HEALTH CARE HOLOCAUST

People, real people by the thousands every year, are dying for lack of medical treatment in the world’s richest nation, and after a week of politicians posturing over piles of paper, policy wonks are stunning us with this truth.

A new study shows 68 Americans under age 65 die every day because they don’t have health care, a number that will rise to 84 by 2019–a total of 275,000 needless deaths in a decade.

The numbers from an advocacy group, Families USA, comport with earlier estimates by the Urban Institute and the Institute of Medicine, dry statistics that conceal mass murder by indifference without concentration camps or gas chambers.

Sophisticates who consider such statements overwrought should explain how their cost-benefit analyses make such an outcome inevitable as they advocate, in Sen. Tom Coburn’s response to the President’s weekly address today, that we “scrap the current bills, which will lead to a government takeover of health care, and we should start over.”

Along with this prescription for indifference, a leading GOP presidential hopeful for 2012, Tim Pawlenty, wants to change federal law to allow emergency rooms to turn away patients–”do a little triage,” even for those who come in with what Fox’s Greta Van Susteren described as “horrible chest pains.” (Pace Sarah Palin and her Democratic death panels!)

At the Health Care Summit Thursday, several Democrats tried to focus the discussion on what their constituents are suffering under the current system, but the Republican response was typified by smug Eric Cantor tapping his pile of papers and insisting that “we Republicans care just as much about health care as the Democrats do,” while questioning the legality of forcing all Americans to buy health insurance.

Read the rest of this entry.

Author: ROBERT STEIN

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74 Comments

  1. I'm not sure what your point is here. Regardless of what particular percentage of corporations “follow that model” (and I'm not even sure what model you're talking about), corporations are still not people, and they still do not have a constitutional right to use their billions of dollars to drown out competing voices — and while being allowed to hide their identity at that.

  2. I'm not sure what your point is here.

    My point was that your accusations that conservatives don't care are misplaced. My compassion is simply spread wider than yours.

  3. My point was that your accusations that conservatives don't care are misplaced. My compassion is simply spread wider than yours.

    Well, needless to say I do not agree with you on that, but more to the point right now, if that was your point, I do not have any idea how your most recent comment to me before this one conveys it.

  4. I do not have any idea how your most recent comment to me before this one conveys it.

    Then it must not have conveyed it. To recap, you said:

    I'm tired of people dismissing the real and obviously real horrors of our health care non-system and then asking us to believe it's not that they don't care.

    And I said: “[Liberals] eagerly pour their hearts–and other people's wallets–out for people they read about in the news today, but how about they people they didn't read about? Liberals don't care about them.”

    You immediately offered up a demonstration of exactly that behavior, equating corporations to overpaid executives, thereby turning a blind eye to the hundreds of millions of people who actually comprise the corporate ecosystem:

    You mean, like the six-figure and up corporate leaders…

    And I pointed out as much: “You appear to think those few people and their millions are a good representation of corporate interests.”

    So here we are. I'm writing about the millions, you're writing about the few.

  5. If I'm understanding you correctly, you are telling me that hundreds of millions of people who work for corporations are not high-paid executives, they are just ordinary people, like secretaries and file clerks and janitors and mailroom assistants. And you are telling me that all of these type of employees “are a good representation of corporate interests.” That last quoted phrase is a bit opaque, too, but I'm guessing what you mean is that the corporate interest includes and reflects these ordinary, non-executive, non-high paid employees' interests. That the “corporate interest” is the same as the individual interests of the employees who work for it.

    Before I tell you that that is laughably untrue, I just want to make sure it's actually what you're saying. Have I understood your meaning correctly?

  6. And you are telling me that all of these type of employees “are a good representation of corporate interests.”

    They're a step closer to reality than the greedy-executive caricature on which you'd have us legislate. But reality also includes the hundreds of millions of consumers who depend on corporations for products and the scores of millions of Americans saving for retirement and relying on mutual fund returns. And reality includes other kinds of corporations and their constituents, from labor unions to the AARP. You seem prepared to muzzle them all because you don't like greedy executives.

    By all means, tell me this is laughably untrue, that greedy executives are what it's all about, and there's no need to even consider anyone else in the picture. You'll prove my point better than I have.

  7. Perhaps we're talking at cross-purposes. Perhaps I still don't understand your point. Or perhaps I've just fallen down the rabbit hole. Dr J, when I say that corporations have too much power and influence over legislation and public policy, and that the recent SCOTUS decision will allow them to drown out all other voices even more than they do now, who exactly did you imagine I was suggesting that corporations have too much power OVER?

