White House budget director Peter Orszag has claimed that the bill’s 40% excise tax on high-cost insurance plans is key to reducing health costs. Yet the Senate Majority Leader’s new version specifically exempts “individuals whose primary work is longshore work.” That would be the longshoremen’s union, which has negotiated very costly insurance benefits. The well-connected dock workers join other union interests such as miners, electrical linemen, EMTs, construction workers, some farmers, fishermen, foresters, early retirees and others who are absolved from this tax.
So the rule of thumb is, if you could appear in a men-in-uniform fantasy on a gay porn site, you’re exempted. And they say Washington in the Obama era isn’t being kind to us homos! The WSJ summarizes things this way:
In other words, controlling insurance costs is enormously important, unless your very costly insurance is provided by an important Democratic constituency.
To libertarians, the lesson from this, of course, is that concentrating power in federal hands facilitates these sorts of machinations by making DC a one-stop-shopping source for favors and deals. To big-government fans, the lesson is, as the WSJ puts it:
The press corps is passing this favoritism off as sausage-making necessary to “make history,” but that’s an insult to sausages.
Yeah. No food processor could hope to get away with putting a product with so much filler over on the buying public.
* And yes, being from PA, I’m aware that the post title refers to scrapple, not sausage. It’s a metaphorical fit.