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View Diary: I am a Safeway worker (139 comments)

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  •  Yes and no (13+ / 0-)

    I think they've certainly accelerated the process, but I think we'd also be having these problems to a large degree with a different administration, too. A lot of the crisis is IMO structural, and has been building for much more than a decade -- it's just that it's finally reaching higher and higher up the class/wage scale. The poor were screwed regarding health coverage (among other things) years ago, but the poor don't have the kind of political clout that the middle class does -- and the middle class is hurting now.

    I blame this administration and its cronies for letting it get so bad so quickly, but I think we'd have had it coming anyway.

    •  good points (15+ / 0-)

      I wish I could remember the article; I believe it was in the New Yorker (I could be wrong) about how, in Europe, during the heyday of unions they worked for government coverage for healthcare while in the US, unions pushed for an employer-based system. And it explained why we are in the situation we are in now, with an aging, longer living retiree demographic still being supported by the employers.

      Add to that the gross financialization of everything in this country but particularly, under the Bush administration, of the health care system (say what you want about the problems before this decade, but we've never had so much policy push to let the 'market' drive health care decisions) and you wind up in the situation we are in now.

      •  asdf (7+ / 0-)

        during the heyday of unions they worked for government coverage for healthcare while in the US, unions pushed for an employer-based system.

        Well, sort of. We went through a few weird stages of union pushes -- the beginnings of organized labor are an amazingly interesting history to read, FYI, something I cannot recommend highly enough. A lot of our current structural problems become much clearer with those pieces of the puzzle. The unions -- it depends on who you're talking about, because the skilled trade unions had very different views from the Knights of Labor, for example.

        but we've never had so much policy push to let the 'market' drive health care decisions

        Oh, I absolutely agree. But I still think that we were going to see this happen over time anyway; I think there's just a limit to the help you can give a crumbling system through regulation of a market. Economics have doomed our current system, and the Bush administration and friends have kicked it down the stairs.

        •  Interesting comment... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Spit, snakelass

          On skilled unions.  I know that the skilled construction trade unions such as pipe fitters and sheet metal workers have their insurance provided by the union, but financed by the companies that have union employees.  In this way, the union members do have an incentive to make sure what is being provided is what they want.  However, there is still problems with this because the insurance companies that they deal with are still profit motivated.  The used to self insure, but that almost lead to bankruptcy.

          "My religion? I'm a Fundamentalist Agnostic. If you can't prove your point, STFU." - paraphrased from GMT

          by RichM on Fri Mar 02, 2007 at 11:25:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I know a Union sheet metal worker that (0+ / 0-)

            has $12,000/yr withheld from pay to cover medical. No option to decline either.

            "I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self." --Aristotle

            by java4every1 on Fri Mar 02, 2007 at 01:07:04 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  I believe the article you cite... (0+ / 0-)

        was from the Atlantic and it presented an interesting history of the evolution of employer health care in the US. It came out last summer?

    •  "middle class is hurting now." I suspect this is (8+ / 0-)

      the real reason behind the dismantling of civil liberties.  From spying on individuals to putting political hacks into District Attn positions to right wing talk radio accusing liberals as traitors who must be eliminated.

      Really this admin is full of planning genius which is why I never bought the situation in Iraq as being a "mistake".

      "Yes dear. Conspiracy theories really do come true." (tuck, tuck)

      by tribalecho on Fri Mar 02, 2007 at 11:03:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  In the long run (0+ / 0-)

        they can't win by allying the middle class with the poor, IMO. Their current tactics -- ignoring the growing economic problems for the middle class while trying to keep control through fear, intimidation, and marketing ploys -- might work for a while, but in the long term the elites are the ones who pay for such tactics. Their long term survival depends on keeping the middle class and poor divided.

        •  I don't think the Neocons see it this way... (5+ / 0-)

          Which is why they are so dangerous.  Theres is the ultimate elitist philosophy - basically decisions should be made by the elites and the rabble have no say.  The problem is that eventually people will catch-wise.  Especially since the world is smaller.  If Americans see former Soviet or third world countries as having a better standard of living, then the jig is up.  This is why we see travel restrictions and internet regulation.  But the world is shrinking and this charade can only last for so long.  This is also why I have arrived at my pessimistic view - real structural change is not going to happen until there is a real collapse in the system. In other words, we have not seen the worst of it yet.

          "My religion? I'm a Fundamentalist Agnostic. If you can't prove your point, STFU." - paraphrased from GMT

          by RichM on Fri Mar 02, 2007 at 11:30:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm also pessimistic (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RichM, nyceve, snakelass, lemming22, Bronx59

            This is also why I have arrived at my pessimistic view - real structural change is not going to happen until there is a real collapse in the system. In other words, we have not seen the worst of it yet.

            I think it didn't have to be this way, but increasingly I think we're headed down that road. Because rather than accept the structural problems and address them before crisis hits, we remain, at least among those elites, a nation in denial. The longer we put off real change, the harder the fall will be.

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