Unions Do Their Job On Excise Tax

Some folks are up in arms because union leaders protected their membership in their negotiations on the health bill (David Dayen has some details.)

I think people misunderstand precisely what the job of a union leader is - hint - it is not to protect non-union members. Anyone non-union who was counting on the unions to defend their interests probably also believed Obama was going to change politics.

I hold no grudge against the unions. They did their jobs. Folks who want the excise tax fixed further need to understand that fighting for that is their job, not the unions.

Speaking for me only

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    I read what has gone down (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:28:52 PM EST
    What was demonstrated?  This administration will only show respect to those who stand up to them.  I am so very very glad the unions got it done.  Not sure why anyone thought they would do it for all of us.  Why should they?  You want this deal?  Unionize, make the commitment it takes to get this kind of lobbying for YOU.  The lesson though, if the left doesn't push the left ain't going to get chit and the left will only have the left to blame.

    in az? (none / 0) (#30)
    by jedimom on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 07:33:32 AM EST
    in right to work states that isnt exactly an option

    this is wrong

    they are dividing the middle class

    they are making their own enemies, the other 88% of us are not going to stand up for THEM the next time they are in a world of hurt...

    GM anyone?


    Wyoming is a right to work state (none / 0) (#39)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 08:29:35 AM EST
    Wyoming has Unions too.  People are going to have to stand up for themselves and organize in this current political climate.  There is really nothing left to be done.

    Or maybe it is. I speculate (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by robotalk on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:48:39 PM EST
    that the unions will go into the health plan/health care business.  Use their power to negotiate rates or threaten to set up their own hospitals and leverage it to get others to unionize and join up, fully or partially.  Could be an absolutely brilliant first step in reestablishing true union (and people) power in the US.  

    I think so, too. (none / 0) (#18)
    by Cream City on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:31:41 PM EST
    After all, that's how a lot of unions started.

    unions did their job, but Obama didn't (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by diogenes on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:00:12 PM EST
    Giving a big advantage to people who actually have jobs, usually highly paid (few minimum wage people have cadillac health plans) means that everyone else suffers.  That sixty billion foregone has to come from everyone else unless Obama plans to tack it on to the ballooning deficit.  
    Just pandering to the special interests.

    It is time to make yourself a special (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:04:39 PM EST
    interest then.  Orange can't learn this soon enough.

    Uh plenty of (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by cawaltz on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 12:10:25 AM EST
    middle income people have what was being termed "cadillac plans"

    My husband makes a little over $50,000 a year. He works at a job that requires him to be on call even on weekends or holidays. He often works 12 hour days. He is gone away from his family half of the time(W Va, NC, or in our own state but to far to drive back home.)

    I don't think it's too much to ask that if he, one of his kids or his wife were to get hurt they'd have affordable care. The variety that doesn't require him to pull a day to a weeks worth of pay out of his pocket on top of a premium.

    All I have to say is thank heaven for "special interests" and their ability to collectively bargain on our behalf.


    50,000 with non-working wife (none / 0) (#47)
    by diogenes on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 09:47:56 AM EST
    In a world of 10 percent unemployment, 17 percent underemployment, and even more on disability, 50,000 is actually more money than most get.  

    Additionally (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by cawaltz on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 10:24:16 PM EST
    I would add that the reason he makes a decent check was the result of collective bargaining, not just good fortune.

    While I understand that some of life is random and we don't have control over it, the idea that the average person who isn't making what my husband does or have his benefits could not organize to collectively bargain is a load of hooooey.

    In short, don't blame my husband for having the good sense to apply for and recieve a union job that has decent pay, good benefits and a pension. Ask yourself why people aren't organizing to get the same for themselves rather than being treated as disposable tissue paper by the labor market.


    50000 plus benefits and pension (none / 0) (#71)
    by diogenes on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 11:03:58 PM EST
    That's really worth more like 70000.  I don't blame him for taking what he can.  I blame Obama because exempting union workers means that nonunion workers will pay more and this is all a pander to union/government union/teacher union folks.

