the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Meeting of the Minds

Posted by Jeff Id on February 24, 2009

Yeah, I’m a conservative. Not a republican so don’t attach that label to me. Tamino or Real Climate have plenty of others if you’re looking for one but we’re looking to the future.

This really deserves some attention.

Special Interests Dominate Fiscal Responsibility Summit

I’m just going to copy the names and people convened to decide how to tackle the most extreme economic problem the US has experienced in decades. This is the illustrious crowd our leader decided had the right credentials to advise him.

Unions
John Gage, American Federation of Government Employees
John Sweeney, AFL-CIO
Gerry McEntee, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers
Anna Burger, Change to Win
Dennis Van Roekel, National Education Association
Andy Stern, Service Employees Union International

Health Care Associations
Richard Umbdenstock, American Hospital Association
Nancy Neilson , American Medical Association
Becky Patton, American Nurses Association

Health Policy Foundations
Karen Davis, Commonwealth Fund
Drew Altman, Kaiser Family Foundation

Racial and Ethnic Interest Groups
Karen Narasaki, Asian American Justice Center (AAJC)
Dr. Ho Tran, Asian Pacific Islanders American Health Forum (APIAHF)
Gary Flowers, Black Leadership Forum
Eleanor Hinton Hoytt, Black Womens Health Imperative
Maya Rockeymoore, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation
Hilary Shelton, NAACP
Jackie Johnson Pata, National Congress of American Indians
Janet Murguia, National Council of La Raza
Marc Morial, National Urban League (NY)

Seniors, Women, Disabled, Gay Rights Groups
Bill Novelli, AARP
Ed Coyle, Alliance for Retired Americans
Marty Ford, Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities
Ellie Smeal, Feminist Majority
Joe Salomonese, Human Rights Campaign
Heidi Hartmann, Institute for Women’s Policy

Left-Leaning Think Tanks and Advocacy Groups
Alice Rivlin, Brookings Institution
Roger Hickey, Campaign for America’s Future
John Podesta, Center for American Progress
Larry Korb, Center for American Progress
Dean Baker, Center for Economic and Policy Research
Robert Greenstein, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Lawrence Mishel, Economic Policy Institute
John Cavanagh, Institue for Policy Studies
Barbara B. Kennelly, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare
Al From, Progressive Policy Institute
Robert Reischauer, Urban Institute

Right-Leaning Think Tanks and Advocacy Groups
Kevin Hassitt, American Enterprise Institute
Maya MacGuinneas, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
Bob Bixby, Concord Coalition
Stewart Butler, Heritage Foundation
David Walker, Peter G. Peterson Foundation
Peter Peterson, Peter G. Peterson Foundation
Ron Pollack, Families USA

Business Interest Groups
John Castellani, Business Roundtable
Joe Minarek, Center for Economic Development
Martin Regalia, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Todd Stottlemyer, National Association of Independent Businesses

Universities
Bill Spriggs, Howard University
Fernando Torres-Gil, UCLA
Michael Graetz, Yale

Wall Street Law Firm
Fred Goldberg, Skadden

Retirement and Financial Services Firm
Roger Ferguson, Teachers Insurance and Annuities Association-College Retirement Education Fund

Former John McCain Adviser
Douglas Holtz-Eakin

Congressional Budget Office
Doug Elmendorf, Director

I deleted several of my own comments already and am the current record holder for the most snipped person on this blog. I’m going to go crush some rocks.


14 Responses to “Meeting of the Minds”

  1. Jeff C. said

    Quite a list. Nice to know that stooges for the teacher’s unions, militant feminists and the blue-rinse wide loads are working hard to spend a trillion dollars that my one and four year-old children are on the hook to pay back. We got some winners from our side too. From the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, Peter Peterson (otherwise know as Mr. Modesty). If your goal is to wastefully spend as much money as quickly as possible, it looks like a good list. If your goal is to stimulate the economy, the wish list from this collection of proverbial suckers of the public you-know-what sure hasn’t impressed the markets.

