee union bosses to tell managers of government departments and agencies what they can and cannot do. What makes this an even more extraordinary turn of events, however, is the fact the Obama administration has empowered union bosses to exercise this new power behind closed doors without fear of exposure via the Freedom of Information Act.

The Obama executive order established the National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations, which oversees implementation of the new policy with labor-management forums within federal departments and agencies. The forums are the formal vehicle by which the union bosses -- who may or may not be federal employees -- will impose their will on federal managers, including Cabinet secretaries and independent agency heads. According to a recently distributed guidance memorandum signed by Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry and Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director Jeffrey Zients, federal managers must "allow pre-decisional involvement with unions in all workplace matters to the fullest extent practicable, without regard to whether those matters are negotiable subjects of bargaining."

Use of the term "pre-decisional" means documents produced prior to a specific policy decision are exempt from disclosure under the FOIA. And requiring federal managers to involve union bosses on all matters regardless of whether they are negotiable under the law effectively gives them a veto on virtually any workplace issue.

Barack Obama is fond of these types of unaccountable actions (executive orders, recess appointments, signing orders, rule and regulation making and the like). He enjoys flexing his muscles, doing end-runs around Congress, avoiding scrutiny or any check on his power. Stanley Kurtz looked at his record as a state senator and called him "Senator Stealth" for a good reason. Now Senator Stealth has become President Stealth. And he is exercising his magic on behalf of union allies and at our expense.

He constantly is rewarding his union allies who supported him so heavily in his campaign (didn't he counsel that people should "punish their enemies and reward their friends"?) . He used a recess appointment to put an Service Employees International union (SEIU) lawyer on the National Labor Relations Board ; he has cut funding for the department that provides government oversight of union spending (yes..he actually cut federal spending at least when it comes to preventing union fraud or monitoring of union spending on elections); there has been a steady rollback of union transparency by Barack Obama giving rise to concern that fraud will become rampant (even union members want more transparency regarding how their leaders spend their dues).

New regulations exempt many union trust funds, such as strike funds and apprenticeship programs, from financial disclosure laws.  These regulations also end financial reporting for many government unions.  These actions have given rise to calls for Congress to block the Obama's overtly pro-union agenda.

Despite a staggering budget deficit, he used an executive order that requires government contracts abide by the Davis-Bacon Act that requires contractors receiving federal contracts to pay their workers artificially inflated wages "that rip off taxpayers while lining the pockets of organized labor." According to research by Suffolk University economists, Davis-Bacon has raised the construction wages on federal projects 22 % above the market rate. Basically, union workers end up being hired and you, the taxpayer, pays for their inflated wages. Thank you, Barack Obama.

Now he is extending the favoritism to government workers.

Regarding government workers, it is telling that his administration has been faulted for doing a poor job enforcing the Hatch Act, the federal law that prohibits electioneering by government workers while they are working.  

Government workers are already quite well compensated. Their federal pay, health care and pension packages are the envy of workers who perform comparable work in the private sector (the federal government pays an average of 20 percent more).  On top of that munificence, courtesy of the taxpayer, they are seemingly becoming immune from management supervision. Of 2.1 million federal workers, a grand total of only 177 received unsatisfactory ratings in 2009. And 150 of those still received an automatic pay raise. Don't they already enjoy a sweet deal?

And Barack Obama wants to give them more control over management-and doesn't want the public to know. Worker control over the means of production? Hmm..what does that sound like?

We are steps closer  to becoming the Unionized States of America.