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It is likely that the decline of private sector unions has led to additional pressure on the federal government to provide a more state-centered medical system. Why? One defining feature of the old-style union firms was their top-notch health care benefits. Therefore, unions would be natural opponents to government intrusions in the health care sector. Even if expansions of insurance to the non-poor population was all that was being discussed by policymakers, unions (and others with good insurance policies) would naturally view any government moves as a possible threat to their existing plans. You ought not be surprised at who politicians are talking to when they say over and over again, “If you like your current plan, you can keep it …”

2 Responses to “Be Careful What You Wish For”

  1. Harry says:

    Big questions, Wintercow. If we do not have prosperity, how in the world can anybody or any organization fulfill any of their promises?

    I had a client, a labor union, that for a few decades had a portfolio that funded their Blue Cross bills. Had they not stopped funding the account for a rainy day, they might have escaped the relentless day of reckoning of rising insurance premiums. In any event, they liquidated everything, squandering it all, a million in the last four months.

    They forgot what they started out to do, which was different from the idea that someone else would take care of their responsibilities when a rainy day came.

    To their credit, they were willing not to invest in short-term CD’s of savings and loans, the prevailing theory of labor union economics, and actually bought equity in good companies, while hedging their bets with bonds. This success was their downfall, because for twenty years they stopped adding money, which in retrospect should have been at least half the income or the same amount in new money.

    Who has calculated the unfunded benefits due by contract to everyone? I guess the Chrysler and GM employees have some idea.

  2. chuck martel says:

    Private sector union advocacy of government health care has always been demented because union benefits packages were one of the most effective reasons for accepting representation. I once asked Thomas Patchell, at that time Secretary-General of the United Association, why organized labor should be lobbying for a bigger role in health care. His reply was that if it was supplied by the taxpayers, employers would have more money to expend in wages. Maybe he really believed that, but if he didn’t he must have thought that I was pretty stupid.

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