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January 04, 2010

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Old Lurker

I flagged that issue several weeks ago here. My pals in construction all view it as back-door health care for illegals since they are mostly employed in those industries. This ripples down through all of our subs too since almost all of them have five or more employees, and very few of them provide medical insurance.

PaulV

most companies in Italy have less than 8 or so employees to avoid similiar requirements. Fire enough employees to get down to four.

Janet

Yeah that will be it PaulV...fire all but 5 employees, and pay any other needed workers in cash as part-timers.
The part-timers could stand in front of the 7-11, or certain street corners and be picked up on an as-needed basis. Sorta like the illegal immigrants do now.

Extraneus

Why not create five separate companies, each with four employees, for jobs needing 20 people?

Janet

You are right Extraneus "...fewer than five employees."

"Hey, scoot over on the park bench...we need room for 1 more!"

Danube of Thought

TNR says it's almost certain there'll be no conference committee. But apparently they still won't get it done before the Mass. election on Jan. 19. Where there's life there's hope.

nostra_damnus

Why must everyone suffer at the expense of union advancement?

Rob Crawford

Why must everyone suffer at the expense of union advancement?

Because Democrats control Washington.

Old Lurker

"Why not create five separate companies, each with four employees, for jobs needing 20 people?"

That is exactly where this all heads, Ext. The European experience could not be more clear.

bunky

sub-sub-sub-sub-contractor.

Jack is Back!

Lots of BS and misunderstanding of union construction in this article. AFL-CIO Building Trades all negotiate collective bargaining agreements at the local level. They negotiate with a collective of contractors in that area - mostly members of the AGC (Associated General Contractors). Non-union contractors are generally represented by the Association of Building Contractors (ABC). There are a number of national agreements where the National Constructors Association (NCA) led by Bechtel and Fluor and other biggies like Denny Washington need to have special exemptions and work rules so that they can operate pretty much with specific Project Agreements for their large-scale projects (i.e. $1.5 bn power plants, refineries, etc.). In all the collective bargaining agreements I was involved with "union health and welfare" contributions were negotiated at the local level with certain input from the national administration of the union. What this is going to do is hurt the small contractor, usually a subbie to the big guys on big jobs. Sure, he will always have the little warehouse job and work with local and state governments but his real opportunities is to tie in with the majors on a big job. The extra cost will be even steven since they all are caught in the same web but it gets passed on to the owner, who passes it on eventually to the consumer. Also, contractors don't have to have full-time employees - only employees when they have a job. Get the job and call the union and give them your specifics - foreman, 2 mig/tig welders, a fitter and some apprentices. Its that simple. They work for the job duration and then let go until the next job. Some contractors want to maintain their top general foreman and foremen by keeping them in "rocking chairs" when there is down time (usually cleaning tools, doing inventory, shaking out surpluses, etc.) but they have to afford that knowing there is work coming down soon. That's how we ran things and we were the biggest union building trades constructor in the country.

pagar

What "Senator Merkley said"

What the Democrats thought, IMO: Democrats are not getting enough Kickbacks from these small construction firms. This amendment will drive the non union completion out of the construction business and the union shops will then be able to pay Democrats the kickbacks. How wonderful it will be, for the Democrats, when The government has control of not only the health care industry, but the construction industry too.

matt

it is becoming ever more obvious that the global warming scam and now health care are soft fascism at work. It's all about control, not fixing things.

the big contractors, I have found, are some of the biggest scam artists in the land. Back in Florida, General built incredibly shabby homes that were falling down 5 years after construction back in the 80's. Here in California, they go big and go bust and leave the shareholders or lenders holding the bag.

The cost per square foot with a lot of them is absurd and there is an awful lot of stiffing of the subs.Somehow, the money seems to just disappear.Some of it is low bidding and bad business practices, but more is simple greed and crookery.

Have seen too many of them on the slopes with their King Airs and G3's lined up in Utah, Colorado and Tahoe over the years or with the bling in the town where I live.

clarice

Next time people bitch about too many lobbyists in Washington remember what happened to the small contractors. Everyone needs a lobbyist here..and for those of us who live here..Ka-Ching and thanks for playing D.C. Bingo!

Jane

TNR says it's almost certain there'll be no conference committee. But apparently they still won't get it done before the Mass. election on Jan. 19. Where there's life there's hope.

The problem is there is a way to get it done with just 51 votes if they need to.

I can only imagine what is being offered to Ben Nelson on top of his other goodies. Hopefully the AG's can get a preliminary injunction.

Rocco

This morning during the morning commute, I stood at a busy intersection with my Scott Brown sign. The honks and waves were encouraging and outnumbered by far, the negative reactions by about 4-1! Things are heating up here in Mass and WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Donate here or CALL FROM HOME, even if you don't live in Mass, by emailing Brad Hansen at brad@brownforussenate.com

(Please ignore the John McCain youtube, ugh!)

