Thursday, January 14, 2010

Unions Running Policy, Making Laws: Are You Outraged Yet?

The White House reached a tentative agreement with union leaders today on taxing high-end health care plans. Really?

BigGovernment has the story. A question for Independents and Republicans: when you voted for Obama did you know that Union bosses would be making the laws?

 WASHINGTON (AP) -The White House reached a tentative agreement with union leaders early Thursday to tax high-cost insurance plans, officials said, removing one of the major stumbling blocks in the way of a final compromise on comprehensive health care legislation sought by President Barack Obama.

Complete details of the tentative deal were not immediately available, although the White House was expected to present it to senior lawmakers, later in the day. Union leaders also were returning to the White House.
Can Congress exempt Unions from an excise tax simply because they are Union? Apparently so.
In a win specifically for union members, negotiators were working out a plan to delay the tax from being imposed on collectively bargained health plans for several years.
This is nothing new, as Senator Max Baucus got the ball rolling in favor of Unions back in summer 2009.

This from NRO:
Even after all the unsavory bargains and rotten deals that have characterized the rush to get this thing passed (the “Louisiana Purchase,” the “Cornhusker Kickback,” etc.) the “Labor Loophole” surely takes the prize.
A few Democrats in the Senate already tried this trick and were laughed out of the smoke-filled room, so nakedly obvious was the special-interest favoritism at work. That the Democratic party is seriously reconsidering this deal is a sign of how desperate it has become to pass a bill — any bill — that shoves the federal foot through the waiting-room door.
NRO points out the absurdity of the Cadillac-tax-plan designed to "not add one dime" to the deficit, yet exempting those with the most expensive plans, whose 40% tax might actually yield some real money:
Thinking it would be a good way to demagogue Wall Street, Senate Democrats came up with the Cadillac tax. Only later did they realize that they had aimed for Goldman Sachs but hit the UAW. Many of the nation’s most expensive health-care plans can be found in the collective-bargaining agreements of the old-line unions.
 Expressing the disgust:
The Democrats are fighting a losing battle: Every time they make a corrupt compromise to buy votes, a disgusted public likes the bill a little less, which drives down its popularity in the polls, which increases the number of votes the Democrats have to buy. As Ramesh Ponnuru and Yuval Levin noted in the latest issue of National Review, the end product of this process will present a big red target for Republicans to shoot at all year. The Labor Loophole would make that target even bigger.
More disgust from Jennifer Rubin about the Backroom Deal:
...aside from the thrill of being part of a historic sellout . . . er . . . grand compromise, what is in this for Big Labor? Their members have health-care benefits. Now they are going to be taxed or have their plans trimmed to subsidize other Americans...

If ever there were an example of what drives average Americans nuts, this is it. A behind-closed-door deal in which Big Labor, Big Government, and Big Insurance cut an agreement to raise taxes and tell the rest of us what insurance we are going to buy. And the elite media and liberal politicians can’t figure out why there is a rising tide of populist anger out there. Really, it’s not that hard to figure out.
And one last question. What does this story today at BigGovernment have to do with Martha Coakley, the Democrat running for the "people's seat" in Massachusetts against Republican Scott Brown? Legal Insurrection has an opinion:
One thing is clear. News of a "tentative" deal is being leaked for the specific purpose of easing the pressure on Martha Coakley in the election next Tuesday.

Even a tentative deal, however, will not necessarily pass, and it may be changed in closed-door negotiations which will not be revealed until after the special election.

Any Massachusetts union worker who votes for Coakley because of this tentative deal is being played for a sucker. So get ready to be sucker punched on January 20.

Others talking about Union exemption:
American Conservative
Labor Pains

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