- The Washington Times - Monday, January 18, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Nonunion workers of America unite and defeat health care reform legislation before you get shafted. Or worse.

President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Read, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the leaders of the Democratic Congress have negotiated a health care compromise that shafts nonunion American workers.

Under the terms of the compromise, high-value health insurance plans, nicknamed “Cadillac plans,” will be taxed at a 40 percent rate. However, unionized and government-employee plans will be exempt from the 40 percent tax, meaning it will only be paid by nonunionized private sector employees. To call this $60 billion compromise grossly unfair to nonunion American workers is an understatement; it is a national scandal to pay off the political allies of the Democratic Party.

The union bosses who agreed to this compromise should be ashamed of their hypocrisy toward American workers. Union leaders have once again shown they care more about their power and influence in the Democratic Party than they do about American workers. It is no wonder that unions in the U.S. have been declining for decades. Private-sector workers have long recognized organized labors Faustian bargain with the Democratic Party and have been abandoning the labor movement. Unions represent just 9 percent of the private sector workers today, compared with a high of 36 percent in 1945.

Americans must take a serious look at how the Democrats controlling the White House and Congress are abusing their power and ignoring the will of the people in the name of health care reform. The Cadillac tax exemption is only the most recent bribe to a reluctant constituency that congressional Democratic leaders have concocted to pass an unpopular bill. A number of other bribes have surfaced from closed congressional negotiations over the past several weeks.

The “cornhusker kickback” negotiated by Sen. Ben Nelson, Nebraska Democrat, unfairly exempted his state from future unfunded Medicare and Medicaid mandates generated by the health care legislation. These as-yet-undisclosed costs estimated to be in the billions of dollars will be paid by the taxpayers of the remaining 49 states. Even a majority of Nebraska’s voters are embarrassed about their senators unconscionable fleecing of their fellow Americans.

In the “Louisiana purchase,” Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, Louisiana Democrat, sold her vote for a $300 million aid package. Louisiana, like the other 48 states (excluding Nebraska), will incur huge unfunded mandated expenses from Medicare and Medicare if the health care legislation is passed. The state will have to fund these expenses with additional taxes without additional federal revenue. ($300 million is not enough to prevent state tax increases.)

Yes, Mr. Obama may literally keep his promise not to raise federal taxes on Americans making less than $250,000, but he is breaching the spirit of his promise by forcing the states to raise taxes to pay for his unfunded federal health care mandates. America got a much better deal in the original Louisiana Purchase, as Louisiana taxpayers will realize when their state has to increase taxes to pay for health care reform.

Poor Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, Connecticut Democrat, sold his vote for a mere $100 million university health facility. He was such a poor negotiator that he decided not to seek re-election rather than have his constituents unceremoniously fire him.

These unconscionable political deals, using your taxpayer dollars, are the tip of the iceberg. Michigan got a deal to exempt Michigan Blue Cross from the insurance company tax. Florida, Pennsylvania and New York got a deal to protect their Medicare Advantage beneficiaries. Vermont got $10 billion for health centers. If Mr. Obama had not broken his campaign promises to put these negotiations on C-SPAN, undoubtedly more of these deals would be exposed for American voters to review and accept or reject.

Fortunately, this legislation is not the fait accompli that many of us thought on Christmas Eve. Out of left field, Massachusetts state Sen. Scott Brown is creating a tsunami in the health care debate. In the special election Tuesday to fill the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedys seat, Democratic candidate Attorney General Martha Coakley was expected to blow away Mr. Brown in the nation’s most reliably blue state, where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by 3 to 1.

Several weeks ago, Ms. Coakley led Mr. Brown in the polls by 19 points. Today the race is a dead heat. The game changer was Mr. Browns promise to be the 41st vote in the U.S. Senate against the pending health care legislation. If Mr. Brown wins the election, this health care legislation is DOA.

Even if Mr. Brown loses the race, he already has sent a resonant message to Blue Dog and moderate Democrats. If they want to keep their seats, they should vote against this legislation. Americans do not want this corrupt version of health care reform. According to a recent Rasmussen poll, 55 percent of Americans are against this legislation and only 40 percent are in favor.

Nonunion private sector working Americans are the key to turning the tide on this health care legislation. If they live in Massachusetts, they can vote for Mr. Brown on Tuesday or stay home if they cannot pull the lever for a Republican. If they live in the other 49 states, they should contact their congressmen and senators with a clear message: “Kill this health care legislation.” The Democrats will listen to American workers now and kill the bill, or lose their jobs in November.

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