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Monday, December 22, 2008

The Vice President's Useless Task Force

It appears that Barack Obama has finally assigned a task for his Vice President.

As vice president, Joseph R. Biden Jr. will oversee an Obama administration effort to find ways of building up the ranks of the middle class, that ambiguously defined segment of society with which most Americans identify.

The task force will include four Cabinet members as well as other presidential advisers, the Obama transition team announced yesterday.

The goal is to recommend proposals to ensure the middle class is "no longer being left behind," Biden said. The proposals could include executive orders and legislative plans.

"Our charge is to look at existing and future policies across the board and use a yardstick to measure how they are impacting the working and middle-class families," Biden said in a statement. "Is the number of these families growing? Are they prospering? President-elect Obama and I know the economic health of working families has eroded, and we intend to turn that around."

Now, Dick Cheney, of course, had a task force that became infamous in the Energy Task Force. It is unclear exactly what this task force actually accomplished however there is no shortage of conspiracy theories. Dick Cheney, however, was one of the most powerful Vice Presidents in history. Joe Biden appears to be getting the early line for being one of the least powerful.

This task force is a windown into just how little power President Designate Obama appears to want Biden to have, and it's also a great example of the differences between liberals and conservatives. The article says plenty when it describes the middle class as the "ambiguously defined segment of society". In other words, Biden will be studying a group of people that can't really be defined. The article goes on to say that most people consider themselves middle class. As such, while we can't really define it, we know that almost everyone is in it.

This task force redefines vague, nebulous, and frankly useless. Our government has entitlement programs coming out of every part of its bureaucracy. If the hundreds of billions of Dollars we now spend on entitlements don't strengthen the middle class, what exactly will Biden come up with? In other words, Biden will be running a debating society that will work much like most of academia. They will discuss, debate, and think they are smart, and they will accomplish absolutely nothing of substance.

The larger point though is that this task force is a great microcosm of the differences between conservatives and liberals. A conservative would never dream of such a task force. That's because a conservative doesn't think that the government has any role in "strengthening the middle class". Only a liberal would see such a high minded concept as anything the government should be involved in. A conservative would see "strengthen the middle class" and say, "great, yet another government bureaucracy". A liberal would see "strengthen the middle class" and say "great, another way the government can help". Make no mistake. For all of Obama's supposed pragmatism, this task force is more proof that at his core he is a classic liberal.

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