    Pandering (none / 0) (#72)
    by cawaltz on Sat Jan 16, 2010 at 03:08:01 AM EST
    It's a politicians job to pander. After all, they are supposed to be representative government.

    I'm happy that Obama realizes he needs organized labor to have a chance at getting re elected or having the resources to keep the people he needs in place to be re elected.

    I realize the excise tax sucks and I recognize that it is going to hurt people what I do hope though is that it is a wake up call that there is value in collective bargaining to those that assumed the idea of collective bargaining being a positive was an obsolete.

    The reason my husband enjoys what he does and the reason union members as a whole have better benefits and a overall higher rate of pay is because of the value of collective bargaining. Instead of people hating the union members for enjoying those type of benefits they should embrace collective bargaining in their own workspaces.

    Instead what seems to be happening is people are whining because union people are still able to attain the American dream because their representation has insisted on decent pay, good benefits and some sort of retirement plan that doesn't appear to be the equivalent of a scratcher(if you work faithfully for a company for 20 years).


    The median income is (none / 0) (#66)
    by cawaltz on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 08:57:16 PM EST

    As for the "non working  wife" crack, I have FOUR children on top of manage a household when my spouse is away from home(do the shopping, pay the bills, etc, etc). There isn't a day goes by I don't work, I just happen to be grossly underpaid and obviously have a profession(parent) that some people feel should be a luxury. Oh and I could go on for hours about all the things our family has done without for me to "have" this profession. We live in a "luxurious" single wide trailer. So spare me about our "cadillac plan."


    Someone hit that hopium again (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by ruffian on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:05:52 PM EST
    Asked if union workers will still see benefit reductions when everything is implemented, Trumka said, "We don't know. We hope the bill will start to ratchet down health care costs, as it's designed, and nobody will have to feel the excise tax."

    <inhale> I hope he's right

    Yer pretty funny (none / 0) (#13)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:08:00 PM EST
    Ha - thanks! (none / 0) (#14)
    by ruffian on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:13:32 PM EST
    Just saw a great Gaelic band - Gaelic Storm. I'm in WTF mode!

    Ah, they're great (none / 0) (#44)
    by Cream City on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 09:15:50 AM EST
    Did you get to see the group in person?  Terrific.  I get to see them every year, lucky me.  And I have CDs for all the long months in between. :-)

    So, where's my deal, huh? (5.00 / 4) (#16)
    by Anne on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:24:12 PM EST
    I'm kind of in a union, too.  My union is the millions of people who believe that if something is good enough for one group, it ought to be good for everyone.  And if it's so bad for one group, it's probably bad for everyone else.

    So far, it seems like everyone's getting a deal - everyone except those of us who mistakenly depend on our elected representatives to fight for us.  Who don't have contracts and big corporate pockets loaded with cash.

    Trust me on one thing: the backlash is on the way.

    Yeah! I want a deal and one for my state Too! (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by BrassTacks on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 03:07:20 AM EST
    Florida got a deal, Nebraska got a deal, and 11 other states.  I have to pay for their deals, so do you.  How come my state got nothing?  How come my family is going to have to pay more until we go on Medicare where we will get less.  We're just screwed, 6 ways to Sunday.  And what did we do wrong?  Not a darn thing, other than live in the wrong state and not be able to get a union job.  Sucks to be us.  

    You guys didn't have Senators (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 08:19:30 AM EST
    that held out for anything either unfortunately.

    Yep, having a "progressive" (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by Cream City on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 08:52:11 AM EST
    for a Senator means not being able to negotiate, I guess.  Feingold never gets anything back for my state, one of the worst for money sent to Washington that we never see again.

    Maybe it's time to stop being so progressive and start being more Nebraskan.


    Isn't it terrible? (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 11:37:55 AM EST
    It's almost like only a Blue Dog can bring anything home to their constituents.  I'm having a hard time dealing with this reality.

    "Kind of" doesn't work (none / 0) (#23)
    by duplicateid on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 01:59:03 AM EST
    If you want union protection, you have to join a union.