Frau  Montag

But apparently they still won't get it done before the Mass. election on Jan. 19. Where there's life there's hope.
That great sucking sound you hear is SEIU and ACORN stooges leaving home and heading for MA.
Bless you, Rocco, for standing out in the cold with your sign. It's encouraging to hear of the support. Many of us have been there. (In 2004, I had a set-to with a profanity-spewing man from the local ministers' retirement home.)

Jane

Rocco,

Curt Schilling endorsed today!

Of course the only press was of NARAL endorsing Martha.

Joe Youngblood

I'm a small business owner, but don't know a thing about unions. Instinctively, I am repulsed and threatened by them. If my employees started to organize, I would shut the business down -- immediately.

Do unions offer health insurance to their members? Seems like the logical thing to do. They offer pensions, right? Health insurance is the next rational step.

clarice

Done,Rocco.

Rocco

Thank You Frau. It really helps when I get a wave, a thumbs up or a word of encouragement.

That's GREAT NEWS Jane and the lack of press is precisely why the blogosphere needs to help this campaign go viral!

Tomorrow morning, Boston radio station 96.9 FM is hosting a debate between Scott Brown, Martha Coakley and Joe Kennedy. You can listen online here. (Jane, sorry to mention the other place, down the road)

Rocco

THE BEST Clarice!

Danube of Thought

"The problem is there is a way to get it done with just 51 votes if they need to."

My understanding is that the only way to get it done with 51 votes is if the bill they are voting for is one of the two bills--house or senate--that have already passed. If any changes at all are made, even if there are no formal conference committee proceedings, then I believe it has to get past a cloture vote in the Senate. Correct?

clarice

Now I want an autographed copy of the naked picture of Brown..for bad of course not for me.

Rocco

There's hope for Levi! In this state, that might just help him.

clarice

That's my understanding,DoT..And I believe it can only cover appropriation items, everything else may have to be re-passed somehow getting 60 votes..speak about Rube Goldberg legislation..Not to say it would create untold agita for Congressional relations.

Jane

If any changes at all are made, even if there are no formal conference committee proceedings, then I believe it has to get past a cloture vote in the Senate. Correct?

You are probably right. I've heard so many procedural discussions that I cannot keep them straight.

Neo

Clearly, all this talk about “jobs, jobs, jobs” refers to Apple CEO Steve Jobs who was side-lined for most of the year while he obtained a liver transplant, which I guess must have cost $787 billion dollars, which explains the need for ObamaCare.

Ignatz

--If any changes at all are made, even if there are no formal conference committee proceedings, then I believe it has to get past a cloture vote in the Senate. Correct?--

Yes that is a correct understanding of the senate rules. Those would be the same rules which prevent an amendment's author, let's say Bernie Sanders just for instance, from pulling it from the floor once it has been submitted and a reading of the amendment has begun.

Jane

Ugh Ignatz. You are so right.

centralcal

Exactly, Ignatz! Rules? What Rules?

Jane

This is interesting:

BOSTON — Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown says a Nigerian man accused of trying to blow up a U.S. airliner should be treated as an enemy combatant, transferred to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and subjected to "enhanced interrogation techniques" such as waterboarding.

Brown — a military lawyer in the Army National Guard — says Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab should be pressed about other potential bombers or plots. The 23-year-old was arrested on Christmas Day and charged with trying to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.

clarice

He's starting to actually run for this office,Jane.

Jane

Yeah it seems so Clarice. And I think that is new. I do think he was going thru the paces in the beginning. It will be interesting to find out what happened to motivate him.

JM Hanes

Rocco & Jane:

Every time I worry about getting my hopes up, I think why not enjoy the hell out of the prospect of an upset while I can? I bet I'm not the only one beginning to see Brown's lack of recognition up till now as a surprising plus -- sort of like a stealth campaign which managed to use the Dems' overwhelming advantage, and complacency, against them. If they had thought he posed a serious threat, folks like the unions & NARAL would have started mobilizing much sooner. Brown has not only got an actual healthcare bill to run against now, he's got one that was passed in such a flagrantly corrupt fashion that it almost defies imagination.

I sent in a donation awhile back -- I'd have probably kicked in for almost any Republican candidate, but I was impressed by Brown's website. Aside from the fact that it's easy to navigate, I really liked how straightforward, substantive and positive his campaign seems to be. I didn't watch any of the videos, but on the pages I visited, I didn't see Coakley even mentioned by name.

McConnell won in Virginia because he ran an issues, not personality, based campaign, and I sure would like to see another bite out of the conventional wisdom about the effectiveness of negative campaigning. I liked Schillings' endorsement for much the same reason. The public is already skeptical about the benefits of creating a monster healthcare bureaucracy in Washington. Republicans need to persuade them that we do believe in access to healthcare for everyone -- by promoting more attractive, streamlined, alternatives for getting there.

