Commentary Magazine


Topic: union official

Obama Hides from Giannoulias

Obama isn’t about to waste political capital on Tony Rezko’s banker. That’s the gist of this report:

Sen. Dick Durbin slipped into the West Wing last week to ask Rahm Emanuel for White House help in saving Barack Obama’s old Senate seat. But he didn’t leave with any ironclad commitments. Durbin told Emanuel that Democratic nominee Alexi Giannoulias could use some serious presidential intervention in his uphill race against Republican Rep. Mark Kirk. At the moment, the White House seems open to the idea of losing Obama’s old seat rather than putting the president’s prestige on the line for Giannoulias, the brash and boyish Illinois state treasurer — and onetime Obama basketball buddy — whose campaign has been rocked by the financial meltdown of his family’s bank.

There are good reasons for Obama’s reticence. For starters, Obama has enough sticky connections to the Illinois corruption racket, so he’s wise to stay away from his former hometown. It seems he might, in fact, have had a conversation with the former governor about that Senate seat and another with a union official to relay his preferences to Blago. (If true, this is at odds with what Obama and his “internal review” related to the public when the Blago story first broke.) Blago’s lawyers are now trying to drag the president in to testify in Blago’s case — which will be going to trial this fall. Yikes!

Moreover, Giannoulias is in deep trouble, and it’s far from certain that Obama can help him. After all, he didn’t help Martha Coakley, Creigh Deeds, or Jon Corzine. Coming up short in his own state would prove embarrassing and tend to confirm that he lacks political mojo. Sometimes it’s better to just stay home.

It’s remarkable that a year and a half after Obama celebrated his victory before a throng in Grant Park, he needs to hide from the Democratic candidate seeking to fill his old Senate seat. That’s as much a comment on the shortcomings of Giannoulias as it is on those of Obama.

Obama isn’t about to waste political capital on Tony Rezko’s banker. That’s the gist of this report:

Sen. Dick Durbin slipped into the West Wing last week to ask Rahm Emanuel for White House help in saving Barack Obama’s old Senate seat. But he didn’t leave with any ironclad commitments. Durbin told Emanuel that Democratic nominee Alexi Giannoulias could use some serious presidential intervention in his uphill race against Republican Rep. Mark Kirk. At the moment, the White House seems open to the idea of losing Obama’s old seat rather than putting the president’s prestige on the line for Giannoulias, the brash and boyish Illinois state treasurer — and onetime Obama basketball buddy — whose campaign has been rocked by the financial meltdown of his family’s bank.

There are good reasons for Obama’s reticence. For starters, Obama has enough sticky connections to the Illinois corruption racket, so he’s wise to stay away from his former hometown. It seems he might, in fact, have had a conversation with the former governor about that Senate seat and another with a union official to relay his preferences to Blago. (If true, this is at odds with what Obama and his “internal review” related to the public when the Blago story first broke.) Blago’s lawyers are now trying to drag the president in to testify in Blago’s case — which will be going to trial this fall. Yikes!

Moreover, Giannoulias is in deep trouble, and it’s far from certain that Obama can help him. After all, he didn’t help Martha Coakley, Creigh Deeds, or Jon Corzine. Coming up short in his own state would prove embarrassing and tend to confirm that he lacks political mojo. Sometimes it’s better to just stay home.

It’s remarkable that a year and a half after Obama celebrated his victory before a throng in Grant Park, he needs to hide from the Democratic candidate seeking to fill his old Senate seat. That’s as much a comment on the shortcomings of Giannoulias as it is on those of Obama.

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Another Backroom Deal

According to this report, Big Labor bosses and the Obama administration have cut a deal on the plan to tax the so-called Cadillac health insurance plans:

Under the Senate bill, health insurers would pay a 40% tax on premiums that exceed $8,500 annually for individuals, or $23,000 for family plans. Those thresholds will increase under the agreement reached Thursday, though it could not be immediately learned by how much.

Dental and vision benefits won’t count toward those plans, according to Congressional sources.

Democrats also agreed to add a provision making the tax less onerous on older workers and women, a union official said. Union sources cautioned that the agreement isn’t finalized because it is still being presented to the various unions.

So Obama will still renege on his pledge not to tax those making less than$250,000 — but not as badly as before. And union members will get taxed, but a little less. Aside from the thrill of being part of a historic sellout . . . er . . . grand compromise, what is in this for Big Labor? Their members have health-care benefits. Now they are going to be taxed or have their plans trimmed to subsidize other Americans. That would include many Americans who will be forced to buy insurance they heretofore didn’t want or couldn’t afford. But now they have no choice. They must sign up with Big Insurance for a plan approved by the government.

If ever there were an example of what drives average Americans nuts, this is it. A behind-closed-door deal in which Big Labor, Big Government, and Big Insurance cut an agreement to raise taxes and tell the rest of us what insurance we are going to buy. And the elite media and liberal politicians can’t figure out why there is a rising tide of populist anger out there. Really, it’s not that hard to figure out.

According to this report, Big Labor bosses and the Obama administration have cut a deal on the plan to tax the so-called Cadillac health insurance plans:

Under the Senate bill, health insurers would pay a 40% tax on premiums that exceed $8,500 annually for individuals, or $23,000 for family plans. Those thresholds will increase under the agreement reached Thursday, though it could not be immediately learned by how much.

Dental and vision benefits won’t count toward those plans, according to Congressional sources.

Democrats also agreed to add a provision making the tax less onerous on older workers and women, a union official said. Union sources cautioned that the agreement isn’t finalized because it is still being presented to the various unions.

So Obama will still renege on his pledge not to tax those making less than$250,000 — but not as badly as before. And union members will get taxed, but a little less. Aside from the thrill of being part of a historic sellout . . . er . . . grand compromise, what is in this for Big Labor? Their members have health-care benefits. Now they are going to be taxed or have their plans trimmed to subsidize other Americans. That would include many Americans who will be forced to buy insurance they heretofore didn’t want or couldn’t afford. But now they have no choice. They must sign up with Big Insurance for a plan approved by the government.

If ever there were an example of what drives average Americans nuts, this is it. A behind-closed-door deal in which Big Labor, Big Government, and Big Insurance cut an agreement to raise taxes and tell the rest of us what insurance we are going to buy. And the elite media and liberal politicians can’t figure out why there is a rising tide of populist anger out there. Really, it’s not that hard to figure out.

Read Less




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