Remember, it took Nixon to 'betray' the China lobby and visit China? It will take a Dim to undo "progressive populism." And St. Barry and the careful, centrist Dim moderates seem to be fixated on that outcome.
How? By taxing Health benefits allowed to workers. If "thePrez" and the Dims were under orders to fuck up the possibility of progressive gains, they couldn't do a better job than what they now propose. Bill Greider (The Nation/Alternet) tells the story:
Policy thinkers and rightward-leaning "Blue Dog" Democrats look upon the proposal as a tempting opportunity to raise lots of revenue for health-care reform, which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office recently estimated could cost as much as $1.6 trillion over ten years. Limiting existing tax exemptions could produce more than $418 billion in the same span of time, according to the Joint Taxation Committee, a significant down payment.But of course that's not gonna happen. They needed a GOPuke to go to China: enter Nixon. It needs a Dim to destroy the working class: Welcome, Obama...
Problem is, a big switch on taxing benefits would double-cross a major constituency and break some important promises. During the presidential campaign, Obama attacked John McCain for proposing the very same idea. Obama further promised he would not increase taxes on the middle class. "If you tax health benefits, you are taxing the middle class," Panvini explains. The issue was critical, he adds, in persuading many white working-class voters to put aside racial fears and return to the Democratic Party.
Conservative critics like to complain that union members enjoy "Cadillac" healthcare while other working people get little or no help from the government. This a valid point, and it ought to be addressed. But the solution is not to cripple the union members who have decent benefits. An equitable solution would set out, rather, to make everyone whole.
The only way to overcome the anomaly of union-employer health-care plans is to create a single-payer system that is effective and national in scope. Instead of targeting workers with slash-and-burn politics, policy-makers should look to organized labor's accomplishments as the model for health-care reform.