Even if Brown only comes within shooting distance of the "establishment" candidate, it could effect the mindset of a lot of Democrats in Congress and have an impact on the final healthcare vote in any case. The results in Massachusetts matter to everyone. I know I'm fed up with having to take whatever Olympia Snowe wants for Maine down here in North Carolina.

caro

Maybe the money coming in has something to do with it,Jane. I hope the RNC sees we will support individuals we care about but not the party until they wake up.

JMH,I am happy to get my hopes up,too. It feels good.

Rick Ballard

If you run the numbers the fact that this is a PR sop to union thugs becomes rather glaringly apparent. The IBEW provides a rather comprehensive source of insurance (health and welfare) costs for 209 locals. I haven't clicked through all of them but of the ones I have looked at, none are less than $3 per hour with $5 being standard at the low end. Then there's the pension - another $3 minimum. At $6 per hour the $750 'penalty' (.38 cents per hour for a 2000 hour year) is recovered in 125 hours - 3 weeks and less than one day.

It would be very foolish to bother setting up another company to avoid such a minimal penalty. This is just hokum to be peddled to the suckers dumb enough to continue to rely upon union bosses to 'take care of their members'. The penalty would have to go to $8,000 (and it might) before a nonunion contractor would be wise to set up another company.

Old Lurker

"The penalty would have to go to $8,000 (and it might) before a nonunion contractor would be wise to set up another company."

I agree with that math. And expect that day will come. The $750 is just the opening bid.

pagar

Over at American Thinker, Clarice has an excellent article on using the Federal False Claims act to obtain info about fraud in the AGW fraud arena. There is talk that the figure could be as high as 50 million.
My question is: shouldn't Sen Reid inserting a $300 million bribe to Sen. Landrieu or a $100 million bribe to Sen Nelson in the healthcare fraud act count?
What about the federal funds Planned Parenthood has obtained?

clarice

pagar, I don't think the language of the Act covers that. And angry as I am about the deal I'd rather not have courts ovserseeing the sausage making on Capitol Hill.

pagar

Clarice, I understand what you are saying about not having the courts overseeing the sausage making of laws, but surely there comes a point when handing out pure bribes to get other Senators to vote the way a Senator wants, becomes a violation of federal law.

Jack is Back!

Joe Youngblood,

Unions have health insurance especially those who have negotiated the cost as part of the collective bargaining agreement. In construction, most employees are job duration and their total gross pay includes employer contributions to their "health and welfare" fund. A number of unions in the past (i.e. Teamsters, Laborers, etc.) have had problems with the "wise guys" getting involved in those funds and gone to jail. There are, of course, companies where unions are embedded for life (trucking, auto, steel, mining, etc.) and there the employer is stuck with the insurance and passes it along as a cost to the consumer. If you are a small business you need to learn more about how employees can organize and protect yourself. If you live south of the Mason-Dixon line or in some western states you have "right to work" laws that protect you but not if you are on the left and right coasts.

cathyf
My understanding is that the only way to get it done with 51 votes is if the bill they are voting for is one of the two bills--house or senate--that have already passed.
If I understand correctly (always a caveat!) there is no 51 votes scenario. If the House passes exactly the bill that the Senate passed, then they need 218 votes in the House for that Senate bill, and the Senate is already done and it goes to the president for signature (or veto.)

If the House changes the smallest jot or tittle, then what they produce needs to pass the Senate. And THAT vote can be filibustered by 41 senators.

These things certainly evolve over time, but at least in the fall the House did not have 218 votes without abortion restrictions satisfactory to the USCCB, and the USCCB (a strong supporter of health reform otherwise) has already ruled that the Senate bill is unsatisfactory.

Extraneus

Rules? We don't need no stinking rules.

Democrats Plan to Cut Out GOP in Final Health Care Negotiations

Democratic aides said the final compromise talks would essentially be a three-way negotiation involving top Democrats in the House and Senate and the White House, a structure that gives unusual latitude to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California.

These officials said there are no plans to appoint a formal House-Senate conference committee, the method Congress most often uses to reconcile differing bills. Under that customary format, a committee chairman is appointed to preside, and other senior lawmakers from both parties and houses participate in typically perfunctory public meetings while the meaningful negotiations occur behind closed doors.

In this case, the plan is to skip the formal meetings, reach an agreement, then have the two houses vote as quickly as possible. A 60-vote Senate majority would be required in advance of final passage.

