What is the Middle Class Task Force and Who is on it?

by Evan


I never knew until today that the Obama Administration, in his/their infinite wisdom, created The Middle Class Task Force.  According to the White House the Middle Class Task Force’s main initiative is to,

[raise]the living standards of middle-class, working families in America.

With specific goals of,

  • Expanding education and lifelong training opportunities
  • Improving work and family balance
  • Restoring labor standards, including workplace safety
  • Helping to protect middle-class and working-family incomes
  • Protecting retirement security

Wow, those are some hardcore goals, that are probably better suited…for I don’t know…THE GOVERNMENT AS A WHOLE! Regardless, of the stupidity that this group was going to look into workplace safety (along with OSHA, and 50 some odd State agencies), as well as, ‘protecting’ retirement security (hmmm, maybe tell their counterparts that they shouldn’t invade an already failing SSA fund), as well as, providing education and training, etc., I was curious as to who made up this obviously super-god like team of officials that are going to solve every problem.

Who is on the Middle Class Task Force?

As soon as I heard the term I got to thinking, who the the hell is on this ‘task force’?  Luckily, Wikipedia’s interlinking makes this post a lot easier to research!  The roster includes:

Roster of those on the Middle Class Task Force

Considering that beyond Joe Biden, I never heard of any of these people I figured some quick research was in order.  When I say quick it really means I focused on Wikipedia’s information on each person.  I am sure each member is likely to have supporters and detractors, but I was looking for impartial information.

Jared Bernstein

Very intertwined with the Economic Policy Institute, a think tank, and has previous positions associated with economics despite no formal training in the subject.  According to Wikipedia he is a strong critic of ‘fair trade’ as defined by NAFTA.

Hilda Solis

Ms. Solis seems to be a life long politician with ties going back to the Carter Administration.  “In her one term in the State Assembly, Solis was prominent in the debate on illegal immigration to the United States, backing a bill to allow undocumented immigrants to attend California colleges as long as they were state residents. She backed labor and opposed the tobacco industry in supporting a bill that banned smoking in all workplaces.”

Shaun Donovan

A fellow Harvard alum, he has worked for the gov’t since the Clinton Admin (between federal and NY state Depts).

Thomas Vilsack

An attorney with political ties to Iowa.  He attempted a presidential run against Obama but pulled out in the Democrat Primaries.

Steven Chu

A 1997 Nobel Peace Prize winner for the cooling and trapping of atoms with laser light (sounds way above this guy’s head).  He is a strong advocate for the use of alternative and nuclear energy.

Ron Kirk

An attorney from Texas, who “as of March 2007, one of the four highest paid lobbyists for Energy Future Holdings Corporation, the group created by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, TPG Capital and Goldman Sachs to acquire TXU.”  Ironically, he is a”a supporter of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), [and] his selection has drawn criticism from advocates of protectionist trade policies.  His nomination ran into further controversy when it was revealed that he owed $9,975 in back taxes.”  Suprise on the back taxes stuff!

Arne Duncan

Harvard Alum, very involved in Education who seems to be very good friends with President Obama from their days in Chicago.

My Take on the Middle Class Task Force

The people involved don’t seem to be crazy partisan nut jobs, but like I said earlier, I don’t know much about them.  Regardless of who is involved, it absolutely seems like a waste of time.

Those on the task force are from some of the most important positions in the Government and they are off once a month answer questions from the public.  They don’t seem to have any real power, and in the end it just seems like they are there so when President Obama goes for re-election he can say, “see, look what I started” without really showing any results.

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Investor Junkie February 19, 2010 - 3:30 pm

This sounds kinda like the debt task force Obama has created. No duh we have an issue. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out and devise what to do.

Let’s fix it instead of creating a committee, but that’s how govt works.

Evan February 20, 2010 - 10:45 am

Seriously! It is so frustrating

Daddy Paul February 19, 2010 - 7:11 pm

What a waste of taxpayer money. How many hours did I have to sweat to pay for this “panel”? Probably my whole life’s earnings!

Evan February 20, 2010 - 10:46 am

I am not sure if its the money they are getting paid because they have a job elsewhere within the gov’t – but rather the time they are taken away from that already important position.

Ron February 21, 2010 - 9:31 am

All these task forces serve a singular purpose: to make decisions for politicians that could land them in hot water with their constituency. The politicians can wash their hands of the decisions and blame it on the commission — none of whose members were elected.

Evan February 21, 2010 - 12:17 pm

I never thought about it like that, but that is some scary true shit!

Mike February 21, 2010 - 7:28 pm

I love this one:

“Helping to protect middle-class and working-family incomes”


David February 21, 2010 - 11:53 pm

What a complete and total waste of tax payers’ dollars. Maybe Obama needed to find something for Joe Biden to do. Is there a lower class task force as well?


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