    If you want to be a plutocrat, well, gotta join that too. Different rules, though, including your choice of parents, at least usually.

    If you want to be unaffiliated, but get a good deal, you have to look out for yourself.

    But trust me on one thing: the backlash almost never comes. Because people who do not organize do not do so because they suck it up. Union seniority does, in fact, suck to climb - I had a chance, and opted out. It is sort of a lifestyle thing. I don't complain that I didn't, but being self employed and looking at this clusterlove, well, ahem. You makes your choices.

     It is rather hard to have a French Revolution moment these days, and the pikers who got lucky enough to create this country wouldn't stand a chance, because they were too organized.

    But gather 'round ye retirement planning meetings, and hear the words of the 401k bards. For indexing is for the timid, and great risk means great reward.


    salary (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by jedimom on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 07:35:06 AM EST
    the unions already make higher wages than the rest of us

    listen hubby and I were in unions, now we arent
    we are in a part of the country without them

    this will either not stand or it will create an unbelievable backlash


    I do hear you (none / 0) (#58)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 11:02:45 AM EST
    I think I am beginning to understand a social dynamic much better now too that I have seen in the past and did not understand, I was much younger though then too.

    I do not trust that there won't be (none / 0) (#27)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 07:10:28 AM EST
    a backlash though it will probably be generated by Republicans running in elections.  I want something better though for everyone.  I understand where you are coming from, only certain personalities can tolerate or desire union involvement in their lives.  Such people are usually okay with saying NO! in a big way, picketing and striking to get fair treatment and wages.  They can emotionally deal with conflict and tensions surrounding conflict.  Other people have a much harder time lobbying for themselves.  The general population of Europe is not willing to just lay down and allow themselves to be run over though.  I think the American population is greatly demoralized at this time.  I hope they recover.

    Well this demoralized worker (2.00 / 1) (#48)
    by hookfan on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 10:02:27 AM EST
    can say ef cardcheck then. The Unions are on their own. They've broken solidarity with the rest of us, then they are scabs. They want to abandon us for themselves on the federal level, fine. Just don't expect public support if they threaten a big strike, or the support with representatives from the large majority of us the next time they need a bailout. They want to be limited to a special interest group, fine. Then quit the propaganda bs that they represent the working person, for policies that benefit the working person. In fact, union busting now doesn't seem so bad. Good luck to them.

    To be fair, if dday's article is correct, (5.00 / 3) (#49)
    by MO Blue on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 10:26:39 AM EST
    the deal negotiated by the unions will help non-union people.

    While the threshold for the excise tax was only raised slightly, if health inflation between now and 2013 rises faster than current assumptions, the threshold will rise in tandem with that excess inflation. This deal could be very important.

    These three negotiated items also help everyone.

    3) After 2015, dental and vision plans for all Americans, not just unions, get excluded from the calculation of the excise tax threshold. So only your main health plan would be included. (UPDATE: A labor spokesman emails that this alone raises the threshold close to $2,000)

    1. For all Americans, the threshold rises for employer-based plans that are pricier because of age or gender.

    2. Most interestingly, by 2017, all plans, whether collectively bargained or not, would be able to go onto the insurance exchanges, the large marketplaces where individuals can under the bill purchase insurance. Individuals getting employer-based coverage would still not be allowed to bolt their employer plan for an exchange plan, but their employer could purchase coverage on the exchange.

    Have You ever had a bad hair day? (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by hookfan on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 10:45:58 AM EST
     I need to just lock myself away today. Thank you for the information.

    You wanted them to negotiate for all (none / 0) (#57)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 10:58:31 AM EST
    of us?  I can't say you don't have valid points either.  When only the unions win, sometimes the public that is not union sees no reason to support the idea of unions anymore.  They get nothing, union workers are haves and everyone else are have nots. It has been a problem before.  I would like to think we had a better solution though, more people getting on that hard negotiating band wagon for themselves and their communities and the middle class however they choose to do that because unfortunately when they get us all onboard for union busting, in the end it only seems to make life as a little guy even worse for all of us.

