Union leaders are among the most passionate backers of President Barack Obama's plan to nationalize U.S. health care -- except the part where the Democrats call for a tax on high-value insurance plans ... the kind unions have negotiated for their members.
The union chiefs would like to see that part removed. Or, at least, an exemption so union members don't have to pay.
At issue is a proposed 40 percent excise tax on insurance companies, keyed to premiums paid on health care plans costing more than $8,500 annually for individuals and $23,000 for families. Democrats figure the new tax would raise some $150 billion over 10 years to help pay for the their $1 trillion health care bill.
The threshold for insurance plans that would be taxed has already been raised in response to union members' concerns, and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., a leader of those efforts, says there could be further changes. But labor organizations including the Teamsters, the AFL-CIO and the National Education Association (the teachers) are urging the Senate to drop the tax entirely and take the approach embraced by the House, which would instead raise income taxes on individuals making more than $500,000 a year and couples making more than $1 million.
Union leaders have brought hundreds of members to the Capitol this week to lobby lawmakers.
"We should tax the millionaires, not teachers and bus drivers," said Lily Eskelsen, vice president of the National Education Association.
Why? What gives Ms. Eskelsen the right to reach into somebody else's pocket to loot money to cover her health care costs?
The founders stipulated that, in the United States, "all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States." When did that become, "Tax him, and him, and him, but never me"? Is that really the best route to a society of peace, amity and brotherhood among men?
The final irony is that such political promises are always lies. Each group is always assured, "This won't hit you; but we're going to punish that rich guy over there."
In the first place, confiscating all the wealth of "the wealthy" wouldn't keep the welfare state running for more than a year or two -- and you could do it only once.
But in the second place, "the rich" always ends up meaning the middle class, since that's where the bulk of the revenue is really to be gleaned.
Meantime, the "rich guy" who owns the grocery store pays his new tax -- and then raises the price of a can of beans by 20 cents.
And that didn't cost you a thing?