About that “Fuck the UAW” Tax

In honor of Steve Rattner’s revelation that Rahm Emanuel wandered around during the auto bailout saying “fuck the UAW,” I’ve renamed the “Cadillac tax” the “Fuck the UAW” tax.

Which is appropriate timing given that the Kaiser Family Foundation is out with a study today they should have done during the health care debate, showing that employers have been shifting health care costs onto employees.

The premiums that employees pay for employer-sponsored family coverage rose an average of 13.7 percent this year, while the amount that employers contribute fell by 0.9 percent, the survey found.

For family coverage, workers are paying an average of $3,997, up $482 from last year, while employers are paying an average of $9,773, down $87, according to the survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust.

The best part of the WaPo coverage, though, are the quotes from KFF President Drew Altman playing dumb.

“Many employers looked into their recession survival kit and seem to have concluded that one way to make it through the recession and hang on to as many employees as possible was to pass on their health premium increases to their employees this year,” Kaiser Family Foundation President Drew Altman said by e-mail.

How much, if at all, the federal health-care overhaul enacted in March will restrain cost increases over the long run remains to be seen. While experts debate its likely impact, the legislation is “the only thing we have coming on line as a country to control costs other than what now seems like the primary default strategy in the private sector – shifting costs to people,” Altman said.

You see, the trend of employers shifting costs onto employees was readily apparent last year, when Jonathan Gruber and the Administration and health care reform boosters were using MagicMath to claim that not only would the “Fuck the UAW” tax save money, but that workers would end up with higher wages.

In fact, this behavior has been going on for decades, and it is precisely what the Fuck the UAW tax is designed to incent: boosters—some funded by the KFF–routinely argued that if employers passed more costs onto employees, they would become more sensitive to cost, and use less care (the entire debate sidestepped the question of whether incenting less care was useful, particularly for those with chronic conditions), thereby lowering health care costs overall. And this hocus pocus logic is–aside from laudable changes to Medicare delivery–the biggest cost “savings” in the health care reform bill. But the KFF poll appears to undercut the assumptions that went into the bill (notably, that employees would benefit from this scam).

And KFF President Drew Altman has the audacity to say that the health insurance reform bill is “the only thing we have coming on line as a country to control costs other than what now seems like the primary default strategy in the private sector – shifting costs to people,” without admitting that one of the biggest cost control strategies in the health insurance reform bill is to shift costs to people!

Ah well. An Administration whose Chief of Staff wanders around saying “Fuck the UAW” probably doesn’t consider union members real people anyway.

  1. BayStateLibrul says:

    Shifting costs is a given, always was, and always is.

    Until we have National Health Insurance, we will limp along.

    But, I’m seeing a few bright lights. The new CEO of Blue Cross/Blue Shield

    in Mass seems to be one that will hold down premium rates…

    We have to give the New Law breathing room…

    If the new law had not passed, what would we be doing?

    Nada, in my opinion…

  2. phred says:

    I wonder how much time, money, and effort the UAW is putting into Dem candidates this mid-term. It would be nice if they responded to each and every request from Dems for support with “Fuck Rahm”, but I doubt they will.

    • BayStateLibrul says:

      Did you see that the Lowell Spinners had a Scott Brown bobblehead night?

      Bobblehead, indeed.

      In Tsongas’s Holy District to boot.

      Fuck Scott Brown

      • phred says:

        I’m sorry I missed that — could have glued it to my dashboard for pure entertainment value ; ) I’ve never been to a Spinners game, but I had a blast at the Lock Monsters once. I need to get up to Lowell more often : )

    • emptywheel says:

      I’ll go find Rayne so she can vent about Verg Bernero. He’s our candidate for Gov, against the former CEO of Gateway Computers. Lucky for us, he beat the worse Andy Dillon, the worse kind of DINO, largely with the help of the unions, particularly UAW.

      But he’s in the race bc the Obama Admin chased John Cherry out of it. Cherry had his problems (the UAW didn’t love him). But MI has the highest job creation in the country right now, because of the joint efforts of Jennifer Granholm (Cherry is Lt Gov) and the Obama Admin. Verg won’t get to run on that though.

      Anyway, Verg is far behind in the polls. I would imagine a lot of the line workers aren’t all that excited about Democrats about now.

      • phred says:

        Verg did something at some point that I must have responded to, because I get email from him nearly every day. It goes into the junk folder, so I never bothered to unsubscribe, but I don’t bother to read them either : )

        I am sorry to hear, but not remotely surprised, that ObamaLLC chased the good guy away. Seems the only people they really know how to work with (or at least cater to) are Republicans.