    When Republican senators like Bob Corker and Jim DeMint try to put an amendment in the auto bailout bill requiring auto workers — not high-paid executives, Dr. J, assembly line auto workers — to take a pay cut to make their wages match the much lower wages of non-unionized foreign auto manufacturers, he's doing that to help the auto workers and their families, not the high-paid executives, right?

    When Wal-Mart and other top corporations hire union-busting law firms to — euphemism alert — “discourage” employees from joining a union, corporate management is doing that to help the checkout clerks and their families — not the high-paid executives themselves, right?

    When corporations ship American jobs overseas, that's to help Americans save for retirement, right?

    And this:

    But reality also includes the hundreds of millions of consumers who depend on corporations for products and the scores of millions of Americans saving for retirement and relying on mutual fund returns. And reality includes other kinds of corporations and their constituents, from labor unions to the AARP. You seem prepared to muzzle them all because you don't like greedy executives.

    What in the name of blue tarnation are you talking about? How does campaign finance reform muzzle employees within corporations? And how does the Citizens United decision serve those employees' interests? You're not trying to suggest that the interests of corporate entities like General Electric or Bank of America, for example, are the same as the individual interests of the temps in the typing pool, or the window tellers, or the guy who sweeps the floors at night, are you?

  8. When Republican senators like Bob Corker and Jim DeMint try to put an amendment in the auto bailout bill requiring auto workers — not high-paid executives, Dr. J, assembly line auto workers — to take a pay cut to make their wages match the much lower wages of non-unionized foreign auto manufacturers, he's doing that to help the auto workers and their families, not the high-paid executives, right?

    Oh yes. Detroit auto companies ended up bankrupt in large part because auto workers in Michigan were paid a lot more than auto workers in Tennessee. I don't fault the UAW for fighting hard to protect their interests, but they ended up killing their golden goose. A lot more of them would have jobs today if they'd been less greedy, starting decades ago.

    When Wal-Mart and other top corporations hire union-busting law firms to — euphemism alert — “discourage” employees from joining a union, corporate management is doing that to help the checkout clerks and their families — not the high-paid executives themselves, right?

    In trying to keep their labor costs down, they're certainly representing the interests of their hundreds of millions of customers who benefit from their low prices.

    When corporations ship American jobs overseas, that's to help Americans save for retirement, right?

    It certainly is. If my IRA includes Dell stock, and Dell expands operations or trims cost by opening warehouses in Mexico or Singapore or wherever, it helps my retirement savings.

    How does campaign finance reform muzzle employees within corporations?

    Most directly by muzzling their unions, which are themselves corporations. The Citizens United case was in fact about gagging a non-profit.

  9. At least now you are clearly telling me where you are coming from.

    I find your identification of all Americans' interests, on every possible level — general, specific, employed, unemployed, low-income, high income, etc. — with corporate interests to be chilling — Orwellian even. I find your definition of “greed” — auto workers who have been steadily agreeing to cuts in wages and benefits for decades and who are still expected to give more, but not the top corporate executives who reap billions more in addition to the billions they already reap from what the auto workers have given up — to be odious. I find it reprehensible that you applaud greed — literally — when it's corporations reaping the billions at the expense of their employees' wages and often their jobs, but imply that greed is a low and counterproductive error when it's auto workers giving up those wages and benefits. If greed is a good thing, as you have said it is, then it cannot suddenly become a bad thing when you're referring to auto workers fighting against cuts in their wages and benefits.

    You obviously view your own personal self-interest, and the self-interest of Americans in general (i.e., the public interest) very differently from how I do. That is your right, but I think you err when you equate the interests of a corporation with the interests of everyone who works for that corporation; and, indeed, with everyone in general — all Americans, of every economic, social, and political status. I think it's very presumptuous to tell the assembly line workers at Dell, to use your example, that it's in their self-interest for Dell to lay them off and ship their jobs to Singapore or Malaysia, just because your stocks might go up as a result.

  10. Kathy, you're still writing on behalf of thousands, I'm still writing on behalf of millions. Who has the greater claim to compassion?

  11. @mar2371,

    I just saw your reply, so pardon my delay in responding. There is an excellent survey of all these types of studies by Helen Levy and David Meltzer, “The Impact of Health Insurance on Health,” in the April 2008 issue of the Annual Review of Public Health. At the risk of oversimplifying a thorough survey, I think it's fair to say that these basic findings emerge (with my own observations on those findings included):

    1) There is evidence that giving coverage to people with current health problems improves their health outcomes.

