The White House is touting the approval of a George Soros-funded economist who advocates more government regulation of the economy to bolster its claim that raising the minimum wage would strengthen the U.S. economy.
The economist, Joseph Stiglitz, chairs the Socialist International Commission on Global Financial Issues. Socialists International is the world's largest umbrella socialist organization.
During his State of the Union speech last week, Obama called for the minimum wage to be raised and tied to the cost of living, also known as a "living wage."
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"Tonight," Obama said, "let's declare that, in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full time should have to live in poverty – and raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour.
"So here's an idea that Governor Romney and I actually agreed on last year: Let's tie the minimum wage to the cost of living, so that it finally becomes a wage you can live on."
WND previously reported the "living wage" campaign has long been pushed by the radical Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN. It was largely initiated on a local level in the 1990s with the help of the New Party, a socialist-oriented party Obama apparently joined in the 1990s.
The "living wage" was previously attempted in over 80 U.S. cities, many times to disastrous affect.
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The section calling for the minimum wage to be raised references economists who say it will help the economy, including Stiglitz.
It states: "That's why leading economists like Lawrence Katz (Harvard), Richard Freeman (Harvard), Joseph Stiglitz (Columbia), and Laura Tyson (Berkeley), and businesses like Costco have called for raising the minimum wage – and said it would strengthen the economy."
Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize winner, previously held a so-called teach-in with the Occupy Wall Street movement and also addressed the so-called social protests that rocked Spain.
Besides accepting funding from Soros, Stiglitz has engaged in numerous projects with Soros and sits on the boards of a number of Soros organizations, including one openly seeking to remake the world's economy.
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Stiglitz is a leading proponent of more government regulation of the economy.
Last year, he gave a lecture titled "A New Economic World Order" in which he called for the world to be "no longer dominated by one 'superpower.'"
During his teach-in for the Occupy Wall Street protesters, Stiglitz charged banks "prey on the poorest Americans."
"There's a system where we socialize losses and privatize gains," he told the anti-Wall Street protesters. "That's not capitalism, that's not a market economy, that's a distorted economy, and if we continue with that we won't succeed in growing, and we won't succeed in creating a just society.
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"One of the things the banks did was to prey on the poorest Americans [through predatory lending]," continued Stiglitz. "We knew about it. There were some people who tried to stop it, but they used their political power, [that is] Wall Street used its political power, to stop those who would stop them."
Stiglitz has been an economic adviser to Obama, but he also criticized the president's bank rescue plan. Stiglitz said whoever designed that plan is "either in the pocket of the banks or they're incompetent."
Stiglitz won his Nobel Prize for research on what became the theory of information asymmetry, which argues for more government intervention in failing economies than the traditional "market failure" school had previously recognized.
He has stated that "the real debate today is about finding the right balance between the market and government."
Both are needed. They can each complement each other," he said. 'This balance will differ from time to time and place to place."
Gavin Wright, chairman of Stanford's economics department, summarized Stiglitz's work by stating, "Broadly speaking, Joe's theoretical work has had to do with the shortcomings and imperfections of market economy, not from the standpoint of a thorough-going rejection of the market economy but from the perspective that holds out hope for improvement through government regulation or use of the tax system."
Government, business as 'partners'
Stiglitz was a member of the Clinton administration, serving both in Bill Clinton's cabinet and as chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.
Stiglitz's most important contribution during his time in the Clinton administration was helping to define a new economic philosophy called a "third way," which called for business and government to join hands as "partners," while recognizing that government intervention could not always correct the limitations of markets.
"Third way" is an ideology first promoted as an alternative to free markets by Mikhail Gorbachev after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The "third way" of governing would be neither capitalist nor communist, but something in between.
In his 1998 State of the Union address, President Clinton outlined the "third way": "We have moved past the sterile debate between those who say government is the enemy and those who say government is the answer. My fellow Americans, we have found a third way."
This "third way" calls for business and government to join hands as "partners."
Discover the Networks criticized the theory: "In short, Big Business would own the economy (as under capitalism), while Big Government would run it (as under socialism). Corporations would be persuaded to comply with government directives through subsidies, tax breaks, customized legislation, and other special privileges."
Soros himself has been a vocal proponent of the "third way" economic policy.
Stiglitz, meanwhile, also became involved in "global warming" issues, including serving on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, helping to draft a new law for toxic wastes and serving on the boards of numerous environmental groups, such as the Alliance for Climate Protection.
'No longer one superpower'
Stiglitz is a prolific speaker. On Sept. 17, 2010, he gave a speech to the Swiss and Global Asset Management group in which his Power Point presentation, available online, stated the U.S. is mired in Japanese-style malaise because of "greater inequality" and "weaker social protection."
Stiglitz said the U.S. was failing to come to "terms with its standing in the New Global Order."
His presentation called for a "New Global Economic Order" in which the world is "no longer dominated by one 'superpower," although he predicted China's income per capita will remain much below that of the U.S.