    There will be a hard negotiation bandwagon (none / 0) (#63)
    by hookfan on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 12:09:53 PM EST
    alright. Just wait til the ask for support politically for their agendas and priorities from the party.
       As for union busting, if the meme is going to be unions work only for themselves, okay they can do that. But the price for lack of solidarity, is they are on their own 'cause there is no reason to give a flock. Otherwise solidarity is just a one way exploitation game. No, we either stand together or the deal's off. If we lose then they lose. The whole basis that the workers' or labor movement rests on, not just organized labor, is solidarity. Wizz on that and we will all lose. If BTD is right, and that's the job of a labor union leader, then that will be the cost. And organized labor is a ghost of what it used to be. I wonder if this mentality has been part of the root cause of that.

    I've witnessed that social dynamic (none / 0) (#65)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 06:37:08 PM EST
    when I was a kid.  I didn't know why it came about, but now I think I have a clue.

    The thing is they did negotiate for all (none / 0) (#69)
    by cawaltz on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 10:29:49 PM EST
    They just weren't able to get EVERYTHING they asked for.

    They protected union members moreso than others in the final negotiations but that is what we elected and pay them to do. We gave them the ability to be a voice on our behalf and provide the resources for them to negotiate for us.


    Fine (none / 0) (#74)
    by hookfan on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 02:57:31 PM EST
    Then they are welcome to get the resources from you (alone) to support their political agendas, and their strikes. The rest of labor can prioritize supporting them (and you), and sacrifice for them (and you), if in our final analysis it benefits us primarily -- like respecting picket lines when we badly need jobs. Yeah right. Sorry, it goes both ways, and the whine "we tried, oh so sorry about you" can be very well remembered when they want respect and support from us.

    Good for the union members but (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by coast on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 07:03:52 AM EST
    What will itmean for the rest of us.  That little change is estimated to reduce revenues in the bill by $60 billion.  And the deals aren't done.  Will the CBO be able to score this before its voted on.  My guess is NO.

    Yes, the cost of this is high (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by Cream City on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 09:21:00 AM EST
    and probably much underestimated, as with so much else we have seen so far about the (not warm and) fuzzy health insurance "plan" from the Dems.

    The cost ought to come from anyone but the middle class, but as it is no longer really represented by the Dems, I think you and I can project who pays for this.  And the middle class, of course, includes millions of union members.

    So it will be interesting to see if a report comes out from somewhere, anywhere, with calculations of the cost-benefit ratio for union members.  That is, they will not be paying one tax, but they will see other taxes go up to pay for the "plan" overall, right?


    It's about time (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by mmc9431 on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 07:28:56 AM EST
    As it's been pointed out hundreds of times on this site, politics is all about the deal. I'm glad to see the unions flex their muscle, I'm also glad to see the Democratic Party remember where their bread is buttered.

    Over the last 30 years we've seen a dramatic shift of power. Government is run exclusively for the corporate benefit, not the people. We've been sold a bill of goods that we have to protect business at any cost. After all, we all benefit from that imaginary trickle economy. (snark)

    How's that working out for most Americans? We've seen wages stagnate and benefits cut. The gap between the haves and have not's continues to grow by leaps and bounds.

    Hopefully this will be a wake up call to some in DC that they need to remember who brought them to the dance!

    Absolutely right... (5.00 / 0) (#53)
    by kdog on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 10:47:12 AM EST
    the unions did the job they are paid dues by their members to do...all the carping by non-union workers sounds like jealousy to me.  I can relate, I'm kinda jealous of my union worker friends too and the better deal they get across the board.  But I try not to hate the playa, just the game.

    Bottom line...nobody gives you a bigger slice of the pie, ya gotta demand a bigger slice and fight for it.  

    Instead of ragging on the unions maybe we wage-earners should all start one at our shop.  I mean ownership has a union fighting for them...its called the US Govt.