  2. Kev of Oz said

    Deep breaths Jeff, deep breaths –

    Our own newly re-minted social democrat PM – Kevin747 ( Aussies get it ) – pulled the same stunt here not long after his party took the treasury benches.

    Pulled all the vested interest groups in, and a few token dissenters as a sop to project balance, for a 2020 Summit.

    Made the Permanently Outraged feel all warm, cuddly and noticed. Kevin747 wandered around the corridors pressing the flesh and apparently taking notes from all the various discussion streams. This might be a bit more difficult for President Obama to do with a Secret Service swat team in tow.

    A few observations from our trial run here. Keep the ostensible reason for the love-in vague – viz. 2020 Summit.

    ‘Fiscal Responsibility Summit’ seems a tad more defined – but is it a summit to inculcate greater fiscal responsibility in the future or is it a witch hunt to apportion responsibility ( blame ) for the fiscal meltdown consuming us all now ?

    If the latter, it looks like the representatives of business are seriously outnumbered and at risk of a lynch mob. And the Director of the Congressional Budget Office is going to struggle to be heard. Keep the engines on the stretch limos turning over in case of a hasty exit.

    Invite more representatives of The Arts. Actors, artists and the like LOVE to feel that the powers-that-be heed their pronouncements – they are artists of course and therefore morally superior. And makes for some great photo ops for the Presidential photo album !! Note to the Pres’s PA – get autographs for the kids.

    Lastly – and this is really, really important. Only trusted aides and staff must take the minutes for each session, and summarise the discussions and conclusions arrived at as the Official Record.

    The prevents random outbursts of popular sentiment and participatory democracy that can threaten the 24 hour news spin cycle.

    Afterwards – everyone goes home with a souvenir pen and the Permanently Outraged have a lingering glow of satisfaction, and the powers-that-be can get back to implementing their real agendas without too many squeaks from the activists and artistes.

    Jeff – nothing new under the sun, we are politically about twelve months ahead of you down the curve except our banks are in much better shape – our politicians were actually working to tighten up the repositories of commerce and savings – not turn them into casinos.

  3. Adam Gallon said

    Has he started to talk about “Prudence” and abolishing “Boom & Bust” yet?
    If so, be worried, be very, very worried.

  4. Michael Smith said

    At various times during the presidential campaign, Obama promised to do the following:

    1) Raise the top individual income tax rate.
    2) Raise the corporate tax rate.
    3) Raise the dividend tax rate.
    4) Raise the capital gains tax rate.
    5) Create a new tax on businesses that outsource jobs overseas.
    6) Punish the oil companies by seizing a portion of their profits.
    7) Punish the pharmaceutical companies by seizing a portion of their profits.
    8) “Spread the wealth around” with a scheme whereby those who don’t currently pay taxes will receive a rebate funded by those who DO pay taxes — a scheme which Obama calls a “tax cut”.
    9) Eliminate the secret ballot in union elections and allow union organizers to bring intimidation and threats to bear directly on anyone who dares to oppose a union.
    10) Raise the minimum wage by 50%.
    11) Impose “cap and trade” limits on CO2 emissions that will, in Obama’s words, “cause electricity rates to soar” and “bankrupt anyone who builds a coal-fired power plant”.
    12) Force all businesses to pay 100% of their employee’s healthcare costs.
    13) Complete the nationalization of the healthcare industry.
    14) Impose protectionist trade restrictions by “renegotiating” existing free trade agreements.
    15) Commit America to funding U.N. anti-poverty programs, so that American taxpayers are not only bled to fund our home-grown bums and deadbeats, but the whole world’s as well.

    In short, in view of what Obama and the Democrats plan to do, you’d be crazy to invest in any business at the moment — and the stock market reflects this verdict. This is why no one wants to borrow money for expansion at the moment, no matter how low the Fed pushes interest rates. And this is why there will be no economic recovery no matter how much of our money Obama loots and spends.