        It’s really unfair that the people of MI have to suffer because of Rahm’s interference, but if there is anything Rahm has a flair for it is inducing widespread suffering.

        • michaelfishman says:

          Somebody explain to me why Articles of Prospective Impeachment were not filed immediately upon the the announcement of Rahm as CoS.

    • Bluetoe2 says:

      Today’s unions are hollow and toothless. When they purged the socialists and communists from their ranks they lost the best organizers and lost a class conscious world view. Today’s leaders think they can do “business” with the bosses while behind closed doors the plutocrats and the CEO’s see the unions as chumps to be manipulated like marionettes.

    • thurbers says:

      Actually the appropriate response would be:

      Might I suggest you direct your request for money to Rahm Emanuel. My salary has been cut, my benefits have been cut and are more expensive and I have to look for a second job. All of which can be laid at the feet of a party that followed his anti-union attitudes and plans. So, I’m afraid I can’t help you get out the vote either. You might ask Rahm to man the phones, too, when you ask him to bankroll your campaign.

      Oh, and when you go to him for those things please feel free to tell him,
      “Fuck me and the union, Rahm. No, Fuck you! It is now up to you to do everything I’ve done before. When your candidates lose, please remember to remind them that it is your brilliant leadership that led to that concession speech.” and thank him from this former loyal member of the Democratic Party.

      • Surtt says:

        You are supposed to be thankful the Republican in the WH has a “D” behind his name and not a “R.”/s

            • thurbers says:

              Much as I think Reagan was a blight on America, sadly, I think I’m closer.

              Rahm active in the Clinton administration. They passed NAFTA (an achievement in his eyes), ‘reformed’ Welfare, and oversaw the dismantling of the Glass/Steagall and the passage of Gramm Bliley Leach with Larry Summers.

              Rahm big in the Obama administration. Passed PPACA (another achievement!), have continued the most egregious aspects of the Bush War on Terror, Saved the banks while screwing the mortgage holders, now have Social Security in the sights (which just missed being part of the Clinton list)

  3. 1der says:

    Reading that about Emmanuel and the one on Obama followed by this on Summers:

    “Summers could also be brutal with fellow members of Obama’s economic team. After Austan Goolsbee, chief economist for the White House Economic Recovery Advisory Board, expressed to the president his doubts about the $5 billion plan to help save auto suppliers, Summers cornered Goolsbee in the corridor and exploded, “You do not relitigate in front of the President.”

    In what appeared to be an act of retaliation, Summers later refused Council on Economic Advisers chair Christy Romer’s request to bring Goolsbee to an important meeting with Obama.

    Summer’s manner of speech became a source of humor for Rattner’s team. When he once interrupted an aide by blurting, “I’ve already considered that idea and rejected it,” the line was repeated for weeks afterward by Rattner’s younger colleagues.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/02/steven-rattners-overhaul-_n_703070.html#s133822

    My advice to Warren is to think twice and get it in writing if she decides to take the job before she gets the “I’ve got 13 fuckin’ bankers sitting in the office bigger than Vice’s telling us you’re about to ruing their economy if you do what you gotta’ do” conference call from Larry and Moe, I mean Rahm.

    • phred says:

      If anyone has the brass cahones to hang up on Rahm and his 13 fuckin’ bankers, it would be Warren. I wish I had any talent at all in economics, along with just enough access to read Rahm the riot act. I could send him runnin’ home to mama in no uncertain terms and I bet Warren could do so better than me any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

      If there is one thing we need and need desperately it is some tough women to stand up to these bullying fuckers. How did we get stuck with so many mama’s boys in government? It’s disgraceful how easily cowed they all are.

      And as for Rattner don’t even get me started on his Geithner and Summers should have been appointed and confirmed faster b.s. If there are two people I want as far away from government as I can get them, it would be them. Based on that alone, I have zero respect for or interest in Rattner’s opinion on anything.

  4. Mary says:

    Screw: unions, liberals, free speech advocates, whistlblower protection advocates, rule of law advocates, anti-torture advocates, transparent governance advocates, anti-war advocates, anti-government corruption advocates, limits on exec power advocates, women’s rights advocates, veterans advocates, anti-poverty advocates, small business advocates, environmental advocates and LOL cats.

    I guess Rahm is shooting for the a pick up of the birther votes. Good for him.

    Meanwhile, one thing Tony Blair has learned from Afghanistan and Iraq is – its time to bomb Iran.

    Apparently this is bc he finds ME diplomacy frustrating.

    I can only imagine what would have happened if he had been a USPostal employee.

  5. scribe says:

    One is compelled to wonder just what the true opinions of, say, the UAW are, which are held by Rahm’s employer.