    Fine (none / 0) (#75)
    by hookfan on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 03:07:47 PM EST
    but just remember not to expect the rest of labor to express loyalty or sacrifice for organized labor when they come asking for support. They can find out what it's like when they're not a priority to us. The fragmenting of labor will lead to the further weakening of organized labor. This is bigger than "what they get pay for". They are allowing the administration to play parts of labor against one another, and serve themselves. They can find out how limited is their power when they lose our support politically.

    The Unions did well, (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by KeysDan on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 10:50:01 AM EST
    in increasing thresholds and exemptions for their members.   Now the Obama administration and Congress need to indicate how they will adjust for the $60 billion less revenue over ten years (which is sort of six years, since the provision kicks-in in 2013-2014.}   Surtax on high rollers?  Doubt it. Increase in Medicare taxes?  Probably,  Squeeze more"savings without benefit reductions" from Medicare?  Why not?-no one is even questioning this magic pot of gold.

    robotalk you are dreaming. Good luck though. (2.00 / 0) (#15)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:23:40 PM EST
    The Unions obviously had the votes and therefore the power.  Special interests everywhere!  The real downfall of this country.

    As for free trade, I shop Wal-Mart when I am home which is now with my mother and that is the only big store near (2 miles) where she lives.

    For Gifts/Christmas/birthdays/etc. it is strictly Amazon which I can reach from anywhere in this world even in what most here would consider some strange exotic ports.  The only problem is trying to get some stuff to Canada where I have one child.

    I don't see shoddy goods anymore there than anywhere else.

    The reason I went to foreign cars in the later sixties when I started buying cars despite being raised on American  cars is because of shoddy Union products.  I remember many times hearing my Uncles and others say "it must be the Bendix spring" and I swore I would never get a Ford.  Now it does look like the American products are getting better and I kind of like the Ford Fusion and I have an old Military buddy who now runs a Ford Dealership and he may be able to entice me to get new one as a reward for a daughter who has done very well with College, is graduating this June and she says that is what she wants.  I really hope it doesn't have a Bendix spring.

    Anyway, let us all hope that we can now get Health Care passed and then start to REALLY work on the costs.  Even for us Military Tracy!  Even for us.

    Shoddy Union work? (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Radix on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 01:55:37 AM EST
    Did they, the Union, design the car? Did they spec or design the parts? Or, did they put the car together as their bosses engineered it?

    The Unions are the real downfall (5.00 / 4) (#38)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 08:26:16 AM EST
    of this economy?  Sorry man, I am rolling on the floor.  You retired out of a completely Socialist subsociety and you are one of the few middle Americans enjoying an untouched retirement and you really want to attempt to project some notion that Unions are the real downfall of this economy?

    For your service, you are deserving (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Cream City on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 08:58:06 AM EST
    of your good life.  But please have the grace to not gloat about it.  After all, we paid for it.

    The problem is that Obama and the Dems lied ... (2.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Ellie on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 09:06:13 AM EST
    ... straight up and straight out.

    They never intended to follow through on the promises. (Jump is to the Salon article Obama Disconnected by Micah Sifrey 01/13/2010.)

    All that winking and nudging about the "real" Obama showing up once elected, and the "real" Dem agenda being honored once they got their trifecta (bi-cameral majorities & the White House.)

    They're already turfing the usual election year scaremongering: Yeah but if you don't go with us dot dot dot (no more abortion rights, gals! wingnut SCOTUS! buh bye human rights! more war!)

    By the same token (none / 0) (#1)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:10:04 PM EST
    it is not our job to protect unions.

    As a free trader, I vehemently disagree with the union position on trade.

    And that's why you are evil (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:25:09 PM EST
    I have mixed beliefs.  I'm not sure what I believe there.  I don't think NAFTA effed us, I never thought it would.  Some trade situations though that we have going on...I just can't imagine what good they are doing us.

    Ironically enough (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by cawaltz on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:28:47 PM EST
    despite the fact it wasn't "their job" to protect anyone not in the union they tried to get the whole entire enchilada repealed(Heh- they must know how to bargain like mad men) for union and non union alike.

