This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which deregulated American freight…
CFIF on Twitter CFIF on YouTube
Happy 40th to the Staggers Rail Act, Which Deregulated and Saved the U.S. Rail Industry

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which deregulated American freight rail and saved it from looming oblivion.

At the time of passage, the U.S. economy muddled along amid ongoing malaise, and our rail industry teetered due to decades of overly bureaucratic sclerosis.  Many other domestic U.S. industries had disappeared, and our railroads faced the same fate.  But by passing the Staggers Rail Act, Congress restored a deregulatory approach that in the 1980s allowed other U.S. industries to thrive.  No longer would government determine what services railroads could offer, their rates or their routes, instead restoring greater authority to the railroads themselves based upon cost-efficiency.

Today, U.S. rail flourishes even amid the coronavirus pandemic…[more]

October 13, 2020 • 11:09 PM

Liberty Update

CFIFs latest news, commentary and alerts delivered to your inbox.
Jester's CourtroomLegal tales stranger than stranger than fiction: Ridiculous and sometimes funny lawsuits plaguing our courts.
SEIU’s Andy Stern: A Budget Vulture Feasting on the Public’s Nest Eggs Print
By Ashton Ellis
Wednesday, March 10 2010
Andy Stern isn’t a budget hawk; he’s a vulture out to devour the public’s nest eggs.

With annual federal budget deficits projected to top $1.6 trillion for the foreseeable future, President Barack Obama thinks appointing Andy Stern, head of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), to help create a plan to balance spending with revenue is a good idea. 

Consider Stern’s qualifications.  He owns an Ivy League degree in education and urban planning, a history of socialist radicalism, and leads the second largest union in America.  He is also principally responsible for the unsustainable growth in public employee union membership and compensation. 

Andy Stern isn’t a budget hawk; he’s a vulture out to devour the public’s nest eggs. 

Appointing him to the newly created National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform is a nakedly thuggish tactic to skew the panel’s work toward an outcome that produces higher taxes, more union members with rapacious compensation packages and closer bonds between Big Labor and Big Government. 

Lest we forget, fiscally responsible members of Congress knew that an “independent” panel of experts appointed to fix the budget would be little more than a vehicle to support raising taxes.  That is why nearly all Senate Republicans and some Democrats voted against creating such a commission earlier this year.  It’s also why President Obama responded with an executive order to override their decision. 

Of course, there are two ways to reduce a taxpayer-funded budget deficit so that the final sheet balances: either cut spending or raise taxes.  With his progressive agenda to nationalize health care, impose cap-and-tax, redefine poverty as a relative term and grant welfare status to millions of illegal immigrants via amnesty, the president inclines hard to the Left in decisions between taxing and spending. 

As his good friend Andy Stern said, it is time for government to make everyone “share the wealth” of the American economy. 

For Stern, spreading the wealth around means redistributing it from private sector wealth creators to public sector wealth takers.  The pivotal moment in Stern’s career came when he publicly broke with his mentor, John Sweeney, then the head of the AFL-CIO, over a leadership dispute.  After taking the reins of SEIU, he quickly began building an empire of minimum wage workers in home hospice care, janitorial services and, most importantly, state and local government.  So far, it is with this last group that Stern is making his biggest impact on government budgets. 

Over the last twenty years, union membership in private companies plummeted as jobs moved overseas, in part to avoid the crippling compensation packages demanded by unions.  To compensate, Stern unionized the vast swath of municipal workers who historically traded less compensation than counterparts in the private sector for more job security. 

Think public school teachers with low pay, but near lifetime tenure.   Stern thought that a model pairing better pay with better job security would be popular with folks at the Department of Motor Vehicles, city sanitation workers and county administrative assistants.  He was right.  After the National Education Association, his SEIU is now the largest union in America. 

But the union’s clout is coming with a tremendous cost to state and local taxpayers.  In states facing extreme budget shortfalls like California, Stern continues to press for more funding of public employee pensions and benefits, even though every objective analyst says those are the expenditures driving budgets towards calamity. 

This election cycle, Stern is committing the lion’s share of the 700,000 California SEIU members’ time and union dues to promoting Democratic candidates for state office in order to ensure that the public’s money keeps flowing into public employees’ pockets – fiscal reality be damned. 

To those who threaten opposition, Stern can shut down whole government facilities like he did in leading a walkout of nurses at the Santa Rita jail in Dublin, CA.  The malevolent genius of Stern is to apply his socialist philosophy and organizing tactics to the one sector of the economy that already redistributes wealth, and accelerate it to the point of crashing the system.  

Not that Stern has any affinity for the current system.  As a student radical at the University of Pennsylvania, Stern became a member of the New Left and received activist training from the Midwest Academy, an organization aimed at infiltrating the labor movement and bringing down the capitalist system from within.  Along the way, he made SEIU the largest single donor to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), the entity under investigation in several states for voter registration fraud.  ACORN is also a former client of Barack Obama, who as a presidential candidate in 2008 promised to help fundamentally change America with the help of his good friends at SEIU. 

We are now seeing that fundamental change with President Obama’s appointment of Andy Stern to the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.  Gone is any pretense that this president wants to rein in the deficit by restraining spending to revenue.  Like Stern, he wants to match revenue to spending, even if it means ending our capitalist system as we know it, replacing it with an economy controlled by government elites for the benefit of government employees. 

By selecting Stern, President Obama isn’t just making a mockery of fiscal responsibility; he’s exposing the public’s nest eggs to a budget-feasting vulture. 

Question of the Week   
Which one of the following was the first 20th century presidential candidate to call for a Presidential Debate?
More Questions
Quote of the Day   
"In nominating Barrett to the Supreme Court, [President Trump] kept his promise by choosing an undaunted originalist -- someone who interprets the Constitution based on the understanding held by its ratifiers.Trump's most profound effect on the Constitution will come when she and the other Trump Justices apply that originalism to the questions of liberty and equality."Read entire article here.…[more]
—John C. Yoo, Heller Professor Law at U.C. Berkeley School of Law
— John C. Yoo, Heller Professor Law at U.C. Berkeley School of Law
Liberty Poll   

Do you believe Republicans will continue to hold a majority in the U.S. Senate following the 2020 election?