Crossing The Line

Thursday, January 14, 2010
“They’re doing it behind closed doors!” roared Susan Robinson. “Did you hear Nancy Pelosi say that the promise of transparency was just campaign talk?”

A lifelong resident of Bay Village, a lifelong Republican, Susan Robinson (yeah, yeah, yeah I changed her name) registered as a Democrat in the spring of 2008 and voted for Hillary Clinton in the Ohio primary. It is one thing to cross party lines and to cast one’s ballot, in the privacy of the voting booth, for a member of the other party. Susan Robinson did more. She publicly self-identified as a Democrat. She has the junk mail to prove it. And now she is a sort-of Democrat, a sort-of Republican, and totally ticked off.

Disillusioned and betrayed, Susan Robinson and countless others voted for change. It was as if the voters approved Issue 6 to reorganize Cuyahoga County government and then installed Jimmy Dimora as the new chief executive.

The latest news, appropriately for this discussion leaked by a nameless Democratic official, is that the President, the Senate and the House may have reached a compromise on the plan to tax so-called “Cadillac” health plans. As always, the words compromise means that the House caved. The deal is that the tax would be on family plans that cost $24,000 per year instead of $23,000. The other part of the deal is that the employees of state and local governments and all union employees would be exempt until 2017.

Feel free to take a moment to reread the last sentence. Do you understand why a tax should apply to everyone but state and local government employees and members of a union? Neither do I. Will the law specify which unions are official skip the tax unions or will any old union do? Can we form our own unions? Can each of us create our own unique, self-contained, tax avoiding union?

We’ve now crossed the line from short-sighted and ill-advised to just plain dumb. Divisive, too.

Please, somebody tell me, what happened to helping the working poor acquire affordable health insurance?