    As for free trade, I prefer "fair trade." I don't see the benefit of shipping in shoddily made or unsafe products though and that seems to be what free trade has brought us to.


    Indeed (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:34:38 PM EST
    They know how to bargain is the lesson from this.

    Whooda Thunk (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by ricosuave on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:49:13 PM EST
    Who would have guessed that an organization designed around the concept of collective bargaining would know how to bargain.

    Good for them.  The unions are sticking up for their constituents.  The Republicans and conservative dems are (misguidedly, in my opinion) sticking up for their constituents.  I sure wish the rest of the Democrats would come to the party.


    Not a large portion of the country (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by cawaltz on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 12:13:49 AM EST
    evidently or there would not be a decline in union membership. Collective bargaining works but it has been undermined as a concept for years and replaced with "I got mine, up yours" mentality. It would be nice to see a comeback though.

    Sadly true (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by ricosuave on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 07:56:54 AM EST
    Somehow the idea of a bunch of people freely associating, electing a spokesman, making deals, and signing a contract has become evil and unamerican.  I thought that was basically the stuff this country was founded on.

    Ah, well, once again (none / 0) (#5)
    by Cream City on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:32:59 PM EST
    being one of the few folks banned by law from being in a union but in a workplace almost entirely unionized, I probably will get screwed again.

    At least unions won a somewhat lower cap on the level at which others will be taxed for so-called "Cadillac" health insurance plans -- in such a unionized workplace, I have no other choice.  But that makes no diff for me, either, as my pay after all of the other union concessions at my workplace never will reach the lower limit, either.

    I guess I'm just going to have to retire to Nebraska . . . if ever Obama gets back to getting the economy going, so that I can retire. . . .

    You are a gov't employee right? (none / 0) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:33:51 PM EST
    As I understand it, you got in on the deal.

    Saw that. Whew, for a few years (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Cream City on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:31:05 PM EST
    I get a bit of a break -- if that survives in the final bill.  But my spouse is at a private campus, so he will not get that help.  Poor guy, after losing so much of his retirement plan, never will retire now. . . .

    THAT makes me so mad (none / 0) (#37)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 08:22:34 AM EST
    I don't know how anyone is accepting this no retirement situation.  What do you foresee that will transpire Cream City?  Are those who have had their retirements literally stolen going to organize in some fashion?

    Are you kidding? That's just asking (none / 0) (#41)
    by Cream City on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 08:56:27 AM EST
    to be pushed out, one way or another (the classic way is to make someone so miserable with lousy hours or the like).  We who are near or in our 60s are just going to have to be grateful to have jobs -- as we are in our family, as the only ones with good jobs to support all the unemployed and underemployed kids.

    Now, if the 40-somethings would wake up to see that this could happen to them, then maybe someone would get organized and something would get done.  But I doubt it, as they still have "hope" for "change" -- time to recover their retirements when the economy comes back in 10 years, say the forecasts.


    good on them! (none / 0) (#21)
    by cpinva on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 12:18:49 AM EST
    they did their job, for their members, who pay dues for this.

    "free trade" sounds good, in theory. of course, it's rare that theory and reality are one and the same. "free trade" implies all involved are on a level playing field. the reality is, they aren't.

    if you were a true capitalist BTD, you'd know the difference. go back to econ 101, read "the wealth of nations", then we'll talk.

    As a small business owner.... (none / 0) (#25)
    by Pragmatist on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 06:56:20 AM EST
    who offers my 14 employees a "Cadillac" health care plan; I'll have no choice, but to terminate my company's health care plan due to the taxes which will be imposed upon me.  Now before you all throw stones... what I will do is give my employees a pay raise to cover their cost to buy into the govt plan (assuming there will be one) and also cover the income taxes they'll owe.  This will be cheaper for my company.

    It will be interesting to see the fallout and see how many other small business do what I plan to do...or just terminate their health plans and tell their employees they're on their own.

