In the last couple of weeks, the American people have been speaking their mind about health care reform. Town hall gatherings and listening sessions are packed with citizens who are frightened by unprecedented government spending, the inevitable prospect of increased taxes, and the likelihood of a single payer health care system. Sensationalistic YouTube videos have put the health care debate center-stage in the media and blogosphere, and now the DNC is starting to fight back.
Just a few days ago, the DNC has dubbed the push-back at these town hall gatherings as an angry right-wing mob assembled by powerful Republican operatives and funded by wealthy special interest groups. The war of words is only the beginning. The DNC has labeled those who oppose their health care agenda as "right-wing" mobsters, and they are counting on supporters to counter-check these mobsters at town hall events. In a letter to supporters, President Obama asked them to commit to at least on town hall event in their community this month. And some have answered Obama's call loud and clear. Now, one of the strongest political arms of the Democrat party, the AFL-CIO, are vowing to fight back.
In a memo sent out by the AFL-CIO, President John Sweeney outlined a blueprint to use their political muscle to neutralize the so called “right-wing Tea-Party Patriots” at town hall events. Sweeney says,
"The principal (sic) battleground in the campaign will be town hall meetings and other gatherings with members of Congress in their home districts. We want your help to organize major union participation to counter the right-wing "Tea-Party Patriots" who will try to disrupt those meetings, as they've been trying to do to meetings for the last month."
According to the Huffington Post (gasp), the AFL-CIO is planning to target 50 high priority districts in addition to organizing telephone town hall gatherings. AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Richard Trumka said this:
“Major health care reform is closer than ever to passage and it is no secret that special interests want to weaken or block it. These mobs are not there to participate. As their own strategy memo states, they have been sent by their corporate and lobbyist bankrollers to disrupt, heckle and block meaningful debate. This is a desperation move, meant to slow the momentum for change.”
What is mind-boggling about this is why the AFL-CIO is willing to use their resources to support universal health care. By nature, unions are only supposed to represent those that pay union dues. For example, firefighter unions (IAFF) will not fight for the police department even though they work together on 911 calls. The IAFF will not fight for the police department precisely because they are not paid by the union dues of policemen. All unions work this way. For the AFL-CIO to support a health care system that would essentially cover those who do not pay union dues is beyond their scope of operation. By doing this, they have moved beyond their purpose as "working class" representatives to become a front group for the Democrat party.
This is an important issue to consider. Extending health care to everyone will be more costly to taxpayers as a whole because logic dictates more coverage equals more spending. Union members will be paying increased taxes to cover individuals who are not union members, and union leaders are responsible for adding this burden to their members. This makes no sense at all because union members already have health care insurance.
In fact, Rasmussen says that 80% of those who have health care insurance rate their care as either good or excellent. Undoubtedly, this includes a good chunk of union members. Rasmussen also says that only 20% of individuals are willing to pay more taxes to extend insurance to the uninsured, and again, this includes union members. By stepping on the toes of unhappy constituents at town hall events, the AFL-CIO is risking an uprising within their own ranks. As a member of the IAFF (a subsidiary of the AFL-CIO), I am appalled that my union dues are used to fight this battle.