Biden on unions: ‘Public employees are not the problem’

Laura Donovan Contributor
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Vice President Joe Biden said unions aren’t the reason for the country’s economic problems, reports The Hill.

“Public employees are not the problem. The problem is much deeper,” Biden said during a fundraiser for New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney on Wednesday.

Biden’s comments come in the aftermath of the Wisconsin protests in response to Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget bill that would limit the collective bargaining rights of the state’s public employees. The Vice President said unions played a role creating the United States’ middle class. Biden added that conservatives are attempting to use the weak economy to push their social agenda.

“We are going to see the economic conditions they created used as an excuse to fundamentally go after the social agenda that the far right has been trying to accomplish for a long time,” Biden said.

He built his comments on those of President Barack Obama, who last week described Gov. Walker’s bill as an “assault on unions.”

“Some of what I’ve heard coming out of Wisconsin, where you’re just making it harder for public employees to collectively bargain, generally seems like more of an assault on unions,” Obama said.

The New York Observer reported that at the fundraiser, Biden also continued his tradition of making awkward comments, with one aimed at the President himself. Biden made a joke about Obama’s dependency on teleprompters.

“I am not using this thing. If you want to put it down, it’s okay by me,” Biden said. “You know Barack said, ‘excuse me,’ the President said, ‘Joe is learning to make a speech with a teleprompter and I am learning to do one without a teleprompter.”‘

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