Thursday, December 13, 2012

American Unions Should Take Lessons From Solidarnosc; ObamaCare Legacy: Insurance Rates Keep Rising

A close friend of mine said his doctor gave him less than two weeks to live. But it turns out his doctor is Mayan. He says that to everybody...Leno

  • In 1980,  Solidarnos'c' (Solidarity), a free-trade, anti-Soviet social movement led by Lech Welesa, emerged in  Communist controlled Poland after a long decade of rising food prices and stagnant wages (In the 1970's, about 28 workers were shot dead by government troops during the food riots). The Communist controlled government attempted to repress the union in the early 1980's. It failed. It failed because the non-violent social movement that had a huge impact on Poland's political scene as well as support from most of the Polish people, the Catholic Church, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, Britain's Prime Minister at the time. I know because I traveled to Poland often during the 1980's and early 1990's to visit my family.

  • Many of today's American unions do not have that kind of support. They did decades ago (I was a member of several unions myself). But what are Americans witnessing today? As evidenced in MI this week and in WI earlier this year, unions resorted to violence. This kind of behavior does not bode well for public support.
  • They've also seen how "union leaders have grown beefy feeding on its emaciated body," as Michael Walsh of the NY Post pointed out (Of the top ten unions, their executive salaries and benefits range from $170k per year to over $600k per year). Americans also see and feel how public sector unions are" leaving taxpayers with trillions of dollars and retiree health care liabilities." USA Today.  In addition, today unions make up only 12% of the workforce (about 7% in the private sector). And the reasons are clear. Improved technology and globalization makes non-Right to Work states less competitive. Any surprise that most Right to Work states have higher employment rates than their counterparts? And just two weeks ago, we witnessed Hostess having to lay off 15,000 employees because their unions refused to be more flexible.
  • As USA Today's editorial pointed out so well, "It (union movement) is going to have to change. Showing greater flexibility, and concern for people outside their ranks, would be a good place to start." {"Unions' Woes Are Largely Of Their Own Making."}. 
  • The fact is Americans now realize they cannot afford unions' unsustainable wages, benefits and pensions that now exceed a trillion dollars.

  • Pres. Obama and Democrats promised that ObamaCare would not raise insurance costs. Well, LA Times is reporting that CA Blue Shield is requesting a 20% hike in premiums. In addition, Aetna CEO said ObamaCare will result in some premiums doubling.  Bloomberg News.  Even with ObamaCare Gallup projects 29 million Americans will still not have health insurance by 2019. So much for insuring every American.
  • Census is reporting that the number of Hispanics will more than double by 2060. In 2060, the oldest Baby Boomer will be 96. White population will peak in 2024. Black population will grow from 41 million to about 62 million.