The CEA recently sent around a petition asking the membership to oppose the healthcare reform that has now just barely cleared the Senate. Why the sudden opposition from an organization whose agende, to be generous, is fairly liberal? It is pretty clear if you read what they are saying at www.cea.org. Teachers are opposed to the excise tax that is present in the Senate version of the bill. Why? Because the health care policies of teachers would fall under the definition of "Cadillac" plans and be subject to heavy taxation which would mean more money out of the teachers' pockets. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind any group opposing the current healthcare legislation that will, in my opinion, severely cripple our nation. But the selective opposition of the CEA speaks to a much bigger problem with liberal groups as a whole.
Why are the CEA and other groups lining up now to oppose the Senate bill when they were quite content to allow the House version of the bill to pass? It isn't over the lack of a public option, but merely over the fact that they will be expected to pick up a large portion of the tab. The House version of the bill generates much of it's revenue by adding to the tax burden of the 'super wealthy' while the Senate actually would expect a large majority of Americans to help pay for the new costs of healthcare. It is similar to the notion that has stalled the expansion of nuclear power and killed projects like the Long Island Sound Natural Gas Terminal. The notion of "Not in my backyard" or NIMBY has a vicious friend called "Not on my dime" or NOMD. I will admit that NOMD does not have quite same ring as NIMBY, but is very alluring.
Some people would argue that people who oppose the Health Care overhaul all suffer from NOMD, but that is an oversimplification of the matter. My opposition comes from several factors, even setting the cost aside I have gross reservations as to whether the proposed changes will even work. I believe that there are several smaller steps the government could take to gradually take to reform the healthcare system. Even on a more fundamental level I do not feel the government has the right, let alone the duty, to force healthcare on everyone nor should people be given a free ride in yet another area of life.
In the end NOMD, like NIMBY, reveals peoples true concerns and beliefs. It is easy for people of a liberal agenda to proselytize about the plight of the down-trodden. It is easy to talk about how we need healthcare reform and how we need a public option, and how the government should provide us with yet another service that the public sector is capable of providing. Yet when it comes time to pick up the check those same people always bicker over who should pick up the tab. Clearly these things are only important as long as we can get someone else to pay for them.