Yesterday the Center for Union Facts expressed puzzlement and disbelief following the Washington Post report that Service Employees International Union (SEIU) President Andy Stern may be nominated to President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.
“Putting Andy Stern on a debt reduction commission is the equivalent of putting a tax cheat in charge of the Internal Revenue Service, but crazier things have happened in Washington” said J. Justin Wilson, Managing Director of the Center for Union Facts. “Stern and his unions know a thing or two about government debt, as they do their fair share to contribute to it. The SEIU has single-handedly driven more than a few states to the edge of fiscal insolvency. We can’t let him do the same to the rest of the country.”
The rumor that Stern will sit on the budget panel should not come as a surprise, given his long history of thwarting states’ attempts to balance their budgets. Stern’s SEIU, and other unions that represent state employees, have blocked many attempts to renegotiate state employees salaries and benefits.
For instance, as California struggles to avoid bankruptcy and close a $20 billion dollar budget deficit, unions including the SEIU have fought tooth and nail against any effort by legislators to save money. California also faces $100 billion in unfunded pension liabilities in the next five years, but unions have vowed to reject any attempt to fix the pension crisis—and therefore any effort to address the state’s financial meltdown.
Equally entangled in their own budget crisis of unions’ making, New York State is working to close a $7.4 billion dollar deficit. Last month, Governor Paterson stated that the public sector unions were “thumb[ing] their nose at the public’s face.”
“Stern’s self-serving brand of ‘deficit reduction’ would likely increase taxes on everyone to pay for the pensions and wages of a few—without regard for our nation’s fiscal future,” Wilson continued.