    The one who refuses to fire him and considers him possibly his closest friend, that is.

    • PJEvans says:

      For this one, it should have been before he was named to the job. Or not more than five minutes after he accepted it.

    • solerso says:

      for this particular one? 4 years i think. Remember when his stated “dream job” was speaker of the house hahahahahahahahaha its almost worth voting republican now to make sure that never happens. fortunately i dont think i need to. i saw recently his dream job is now “mayor of chicago”. i doubt thats going to happen either. rahms going to come out of this a loser who worked for a loser. they dont vote for washed up losers in chicago. again, hahahahahahahaahahaha. maybe his next dream job will be senior lobbyist at AIPAC.officially i mean. not in the unoffical capacity he works for them now in.

      • solerso says:

        actually now that i think of it, he hasnt stopped working for AIPAC in over 15 years. that cant be a possible rahm dream job. maybe he can replace Regis Philbin, until, 5 minutes into the first show “shut up Kelley you fucking t**t! i wasnt finished you retard”. then after the next commercial we learn he’s been temporarily replaced with Greg Gumbel.I see rahm doing alot cable news show apperances in the mid term future.

    • michaelfishman says:

      You would expect the container to have about the same shelf-life as the thing contained, to wit: 4 years.

      cf. metonymy, James Thurber

      (Unless, of course, the container has better things to do.)

  6. cregan says:

    First, I like you have ads for the Aria running on the site. It’s a great hotel. And the buffet is spectacular.

    Since the UAW got bigger percentage ownership for the debt owned by GM and Chrysler to them than the creditors got for what was owed them (percentage versus dollar), I’d say they bent a few people over themselves.

    When faced with a choice of let some people go versus put some insurance costs on all employees, I’d go with keeping people on the payroll.

    The whole health care bill was another example of a bill that was not well thought through. From beginning to end. And, they are going to pay the price for it.

    • Bluetoe2 says:

      Actually the Health Insurance Reform was thought through very well. You just have to remember who it was intended to benefit. It wasn’t the U.S. public but rather the health insurance cartels and big pharma. Rahm and Obama worked tirelessly to insure that those corporate campaign funds would keep rolling in by giving their paymasters exactly what they wanted. A captive customer base and no public option.

    • Surtt says:

      The whole health care bill was another example of a bill that was not well thought through. From beginning to end. And, they are going to pay the price for it.

      It was very well thought out.
      They just didn’t put much in it for the consumers.

  7. fatster says:

    O/T, but related:

    Productivity falls while labor costs increase

    Productivity falls in the spring by largest amount in nearly 4 years while labor costs rise


      • mzchief says:

        Did you see all the other ones? LMAO { fell off chair }. With supercomputers, all things are possible! Now if they can just run power over the ‘Net, that ‘Net “kill switch” will really rock out! WOOT!!

  8. Bluetoe2 says:

    Why if it weren’t for unions everyone in the U.S. would be living in a utopia. If it’s broke the unions broke it. Corporations, ever the benevolent benefactors of the working and middle class.

  9. RevBev says:

    So much better to read here where we don’t have to look at that harsh face…Don’t think he could make it long on TV, either.

  10. rapier says:

    I am no naif or prude and vulgar people shock me not. Even among bosses or leaders, especially them. Still, Rahm’s obsessive seemingly pathological verbal expressions of raw hatred of most everyone who is not of the elites ultimately gives lie to every cool word and gesture from Obama. No, high stakes politics is not for milquetoasts and pansies. Still, shouldn’t a little heart and empathy show through on occasion.

    The Democratic party is not redeemable. What few principal Clinton didn’t sell out Obama will. And to boot his party will be wiped out in the election. Without mind you even a fight. Still one supposes he will still be reaching out to the 20 million who pray for his death every Sunday. In the history of politics there is really nothing to match the modern democratic party except in occupied countries.

    • hackworth1 says:

      Big Pharma and Wellpoint may well fund Obamaco reelection efforts, but therein lies no true loyalty. Rhambama has given away the farm. They have nothing further to offer that the Republicans won’t also deliver in spades.

      For example, Rethugs will demagogue HCR all day long for the rubes. But they will never take down the Mandate. Insurance companies know it. Dems and Rethugs know it. Whosoever taketh down the mandate loses all the Insurance Company largesse. Whosover makes the insurance companies pay claims shall suffer the same fate.

      R or D, Insurance companies will back the winners. Obamaco has given them everything they ever wanted. No Party will dare to take it away.

      Rhambama has fucked us.

