"An honest politician," Secretary of War Simon Cameron supposedly said, "is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought." By Cameron's definition, we have the most honest government in the history of the United States. Congress and the White House have been bought by the unions, the entertainment industry and the plaintiffs' lawyers. And they stay bought.
Why else would Congress and the White House pick this time, when unemployment is tottering on the precipice of 10 percent, to force through a health care bill that will raise taxes, destroy one-sixth of America's private sector and increase the deficit by billions? Why else would Congress and the White House declare the revamping of health care along DMV lines an absolute priority? Why else would Congress and the White House determine that American's top priority -- contrary to every poll taken over the last year -- is dealing with health insurance?
The fact is that everyone stands to lose from the Democratic plan to nationalize health care -- except key Democratic constituencies.
Take, for example, the unions. Unions spent hundreds of millions of dollars supporting candidate Obama's run for the White House. And, not coincidentally, unions have been the biggest supporters of President Obama's call for a "public option," where the taxpayer money would be seized by the government in order to pay for health care coverage. On the surface, this makes no sense -- after all, union members have notoriously excellent health care coverage due to their collective bargaining power. In fact, unions have come out foursquare against any proposal to tax so-called "Cadillac" health care coverage, since so many of their members have Cadillac coverage.
So why would the unions back a "public option" in health care? Because the "public option" would create more government workers. And the unions need more government workers. While only 7.6 percent of employed wage and salary workers in the private sector were members of unions in 2008, 36.8 percent of government workers and 42.2 percent of local government workers were unionized. That means that the only hope for expanding union reach is expanding the government itself. And that means that the unions' top priority must be the nationalization of health care, which explains why the unions oppose any plan that does not include a "public option" -- that's the whole point of the bill as far as the unions are concerned.