Just after Ford Motor Company announced third-quarter profits of nearly $1 billion, its UAW-represented workers rejected a package of concessions including a wage freeze for newly hired workers and a no-strike pledge when the current contract expires in 2011. The concessions would have put Ford’s labor costs on par with those that GM and Chrysler obtained earlier this year. Those concessions, in turn, brought the companies’ wages and benefits down to the levels of the (non-union) Japanese manufacturers with plants here.
From the moment the the Republican leadership released its alternative approach to health care reform, critics (including me) pointed out that it was unlikely to make a dent in the number of people without insurance. On Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office came out with its preliminary estimates of what the bill will do. And, sure enough, the critics were right. Overall, ten years into implementation, the plan would not significantly change the number of people with health insurance.
When conservatives scream about socialized medicine and death panels, you should tune them out. But lately conservatives have been making an argument you should hear. It's about whether we can believe Congress when it promises to raise taxes or cut spending--and, as such, whether we can believe that health care reform can actually be fiscally responsible. As you may know, many promoters of health care reform say that the proposals in Congress will pay for themselves and, over the long run, actually reduce what we spend, as taxpayers and as a society.
Anthony Wright is executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. He blogs daily at the Health Access Weblog and is a regular contributor to the Treatment. When Senate Majority Leader Reid held a press conference announcing the inclusion of a version of a public health insurance option in the merged Senate health reform bill, he didn’t mention the outcome of another major difference between the two Senate committee proposals--what would be responsibility of employers with regard to on-the-job coverage.
Anthony Wright is executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. He blogs daily at the Health Access Weblog and is a regular contributor to the Treatment. A week ago, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was upset when The Yes Men, a group of pranksters and activists, held a fake press conference, claiming that the Chamber has reversed their opposition to climate change legislation. It’s true that the Chamber was misrepresented.
It was Halloween 2001, and Kennesaw State freshman Nick Ayers was sitting anxiously in an Atlanta airplane hangar. A friend had recommended him for a campaign position with Republican state senator Sonny Perdue, who was mounting a long-shot gubernatorial run against Democratic incumbent Roy Barnes. The portly, middle-aged politician disembarked his Bellanca Super Viking and, as Ayers recounts the story, walked down the stairs holding a lid-less cup of coffee. Eager to make a good first impression, the nervous blonde teenager extended his hand for a firm shake.
Francisco Toro and Juan Nagel write the Venezuelan news blog Caracas Chronicles. A version of this post originally appeared there. The Honduran tragicomedy that has consumed the hemisphere's diplomats for months is at an end (read the details here).
Senator Ron Wyden has been promoting a universal health care plan for almost three years. And in the last few months, as it's become apparent that his plan wouldn't be the basis for final legislation, he's narrowed his cause to promoting one of its chief elements: "choice." The idea works this way: Under the proposals moving through Congress, most people with access to employer-sponsored insurance would have to take it.
The theory of just war may go back to Augustine. But its modern herald is Michael Walzer, who in 1977 published his book Just and Unjust Wars (Basic Books). Maybe you read it in a college course, as by now tens (and tens) of thousands of students have. Maybe you participated in a "just war" discussion, informed or uninformed, around a dinner table.
Andrew Exum flags a Washington Post commenter who took a pretty dim view of the Post's front-pager yesterday about Matthew Hoh, the civilian official in Afghanistan who resigned to protest America's presence there. First, I am currently serving in a PRT in Iraq. I trained with Matt in northern Virginia in April of this past year before we both moved on to our respective assignments. Matt is a smart young man who has honorably served his country, but by no means was or is he an expert on counterinsurgency, Afghan tribal culture, or U.S.