Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

"The virtue involved in helping those one loves is not 'selflessness' or 'sacrifice', but integrity." Ayn Rand

10 September 2009

Unions Will Drive Costs & Quality of ObamaCare

After card check, the unions most want ObamaCare. Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Committee, has described why in an Opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal on 10 September 2009.

The current House bill (HR 3200) grants the Secretary of Health and Human Services discretionary authority to regulate health care workers under the public health insurance option. Doctors and nurses may be forced into monopoly bargaining and have to pay union dues. The Secretary will be guided by the many new federal government advisory and regulatory panels set up by the bill and these panels are to be filled with union officials.

The Senate bill follows in the footsteps of Govs. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois and Gray Davis of California who paid their union dues by reclassifying state-reimbursed in-home health care and child care contract workers as state employees. They were then pushed into the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) which ran the biggest Democrat union PAC in the last election and is turning out its members to pack town hall meetings to make them safer for Democrats. This is already the fastest growing union and it expects to become much bigger under ObamaCare.

The House bill bails out insolvent union health care plans with $10 billion. Similar to the construction apprenticeship programs operated in the Department of Labor, it also creates a training and professional development program for health care workers. The construction training program has given construction unions hundreds of millions of dollars a year, so the SEIU is hoping to tap into a similar goldmine.

Max Baucus, Senate Finance Committee Chairman, wants to tax health care insurance benefits, but he will exempt union-negotiated plans. This would certainly be an incentive for workers to join a union and may be reason enough for some employers to push their employees into unions. They give up management of the company in large part, but have to fund much cheaper union-negotiated insurance benefits. At present health insurance rates, this may not be a big enough factor for a company to give up its own management, but after the Federal government adds many more benefits that must be covered in acceptable health insurance plans and the cost of such plans goes up greatly, many companies will be forced to sell their souls to the union devil to stay in business, if only for the short haul.

It is clear that ObamaCare is designed to reward labor unions for their support. It will cause the rest of us
  • to pay higher taxes,
  • to pay higher rates for our health insurance,
  • to worry about needing health care when union workers are on strike,
  • to be taken advantage of by ghost workers, seniority over competence in promotions and job security, and laziness on the job,
  • to be subject to increased union power in politics since it will add huge sums of new union dues to be used for political and expansion efforts, and
  • suffer from increased union management of private health firms and of government panels and agencies.
None of which is consistent with the limited powers of Congress under the Constitution and none of which is non-contradictory to the requirement that constitutionally permitted actions be for the General Welfare. Unions exist for the purpose of using force to monopolize a labor market and to thereby takeover much of the management of private firms or public agencies, while enriching their members at the expense of everyone else. In the process, labor unions make any organization they infiltrate a less efficient and less customer-driven organization. In the case of private firms, this usually means that in time they kill the host the union parasite takes control of. Government agencies simply become more costly and less efficient than they are already.


Jessie said...

Unfortunately, excellence is no longer valued and mediocrity is tolerated/rewarded. Anybody who shows excellence is held down by those who are mediocre. Nobody can make more money than anybody else and nobody can be better than the rest. Unions are the quintessential representation of this notion. This is the same notion that is used in raising children these days. No child can win and be rewarded for their excellence because all the rest of the children can't win. No child is a loser and no child is a winner. No responsibility is given to the child to do well and work hard.
Sometimes people just suck. If no one ever tells them this then maybe they don't know that they suck but it's more likely that they just think it's okay to suck. People don’t have to take personal responsibility if they are being managed by someone else. It becomes the manager's responsibility. There are so many people who suck in this country and that is why they are so in favor of the government controlling their lives so that it is no longer their fault that they suck.

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

Thanks for your comment Jessie.

There is some hope on this issue. Many people have an abstract desire to see no one rise above others and this does too often dominate the beliefs of many teachers who are members of a very socialist union. Our children are done a great disservice in this and are too often discouraged from making heroic efforts to acquire real understanding and problem-solving skills. Their desire to become creative is also discouraged. On the other hand, many Americans still do value creativity, productivity, and heroic effort, but those are the people who work in non-union businesses and most small businesses. Many young people do learn after leaving school that the real world expects more of them. This is why American school children are not at all superior internationally when they finish school, but by the time they are about 30 years old, they tend to be among the world's most productive workers, provided they are not in a union.

One of our big problems is that our children are mis-educated in the public schools and it takes them at least until they are 30 to get over most of their educational deficiencies. Of course, some people graduate from the 60 or so supposedly best universities in the country and they take much longer to get over the mis-education. Barack and Michelle Obama are good examples of this. They remind me of many of the socialist students I had bull sessions with at Brown University in the late 1960s and then at Case Western Reserve University in the 1970s. They do not know what they are talking about, but they do it with assurance and a deeply committed belief. I rip apart their arguments here, as I did then, but few socialists pay any attention when you show them the inadequacy of their ideas.

On the other hand, most people will choose to go to a good doctor, than than a poor one. Most want a good carpenter or plumber, not bad ones. Most want unblemished fruit, rather than fruit bruised and mold-infected. When it comes to making actual concrete choices for themselves, they want the good, not the mediocre.

The 100,000 plus people who protested in Washington D.C. on 11 September 2009 and who do seem to understand much of what is going on, have renewed my hope for America. In any case, our only choice is to fight the battle for reason, creativity, productivity, Capitalism, and self-responsibility. The socialist alternative is just too depressing to contemplate!