    Questions for you... (none / 0) (#32)
    by sleepingdogs on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 07:45:37 AM EST
    First off let me say that I think it's great that your currently provide such wonderful insurance for your employees.  I do hope that can continue.

    What is your plan if there is no government option?  Also, will the raise that you plan to give your employees be dollar for dollar what you save by not paying for their insurance, or only as much as they need so they won't bear any additional expense?  


    Good questions... (none / 0) (#46)
    by Pragmatist on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 09:30:02 AM EST
    and I'm working through the possibilities.  If there is no govt option, I may cut back on the curent plan so that the business doesn't suffer the "Cadillac tax"; give the employees a raise so that they can buy add'l benefits and thus maintain their current level of take home pay and benefits.

    At this time (as noted above), the raise would be to maintain their current level of take home pay and benefits.

    Regarding health care, from my perspective, I wish the govt would leave me alone since I believe that I'm doing what's right for my employees.  I don't disagree that reform is needed, but no one wants real reform -- which is an entirely new/different thread.


    I give folks like you props for doing the right (none / 0) (#70)
    by cawaltz on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 10:45:58 PM EST
    thing for so long. It completely sucks that the government has put you in this position. There used to be a time when we lauded businesses for recognizing that protecting their assets well being was good for business and productivity.

    WAY TO DIVIDE THE MIDDLE CLASS! (none / 0) (#28)
    by jedimom on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 07:28:35 AM EST
    If peeps werent pixxed enough about GM bailouts and they are and it is seen in car sales, they will be THRILLED to find the unions, 12% of the middle class get no tax, and the other 88% of us get taxed instead! way to divide us Dems!!

    the labor negotiations have revealed that Dental and Vision are COUNTED in this cap number! so many many many more of us already have Cadillac plans and dont realize it yet....

    we will all drop dental, we will wind up looking like Great Britain....

    and their ingenius plan to make up the dough is to take it form...NURSING HOMES!

    they keep hitting new lows...

    states (none / 0) (#34)
    by jedimom on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 08:06:15 AM EST
    I mean let us all recall the reason CA is in hock is the state employee pension costs

    people are already pixxed folks, this is a bad bad move

    Raise the bar (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by mmc9431 on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 08:20:52 AM EST
    Their financial trouble has nothing to do with ridiculous propositions that were enacted by the voters such as the property tax freeze? Their problems go way beyond the pension fund.

    Maybe the better course of action would be for the voter in the "right to work" states to stand up and insist on their rights rather than the rest of the country abdcating their's?

    Lowering the bar for everyone is not the solution to the problem. That's one of my many objections to this whole fiasco called HCR.

    We should be focusing on bringing the bar up so everyone has at least the quality of health care that the very politicians we elect enjoy.


    True (none / 0) (#51)
    by hookfan on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 10:32:16 AM EST
    and what about the union actions on this issue helps raise the bar for all of us? Nada. This goes beyond Unions working for their own (minimally they should), but also impacts the question of political alliances in the party. If helping unions doesn't help us politically in the democratic party because they serve only themselves, then there is no solidarity. There is no reason for me to support them as well, unless it benefits me. That's the cost.

    Misdirection of anger (none / 0) (#54)
    by mmc9431 on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 10:48:37 AM EST
    I would be more inclined to direct the anger at the blue dogs that put the brakes on the whole deal. Or the Democratic leadership that flat out lied to us. How about the president? Obama is the leader that chose not to lead. As Harry Truman so aptly put it, "The buck stops here".

    The unions who did what they could to try and make a bad deal better. They're paid to protect the interests of their members. They may have clout, but I don't think they're in a position to run the show alone.


    True (none / 0) (#62)
    by hookfan on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 11:46:31 AM EST
    and that doesn't let the Unions off the hook. My understanding of the transaction (as limited as it is) is that the Unions settled for a fairy tale and a figleaf to cover Trumka's exposed rear end. Supporting this crappy plan is bad for all of us, and they played their last card for time for themselves while jettisoning the rest of us. That should be remembered, as well as the sell job on behalf of the insurance industry by the rest of the party leadership. The progressives so called in the house should get no votes from supporters in their districts if they cave for this as well-- not just Blue dogs.
       My anger is not just directed at the unions, but they have now joined with the rest in support of this craptacular pretense.
       Sorry, no sale on the Unions. If it's true (we'll see) that they sold out to buy time for themselves, then the right of support from solidarity from other workers is nil. Good luck on that. They can be on their own too.