      • solerso says:

        and for nothing. as you point out, having gotten everything they wanted what will keep them from fully funding their more fully reliable allies?nada.

  11. tegrat says:

    There is absolutely NOTHING in the HCR legislation that controls costs. Remember, the big bogey-man was making sure it was deficit neutral or, joy!, deficit reducing!! Of course, the government isn’t the only entity paying for healthcare (it would be if we had single-payer, of course, and then our joy would be justified). Cost shifting will be the name of the game from here on out.
    There is a hidden benefit to cost-shifting, and that is that people will start to realize that costs that were once somewhat invisible to them when employers were paying the bulk of premiums (of course, this was foregone wages) now becomes more plainly and painfully visible. Hopefully, enough of us will become angry enough to actually move to a single-payer system.

    • KrisAinCA says:

      Hopefully, enough of us will become angry enough to actually move to a single-payer system.

      The problem with that hope is we still live in a representative democracy. Until that changes, the folks we elect will cease their lip service when they reach office and continue to screw us over to pad the accounts of their donors (and themselves)

  12. textynn says:

    The thing that really tells you how this country treats and thinks of workers shows up when you work for the state or government. These jobs are some of the most manipulated situations you could ever imagine. This is because no one knows better than the government how to jump through a loop hole. And the government is able to create abstract interpretations of the law that no other person would dare unless following their example.

    I worked for the state of WA teaching at the community college. Even though I worked there for almost a decade, I had to sign a contract four times a year. The message was clear. We will drop you like a dirty diaper on hot road trip if we decide to. But the real “dirty’ came every summer. Every summer every instructor received a form letter that said that if your hours drop below such and such you lose you health care for the summer. The first summer I received this form letter I didn’t’ think it applied to me and didn’t do anything. My schedule was the same as the rest of the year. But the formula was working an angle that I hadn’t guessed. The summer quarter was shorter than the other quarters. I found out that all teachers were caught in this formula and they all lost their health insurance every summer. They could pay the full unemployed price, of course, and most people did making their summer employment almost earning free after health care costs. Then to top it off, the college kept the money that the government paid to cover their end of the employee’s health care. They finally got sued for it. But no criminal charges were ever risked or levied…. and… they kept doing it for the better part of a decade while they appealed it over and over.

    It gets better. This contract formula they used made it really hard to get unemployment. In fact, the situation was designed to force all those seeking unemployment compensation to go through a special trial to get it. You were forced to prove that you really had long term employment. While getting unemployment was possible, people that worked for the college had to go through extensive paperwork and hearings to get it. And to top that, the only college employees to get unemployment were the ones that knew the secret because Unemployment just turned people down based on the contract system and didn’t educate them to the recourse they could take.

    The college also practiced a strange formula of paying employees twice in one month each year and skipping a month the month after. This was done right before summer. This kept struggling women, usually single, from being able to get food stamps in the summer when they were basically working for health care and not a lot more.

    When laws are used by the very law makers to extort people, mostly the poor and struggling, something is seriously wrong. And people like Rahm Emanuel should be considered completely unethical because …. wait for it… they are. They are paid to work on the best interest of the people and they are working openly against them.

    • nowax says:

      The college also practiced a strange formula of paying employees twice in one month each year and skipping a month the month after. This was done right before summer. This kept struggling women, usually single, from being able to get food stamps in the summer when they were basically working for health care and not a lot more.


      I think this is one data point for the proof that the US has become a de facto third world nation. College instructors/employees getting paid so little they NEED food stamps.

      The income of the bottom 90% has stagnated while the top 10% are making gobs of money. Sounds like a third world nation to me…

    • reddflagg says:

      My experience was similar working for a university as an adjunct. I was paid $2000 per class per semester, four classes per semester (most of which were upper level- junior/senior only) which works out to $16k per year. I spent the summers driving a semi truck for a temp agency for $10 per hour. Some of the jobs required that I unload an entire trailer by hand (CVS drug for example) in the Florida summer heat and were beyond my physical ability as a diabetic, but in Orlando there was little else over the summer. I didn’t even consider unemployment because I couldn’t wait the month or whatever to get it and I needed to eat in the meantime. When they wouldn’t bump me up to a full-time, salaried faculty position I eventually quit the adjunct job despite having spent all of my adult life earning a PhD with only a faculty job in mind. My main reason for quitting was that I felt like a scab, someone who by agreeing to work for less money lowers the overall wage rate for everyone. I still want a faculty job, but I will never take an adjunct job again, so it will likely be overseas, not in this dying country.

  13. KarenM says:

    I had to switch from my personal choice plan to an HMO this year. I hate asking permission to see anyone, but I figured this was the time to make the change and I’m glad I did. Personal choice costs a whole lot more and covers a whole lot less.