    Obama’s economic agenda is a disaster-in-waiting. He is set to repeat every mistake Hoover and Roosevelt made, plus add in disastrous pro-environmentalists restrictions on energy use as well. If he does one-third of what he’s promised, our goose is cooked for many years to come.

  5. Matt Y. said

    I can’t wait to tell my children about how America used to be the land of opportunity — a place where hard work and talent meant more than having a good lobbyist or belonging to the right special interest group.

  6. AEGeneral said

    You can have my thermostat when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.

    It’s inevitable, isn’t it? GPS-controlled, government-issued thermostats. If you won’t conserve, you’ll be forced to. Without any new coal or nuclear power plants, there’s not enough to go around. And it’s the typical bureaucratic solution to a bureaucratic-caused problem.

    I hate to say it, but hell….I said it two years ago. There will be another tea party in this country in the next decade. Not that I’m encouraging it, don’t misunderstand. It’s just what I see. You can only push people in this country so far.

    I saw it in Nashville about 5 years ago when they tried to have a secret meeting in the state legislature to pass a state income tax, despite the fact that it’s unconstitutional here & despite the fact that 85% were opposed to it. When word got out on local radio, a group of citizens broke down the doors & stormed the capital building. Sometimes that’s what it takes to remind the bureaucrats who’s really in charge.

    And to reiterate what Michael said above, you’d be crazy to invest in the market right now. This is going to take at least 15 years given the next 4 will be wasted.

  7. Matt Y. said

    Re #4 and #6, I’m not a big fan of internet predictions of apocolypse (global warming in particular), but it is hard to deny this one. A perfect storm of events has brought the fringe left into power in this country, and the damage to the country may be permanent. Economic growth will take a back seat to radical environmentalism, punitive taxation and regulation, and “social justice” for at least the next 2 years. People living in 1500 sq ft homes won’t have to be envious of people living in 4000 sq ft homes anymore when we are all living in government shelters. Give me egalitarianism, or give me death!

  8. page48 said

    “the Permanently Outraged” – Love that term. Great post!

  9. Tim L said

    Yeah, I’m a conservative….. HOW DARE YOU!!!!! say such a thing!!!!
    LMAO…….
    They are SO liberal they make you look/feel that way!!!!
    It is there fault!!!!!!
    good air in…. bad air out…. CO2 polluted that is( EPA )
    Doh!!!!!!
    We in deep do do… chest waders?

  10. Ron H. said

    Re #4 I have been upset by each of these items individually, but when I see the entire list on one page I am truly afraid.

  11. Ron H. said

    I don’t see Paul Krugman’s name on this list. He certainly has some unique ideas on how to “stimulate” the economy. It would appear from this NYT article on 09/14/01 that he saw opportunities for construction companies after 9/11.

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE7DC1138F937A2575AC0A9679C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=1

    “First, the driving force behind the economic slowdown has been a plunge in business investment. Now, all of a sudden, we need some new office buildings. As I’ve already indicated, the destruction isn’t big compared with the economy, but rebuilding will generate at least some increase in business spending.”

    Are there any other “broken windows” around these days?

  12. JAE said

    They need to include the VP to add some levity to the meetings.

  13. Tax Guy said

    I’ve been interested in taxations for longer then I care to admit, both on the individualized side (all my employed life-time!!) and from a legal stand since satisfying the bar and pursuing tax law. I’ve put up a lot of advice and corrected a lot of wrongs, and I must say that what you’ve posted makes complete sense. Please persist in the good work – the more people know the better they’ll be armed to handle with the tax man, and that’s what it’s all about.

  14. I agree with a lot of what youre saying here but it could do with more detail. – That’s what’s cool about working with computers. They don’t argue, they remember everything and they don’t drink all your beer. Attributed to Paul Leary

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