Extraneus

surely there comes a point when handing out pure bribes to get other Senators to vote the way a Senator wants, becomes a violation of federal law

“When the people find they can vote themselves money; that will herald the end of the republic.” -- Benjamin Franklin

clarice

AP describes what (they think) is the choreography:

http://www.dailycamera.com/news/ci_14119434

Danube of Thought

Of course, the 60-vote requirement itself is nothing more than a Senate rule, and at least in theory they could eliminate it this afternoon. I think there is a consensus that they won't go that far.

I was surprised and disappointed to see that support for the bill at Ras went from -19 to -10 in a week. Maybe the public is just becoming resigned to it.

Rick Ballard

Dingy and Queen Botox need to rename the proposed kludge the Democrat Political Suicide Pact of 2010. The Big Buffoon may want it prior to the SOTU but I wouldn't place a bet on him getting it.

JM Hanes

Jack is Back:

"That's how we ran things and we were the biggest union building trades constructor in the country."

I assume such negotiations are a huge part of the equation for any national/international construction company, which undertakes jobs all over the country. I wonder how the percentages work out when scaled down to more nominally local contractors. The company I use here certainly subs out some of the specialty work-- generally to small local crews who would not be in the running for really big industrial projects, for example, handled by major operators on the national scene. The reason I use them, and pay more for the privilege, is because they hire good foremen and crews, pay them better wages, and retain them on a permanent basis. They consequently have a well-earned reputation for quality work, which they consistently deliver. They catch errors early and correct course immediately.

I don't know what sort of benefits they provide, but I would think that piling more arbitrary obligations on top of what they already shell out in carrying costs might seriously impact their ability to do keep their well-trained, experienced folks on when business off. Not only would they would lose that basic advantage in the marketplace, it would also take them longer to gear up for commercial projects, even though they are currently one of the few firms in the area who can do their own engineering, fill in with high end residential work when commercial is slow, and even take on smaller projects, in between to keep their folks busy. It seems to me that central planning, whether it's healthcare, construction or anything else, screws the locals every time and ultimately circumscribes the consumer's options as a result.

pagar

"support for the bill went from -19 to -10 in a week.

Either most surveyed Americans just don't care how much damage the Democrats do to their bottom line and their healthcare or the numbers are phony.

The WSJ reports:

"Democrats are starting to mash together the Senate and House health-care bills, all of the negotiations taking place in secret. One reason to keep quiet is so voters don't discover items like the Senate's destructive change in the way retiree health benefits are taxed. This is a revenue grab that will cost many retirees their private drug benefit coverage, with knock-on harm for the federal budget and financial markets."

LUN

I can't believe Americans are just going to set here and let the Democrats steal every thing they have worked all their lives for.

Extraneus

They're not, pagar. Bill Whittle has a good pep talk about this.

Rick Ballard

OL (or others interested),

From the Daily Treasury Report -

Total paid in Q4 (Q1 Fiscal) for unemployment:

2007 - $8,047 billion

2008 - $16,386 billion

2009 - $38,664 billion

I can justify the increase from '07 to '08 easily enough but I cannot justify the '08 to '09 increase even with the EUC extensions (it's an increase of 136%). Any ideas as to what's going on?

Q4 Social Security outlays are up by 29% as well, while Medicare outlays are only up 8.76%. The SS increase was worth $36 billion by itself. There's some very interesting bookkeeping going on.

MayBee

Sigh.
Ezra Klein writes about the subject of this post with the following title:
Giveaways that everyone should want

Danube of Thought

The idea of some young punk telling me what I "should" want pisses me off more than you can imagine.

Extraneus

Another great giveaway we should all want.

White House promises left: Illegals will be eligible for ObamaCare after we give them amnesty

Except for those stingy givers, of course.

MayBee

Between it being what I "should" want and the idea that these are "giveaways" drives me insane.

Love your "stingy givers" line, Ex. Is there anyone more vilified than the taxpayer/giver?

Ignatz

--Any ideas as to what's going on?--

Rick,

Several state unemployment funds are fundless, so to speak, so I wonder if the feds are picking up the tab and what was formerly on many of the state's books is now on the fed's. Anywhere to look that up?

Also I imagine the extension of benefits magnifies outlays for a given percentage of unemployed, does it not?

Rick Ballard

Ignatz,

The total number of people receiving unemployment as of 12/31/08 was 6,265,523, on 12/31/09 it was 9,929,360, for an increase of 58%. Those totals include all people receiving EUC. I believe that you are probably correct in your comment re the state funds going broke and the Feds picking up the difference but I have not found any break out as to which states or how much. If I had to extrapolate a guess, it would be around $14 billion in loans. CA and NY would be prime suspects but there are other states which require their budgets to actually balance. It will be interesting to see how those states address the issue.

That still leaves the Social Security explosion - that one really has me scratching my head.

PD

Love your "stingy givers" line, Ex. Is there anyone more vilified than the taxpayer/giver?

Well, really now. Why do you deserve any sympathy for objecting to having your money stolen and given to people who don't deserve it?

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