  14. mzchief says:

    What a person needs is health, clean air, clean food, clean water, decent medical care, decent housing, some clothing and education (versus training for a temporary “job” in the system). You don’t want a “promise” or a voucher at the company store you can never pay off with your labor.

    To me, this a measure of how crazy and precarious the international system has become: The Other Side Of China’s 8% GDP “Growth”: Ghost Cities (the follow-on article is “China Takes The Property Bubble To A Whole New Level: An Explosion Of (Vacant) Inland Cities Is Coming“).

  15. mattcarmody says:

    I remember posting a comment here before that crappy health care bill was passed that my premiums in an employer provided retiree health care plan had increased by 17%. BEFORE the health care bill was passed.

  16. Auduboner says:

    During the healthcare debate, KFF was paying newspapers to run – as news – a series of “articles” extolling how great the health insurance companies were and how the Public Option was not needed. Publishers like the craven Ad-Man, Brian Tierney of the Phila. Inquirer, were only to eager to get free “news” content.

    At the time, I checked the management of KFF, and as expected, it is operated and managed by members of the Kaiser (Permanente) family, the health insurance company, and its vendors (same law firms, accountants, etc.). It was funded and still is funded by Kaiser Permanente, CA’s second-largest health insurer. It is, in short, a mouthpiece for the Insurance company. When I presented these facts to Tierney and his editor, they said, in effect, “Well, okay, but we know that reporters (of the bogus articles), so it’s okay.” They didn’t even bother to deny that it was orchestrated by Big Health Insurance.

    So, I don’t know why you expect KFF to draw any pro-consumer conclusions from that data. That’s not why they exist. In fact, I’m sure the raw data – before it was scrubbed by KFF – paints an even worse picture for workers.

    And oh yeah – Fuck RahmObama.

  17. jedimsnbcko19 says:

    A nation with a govt that does not represent or care about the people is not a nation!

    Mr. Hope A Dope Obama games should make every real democrat very angry. Yes Democrats you were Con by Obama.

    The Unions need to think long and hard about the idea of working with this White House of Con Men.

    Obama and the phony dems pass the Bob Dole Health Care Bill, so of course the Bob Dole health care bill screws Unions

  18. TheOracle says:

    I heard that Labor Day is being dumped (so no more Labor Day Weekend).

    But good news, all the Republicans and the Blue Dog Democrats in Congress (and Blue Dog Rahm “Fuck the UAW” Emanueal) are planning legislation (if November goes their way), getting rid of Labor Day and replacing it with Goldman Sachs Day, so there’ll be a Goldman Sachs Weekend over which all American workers, who used to have off Labor Day Weekend, will be required to work…and for free…along with their children.

    The Republicans and Blue Dogs haven’t exactly settled on Goldman Sachs Day. Other lobbyists on Capitol Hill are lobbying for Koch Industries Day (and weekend), British Petroleum Day (and weekend), Walmart Day (and weekend), News Corp Day (and weekend), but hey, there are 52 weekends in a year, so maybe all will be taken, kind of like putting corporate names on ball parks. Or maybe the corporate-bought Republicans and Blue Dogs will settle for a generic Wall Street Day and a three-day Wall Street Weekend? Maybe Republicans and Blue Dogs will instead choose a Celebration of Small Businesses Day to replace Labor Day and it’s celebration of American workers? Nawwww. Small businesses, especially of the mom-and-pop sort, aren’t corporate/investor behemoths, so they’re all viewed in the same conservative vein of contempt as America’s workers are veiwed…expendable…they’re all a dime a dozen…why should the corporate Masters of the Universe care.

    (Oooops, I hope my little joke doesn’t give any nation-damaging worker-hating small-business-destroying corporatists any ideas. But their hatred of labor unions is well-documented. As is conservative hatred of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Education Department and anything public, versus privately-owned. So, the idea that conservatives might eventually get around to canceling Labor Day really isn’t that far-fetched, especially if conservatives gain seats in November, enough maybe to take back control of Congress).

  19. whattheincorporated says:

    Of course union workers aren’t real people, they don’t live in a house with 50,000 other corporate americans in a single room house in the Bahama’s.

    But seriously…did anyone see Jonathan Alters ass kissing yesterday?

    By the time he finished kissing Obama and “Rahmbo” (Alter so has a man crush on him)’s ass I could smell the feces through my tv.

    Alter: Rahm always talks like that!

    That c*** didn’t finish the sentance.

    Rahm always talks like that about progressives, civil rights workers and union workers…but would get down on all fours for a fox intern.