John on September 2, 2009 at 11:01 am
From the NY Times two days ago:
The man who is set to take the A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s helm next month warned Democrats on Monday that organized labor would challenge those who ultimately supported insurance companies in the push for a health care overhaul.
“Today, more than ever, we need to be a labor movement that stands by our friends, punishes its enemies, and challenges those who, well, can’t seem to decide which side they’re on,” Richard L. Trumka, who is running unopposed for the presidency of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., said in the text of a speech to be given Monday morning to the Center for American Progress in Washington.
Trumka quickly clarifies that he’s talking about politicians, but given big labor’s history of bare-knuckle brawling it’s ominous nonetheless.
And there’s no doubt who is on Trumka’s enemies list. From the same speech:
I think they need to understand that that you can have a bill that guarantees quality, affordable health care for every American â€“ or you can have a bill the Republicans will vote for. But you can’t have both!
Jumping over to the Christian Science Monitor, Trumka offers this instant classic in unintentional hilarity:
“If you are interested in health insurance reform, the public option can not go away. It is essential. 94 percent of the insurance markets out there are classified as highly concentrated, that means they are controlled by just a couple of insurance companies,” Trumka said. “Now if you are going to break the stranglehold they have on insurance, you have to have a public option so that people have someplace to walk to.”
First of all, he’s just wrong. The public option is not the only way to “break the stranglehold” in certain markets. In fact the only reason these strangleholds exist is because of federal legislation which prevents insurance companies from selling across state lines. Change the law and you get competition without government’s heavy hand.
But secondly, can you believe this guy is concerned about competition?! He works for the AFL-CIO, the largest union federation in North America. Unions, if you hadn’t heard, tend to monopolize certain industries and create a death-grip on both labor and management. We recently saw how well that works out with the bankruptcy of GM and Chrysler.
And what do you think happens when another union comes in and tries to pinch members? I know firsthand because I used to work for the federal government and I recall an effort by a union to come in to the workplace and peel off members. It was months of bad-mouthing and dirty-pool-protectionism in action. Punish their enemies indeed! I can assure you “choice and competition” were not the buzzwords at that moment.
If there’s one stranglehold I’d like to break, it’s the one that unions have over government workers at all levels. How about a little choice and competition there, Trumka. As it is, the entire country is being punished every time this leftist windbag gets in front of a microphone.
Category: Health & Education |