The $10 Billion Provision: Taxpayers to Bailout Union Plans?

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Posted: Aug 24, 2009 3:35 PM
After ordinary citizens started to show up at town hall meetings to vent their frustrations over Obamacare, organized groups of labor members descended on town halls across the country to "drown out" opponents to the Obama plan. 

According to the latest report from the Detroit Free Press, Big Labor has about 10 billion reasons to support Obama's plan:
Anti-labor forces say it's welfare for the UAW and Democrats' union allies.  Labor supporters say it falls short of what's needed as tens of thousands of union members are pushed into early retirement as employers cut back health care coverage. 

They're both talking about a $10-billion provision tucked deep inside thousands of pages of health care overhaul bills that could help the UAW's retiree health care plan and other union-backed plans.

It would see the government--at least temporarily--pay 80 cents on the dollar to corporate and union insurance plans for claims between $15,000 and $90,000 for retirees age 55 to 64...

Greg Mourad of the National Right to Work Committee called it "a shameless case of political payback," saying Democrats and President Barack Obama are trying "to force the rest of us to pay billions to cover those unions' health care."
First the taxpayers bailout Detroit's automakers, now we can all bailout Detroit's labor unions:

Thanks to Detroit’s twin auto bankruptcies and other concessions, the UAW’s voluntary employee benefit association, or VEBA, had to take stock of unknown value for $24 billion in claims, while adding thousands of early retirees to its rolls.

Outside experts estimate the funds have about 30 cents in cash for every dollar of future claims, with no guarantee of what its stock assets will be worth. Lance Wallach, a New York-based VEBA expert, says if the funds “don’t get something, they’re out of business in 12 years.” …

Key provisions in House and Senate proposals set aside $10 billion to pay some claims for early retirees covered by employers and VEBAs, before other cost-saving measures kick in. Critics call it a union giveaway, but the union says the money would keep companies from further slashing coverage.

I thought it was bad enough that liberal organizations were paying people hourly wages to support Obamacare, but now the Obama Administration and congressional Democrats are essentially handing over $10,000,000,000 in taxpayer funds to buy union support for government-run health care. 

That's astro-turf political activism at is sleaziest.