    This, of course, could be attributable to a large degree by the fact that currently sick people who did not previously have insurance cannot buy it after they get sick, so that giving them coverage is equivalent to giving them directly subsidized health care. It is understood that subsidizing people's health care leads them to get more of it–that's one of the reasons why our current system (which induces overinsurance by making it tax-exempt) contributes to our high share of GDP devoted to health care. It's part of the purported problem, not a solution to it.

    2) There is evidence that giving coverage to poor children improves their health outcomes.

    This is, of course, the rationale behind S-CHIP. It has nothing to do with subsidizing the health insurance of working-age adults.

    3) The three studies that seem to control best for the fact that healthy people may simply also be people who tend to buy health insurance–studies of the effect of Medicare eligibility– find no evidence that becoming eligible for Medicare leads to changes in individuals' life expectancy.

    Of these three basic findings, this last one is the most directly relevant to the current health-insurance-restructuring debate.

    Of course, what's most relevant is the effect of expanded insurance coverage on the health outcomes of those who are currently uninsured. On that topic, I will quote directly from Levy and Meltzer:

    “Moreover, for most of the population at risk of being uninsured (adults ages 19 to 50), we have limited reliable evidence on how health insurance affects health. This lack of evidence and the resulting lack of consensus indicate that to summarize the effects of health insurance on health is, inevitably, to misrepresent.”

    To all this I will add what I consider to be the most important point: Every single one of these studies takes the state of medical technology and the supply of medical personnel to be unaffected by the changes in insurance that they study. Indeed, it's hard to see how they could do otherwise. Yet we are considering the initiation of a series of “reforms” that are very likely to have substantial effects on both the rate of medical and pharmaceutical innovation and the supply of medical personnel in the long run. I am weary of reading posts like the one that initiated this comment thread, that not only asserts as fact something that is really uninformed speculation but also goes on to portray those who doubt the wisdom of uninformed restructuring of the medical sector in terms that compare them to either Holocaust deniers or maybe even Holocaust enthusiasts. That is utterly reprehensible.

  12. You are still not getting the point, Dr J. You are not speaking on behalf of the people you say you are speaking on behalf of, whether they are thousands, millions, or billions. We can agree to disagree, but you don't even understand the point we're disagreeing on.

  13. No, Kathy, I'm not speaking on behalf of the people *you* say I am.

    I write “moving the factory helps millions of investors,” you read “moving the factory helps hundreds of employees” and then denounce me as not only wrong but wicked.

    Between readings like that and the Dickensian backgrounds you like to paint behind my comments, I find you an extremely difficult person to communicate with.

  14. I write “moving the factory helps millions of investors,” you read “moving the factory helps hundreds of employees” and then denounce me as not only wrong but wicked.

    That is SO not an accurate statement about what you wrote.

    1. Here is what you wrote:

    I don't fault the UAW for fighting hard to protect their interests, but they ended up killing their golden goose. A lot more of them would have jobs today if they'd been less greedy, starting decades ago.

    A lot more of “them”? That means auto workers, right? Auto workers seeing their wages and/or benefits and/or safety rules cut, slashed, removed, and weakened are not “investors being helped” when factories close and ship their jobs overseas. Furthermore, “millions” is very misleading. The vast majority of “investors” hold very small amounts of stock — not enough to make any significant amount of money. Auto workers whose jobs are shipped overseas and/or who give back thousands of dollars in wages and benefits suffer far more directly and severely from those losses than they benefit from a rise in the company's stock consequent on moving all those jobs to Thailand. The investors who make big money are the ones who are already wealthy and can afford to buy large amounts of high-ranked stock.Those are the ones who benefit the most from taking American workers' jobs away from them.

    2. Here is what you wrote:

    In trying to keep their labor costs down, they're certainly representing the interests of their scores of millions of customers who benefit from their low prices. Millions of them don't have jobs at all.

    These are the same customers who used to be their employees. Or who are or used to be the employees of other companies just like Wal-Mart who “try to keep their labor costs down” (i.e., pay low, try to pay even less, and cut people's jobs). “Millions of them don't have jobs at all” because their jobs were cut and/or shipped overseas! So they're slashing employees wages and benefits or sending their jobs overseas, or all of those, in order to create more customers who can buy their products? That is truly twisted, Dr J.

    Most directly by muzzling their unions, which are themselves corporations and are (or were) restricted by McCain-Feingold. The Citizens United case was about gagging a non-profit.

    Yes, and the Supreme Court decision took that original case and used it to do a massive judicial legislation from the bench that gives corporations even more power than they already had to buy legislators, and in fact, buy Congress, period.