    Shoddy (none / 0) (#50)
    by DancingOpossum on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 10:27:13 AM EST
    I don't see shoddy goods anymore there than anywhere else.

    Then you need your eyeglass prescription checked. WalMart is known for making shoddier, cheaper versions of well-known brands and forcing manufacturers to design down to their cheapness level which is why whatever you buy there tends to fall apart quickly (WalMart can't even make a simple garden hose that works, as I know from personal experience.) Some companies have refused to sell their products there because making them to WalMart specs would dilute the quality too much. Not too many, of course.

    My understanding is that they did more (none / 0) (#56)
    by esmense on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 10:51:14 AM EST
    than just protect their members' interest (their first job). I've seen it reported that thanks to the unions' efforts the threshold at which the tax kicks in was raised and adjustments were made to the formula based on age and gender. That last point is especially important, if true.

    I read somewhere, I no longer remember who wrote it, that the tax should be called the "middle aged teacher tax" because older women, especially those with chronic or pre-existing conditions, are so likely to be affected.

    Yep, re the "teacher tax" (none / 0) (#59)
    by Cream City on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 11:20:17 AM EST
    that was a major factor, so I read, in unions winning a break in the plan for most government workers.  Many, of course, are teachers.  (A note: that refers to K12 teachers; at the higher ed level, middle-aged women still are far fewer, and there aren't younger women in great numbers yet.)

    Also (none / 0) (#60)
    by CST on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 11:21:55 AM EST
    from MO Blue's post above:

    "For all Americans, the threshold rises for employer-based plans that are pricier because of age or gender."


    Except that (none / 0) (#64)
    by hookfan on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 01:07:18 PM EST
     where is the administration going to propose to make up for the lost revenue from the special exemption to the unions? Likely increased taxes on the rest of us. So their self service costs all of us. And for what? Even Trumka says he "doesn't know" if the plan will prevent loss of benefits. However, what is certain, imo, is nothing is done to hold down premium costs (thus insuring financial windfall to the insurance co's bottom line)nor insuring real competition to reduce costs.
      It seems to me the rest of may very likely wind up paying for the Unions to serve themselves on top of premium increases plus poorer plans with increased deductibles and less coverage. If true, we'll see how that holds. Just what I like: increased prices (now mandated to be paid by my not so friendly big government), poorer plans, possibly more taxes and guaranteed tax if you opt out.

    I find it interesting (none / 0) (#67)
    by cawaltz on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 09:07:50 PM EST
    that you are so angry at a group of people who negotiated to get a better deal for people like you in good faith rather than directing your anger at an administration that insisted that this excise tax is how it wanted to pay for health care. In my opinion your anger is misdirected. If anything, you ought to be thanking the unions for at least trying to get you something when they were in no way obligated to do so for anyone other than their membership.

    You are quite fortunate that THEY still seem to understand that the whole entire resource market is better off when those at the bottom(even those not covered by union representation)are as well off as possible.


    yes (none / 0) (#73)
    by hookfan on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 02:42:10 PM EST
    I should be oh so thankful that they support this debacle of healthcare pretense, serving themselves at our expense (we're left holding the bag on any potential shortfalls from anticipated revenues, while they enjoy their extended time). I say bs to your response as they have aligned themselves with the corporations against other workers and deserve their fate, ALONG WITH the party leadership, the blue dog dems, and the pseudo progressive dems who voted for this pos.
      YOU, apparently have little understanding of the meaning of solidarity, and the consequences of violating it. As far as I'm concerned, if they have sold us out for their benefit, then they neither deserve respect for their picket lines, nor support for their political agenda.