Soros' economic partner
Stiglitz is deeply tied to Soros. Stiglitz serves on the international advisory board of Soros' Open Society Foundation.
The economist is the co-founder and president of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue, a globalist group which is funded by Soros' Open Society Institute.
Along with numerous other Open Society Institute leaders, Stiglitz is a member of the Collegium International, a globalist group that proclaims in its official declaration "the Earth, home of humanity, constitutes a whole denoted by interdependence."
Perhaps most significantly, Stignitz sits on the board of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, or INET, an organization seeking to reorganize the entire global economic system.
George Soros is INET's founding sponsor, with the billionaire having provided a reported $25 million over five years to support INET activities.
In April 2011, Stiglitz spoke at INET's annual meeting, which took place in the mountains of Bretton Woods, N.H.
The gathering was held at Mount Washington Hotel, famous for hosting the original Bretton Woods economic agreements drafted in 1944. That conference's goal was to rebuild a post-World War II international monetary system. The April gathering had a similar stated goal – a global economic restructuring.
A Business Insider report on last year's event said, "George Soros has brought together a crack team of the world's top economists and financial thinkers."
"Its aim," continued the business newspaper, "to remake the world's economy as they see fit."
More than two-thirds of the speakers at this year's conference had direct ties to Soros.
The keynote speaker at the Bretton Woods conference was Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs, a board member of INET who is tied to both Soros and Stiglitz.
Sachs is engineer of a "shock treatment" economic doctrine that he has applied to other countries, most notably Bolivia and Poland. In both countries, critics charge, Sachs' doctrine led to economic failure.
In 2009, Sachs narrated an audio book titled "George Soros and Joseph Stiglitz – America: How They See Us."
Stiglitz, meanwhile, has other ties to Soros. When he chaired the U.N.'s Commission of Experts on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System, the commission included Soros tied economists, such as Robert Johnson, former chief economist of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee who previously was the managing director at Soros Fund Management. Johnson also is on the board of the Soros-funded Economic Policy Institute and the Institute for America's Future.
'Living wage' disaster
Steven Malanga of the City Journal noted the living wage movement got its start in mid-1990s Baltimore, when a coalition of left-leaning church leaders, unionists and community activists, largely led by ACORN, began to push for a "social compact" that included a hike in the minimum wage to $6.10 – 43 percent above the federal minimum wage at the time – for service workers in hotels and other businesses in the city's redeveloped Inner Harbor, a prime tourist area.
Baltimore's then-mayor, Kurt Schmoke, eventually signed a compromise bill that guaranteed the new $6.10 minimum for workers at any companies contracting with the city. Supporters hailed the increase as a costless victory for low-income workers.
But Baltimore's economy soon crashed, with 58,000 jobs disappearing, even as the rest of Maryland added 120,000 jobs and other cities across the country prospered.
"The living wage bill was just one expression of a fiercely anti-business climate that helped precipitate Baltimore's economic collapse," wrote Malanga.
Another locale that enacted a living wage bill, soon to see its economy burn, was Milwaukee County in Wisconsin, which passed a law increasing the minimum wage only for city-contracted janitors and security guards to $6.25 an hour.
That law was urged on by ACORN and the socialist New Party, which was also instrumental in lobby efforts in Baltimore. The living wage campaign was a main platform of the New Party.
The New Party sought to elect members to public office with the aim of moving the Democratic Party far leftward to ultimately form a new political party with a socialist agenda.
The New Party, established in 1992, took advantage of what was known as electoral "fusion," which enabled candidates to run on two tickets simultaneously, attracting voters from both parties. But the New Party folded in 1998, one year after fusion was halted by the Supreme Court.
The New Party worked closely with ACORN to promote its candidates. ACORN, convicted in massive, nationwide voter fraud cases, was a point of controversy for Obama during his first campaign for president.
A former top member of the New Party recounted in a WND email interview Obama's participation with his organization.
Many of the New Party's founding members were Democratic Socialists of America leaders and members of Committees of Correspondence, a breakaway of the Communist Party USA.
Obama attended several DSA events and meetings, including a DSA-sponsored town hall meeting Feb. 25, 1996, titled "Employment and Survival in Urban America." He sought and received an endorsement from the DSA.
Obama's campaign in 2008 denied the then–presidential candidate was ever an actual member of the New Party.
But the New Zeal blog dug up print copies of the New Party News, the party's official newspaper, which show Obama posing with New Party leaders, listing him as a New Party member and printing quotes from him as a member.
The Party's spring 1996 newspaper boasted: "New Party members won three other primaries this Spring in Chicago: Barack Obama (State Senate), Michael Chandler (Democratic Party Committee) and Patricia Martin (Cook County Judiciary)."
The paper quoted Obama saying, "These victories prove that small 'd' democracy can work."
The newspaper lists other politicians it endorsed who were not members but specifies Obama as a New Party member.