Wednesday, February 11, 2009

On a clear day

Transparency. Accountability.

President Obama, those are good words and even better actions.

So, how far does that go?

You have signed three executive orders in your first three weeks in office that strongly encourage the use of union labor for projects that the federal government is about to launch, assuming this “stimulus” bill passes.

You recently invited labor and union leaders to the White House as you introduced Vice President Biden and the “middle-class task force”.

At that gathering on January 30, this is what you said. "We need to level the playing field for workers and the unions that represent their interests," Obama said during a signing ceremony in the East Room of the White House.

"I do not view the labor movement as part of the problem. To me, it's part of the solution," he said. "You cannot have a strong middle class without a strong labor movement."

The New York Times reported “Mr. Obama's and Mr. Biden's remarks pleased union leaders. ‘It's a new day for workers,’ said James P. Hoffa, the Teamsters president, who attended the White House ceremony. ‘We finally have a White House that is dedicated to working with us to rebuild our middle class. Hope for the American Dream is being restored.”

So, you want the unions to be in the lead of this economic recovery. Billions of dollars in new jobs would be funneled to union labor to rebuild our infrastructure. Taxpayer money would be going to unions.

Under the transparency and accountability doctrine, will the American taxpayers be allowed to see how much union leaders are paid? Like, James Hoffa? The son of Jimmy Hoffa?

If you put limits on the incomes of executives at banks and auto companies that take federal funds, why not the union leaders who stand to take in millions of new dollars in dues?

And, by the way, I grew up as middle class as it comes. My dad banged away running a barbecue restaurant and then became a residential real estate agent. My mom worked as a secretary for the school board. I don’t recall “a strong labor movement” helping my pop hump sales by sitting in cold open houses on countless Sunday afternoons. I don’t recall a “strong labor movement” helping my mom get a job typing letters on that good old IBM Selectric.

President Obama, transparency and accountability are two themes you have introduced that will define you. Please make sure you carry thru. We will be watching.

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