    How does campaign finance reform “muzzle” unions? Do you believe that the only way not to be “muzzled” is to be able to spend billions of dollars to support candidates who will vote your way? And even if campaign finance reform *did* “muzzle unions,” how would that “muzzle” employees who work for unionized workplaces? Does campaign finance reform prevent individual citizens from petitioning their government or from voting?

    The Citizens United decision, in opening the floodgates to corporations' ability to control legislation and essentially buy candidates' support for their wishes, is much more harmful to labor interests than it is helpful. Most corporations are not unionized, and the green light given to corporations by the SCOTUS ruling is much more likely to keep it that way than the reverse. Now I can understand why you would like that, since you are anti-union, but don't make it out to be some great boon for unions or for individual workers.

    I find you an extremely difficult person to communicate with.

    You're no piece of cake yourself.

  15. Kathy, you posed me a series of challenges a few comments ago. One was about how the UAW's interests were served by pay cuts. My answer was that it was better than losing even more of their jobs, which is the only alternative given the shape Detroit is in. Not great choices, for sure, but the writing has been on the wall for them for decades, they had a hand in writing it, and it's simply the reality. I didn't say anything about shipping factories overseas, nor investors' interests, because that was not the question you asked.

    Second, you asked how Walmart's maneuvers to keep employees from unionizing serve the employees' interests. I hadn't claimed that it did, but I pointed out it did serve the interests of a much larger group of people: consumers. You've now painted one of your Dickensian backgrounds around the comment–casting those consumers as victims of other alleged Walmart misdeeds. Very poignant, and probably true in at least a few cases, but irrelevant to the scenario you asked about: these people still exist, still have to buy stuff, and there are a lot more of them than there are Walmart employees.

    Third, you asked how shipping jobs overseas helps future retirees, and I told you exactly how: by helping investors. Now you've slyly morphed those investors into employees who lost those jobs. No, I didn't say the employees would benefit (obviously they don't), and I didn't even endorse closing the hypothetical factory. I simply answered your question: how might a company offshoring jobs be serving the interests of millions of retirees? That's how.

    Does campaign finance reform prevent individual citizens from petitioning their government or from voting?

    McCain-Feingold didn't prevent anyone from voting, and to the extent it takes money to circulate a petition, it didn't restrict rich citizens from funding such a thing on their own. Nor making political ads, nor all sorts of other things. But ordinary citizens can't fund ads on their own–they form corporations to raise money from a lot of people so they can get their message out.

    Whether the SCOTUS ruling is a net plus or minus to unions is a good question. We've got a union-friendly administration in place today, unlikely to interpret M-F's restrictions on “too political” messages “too close” to elections very repressively. (Though it was pretty chilling to hear the government lawyer claim they could ban books if they wanted.) But imagine if we'd had another four or eight years of someone like George “Wiretapper” Bush, plus maybe another big terrorist attack to pump up the fascism? It could get ugly for unions, and for a lot of groups. I support the ruling for exactly that reason: independent of whether I support the groups speaking, the government shouldn't be metering speech.

    You're no piece of cake yourself.

    :^) I welcome your suggestions for how I can do better.

  16. :^) I welcome your suggestions for how I can do better.

    Give me a straight, clear answer to the following question: Who are the thousands and who are the millions? You can look back to the beginning of this discussion if you've forgotten what that refers to.

    Give me a straight answer to that question and you'll be doing better.

  17. The thousands are employees, the millions are investors and customers.

  18. Okay, you're doing better. Thank you.

    Next question(s): Who are the customers? Why and how are they a separate group from the employees?

  19. Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I was unable to find a full copy of the article you referenced, so I can't comment on the details or methodology.

    >> This, of course, could be attributable to a large degree by the fact that currently sick people who did not previously have insurance cannot buy it after they get sick, so that giving them coverage is equivalent to giving them directly subsidized health care. <<

    That could be one interpretation of the result. A lot depends on the methods they used to come to their conclusions. It sounded to me from the articles I saw that methodology has improved in recent years, to take into account underlying factors. Another possibility is that a large number of people can't afford medical insurance, especially if their company does not offer it, so when they do get sick, they can't afford treatment. It's not surprising that giving coverage allows them to get treatment, and their health improves. This is one of the problems with discussing health care coverage – there are many possible factors to consider, and no one perfect answer.

    >> It is understood that subsidizing people's health care leads them to get more of it–that's one of the reasons why our current system (which induces overinsurance by making it tax-exempt) contributes to our high share of GDP devoted to health care. It's part of the purported problem, not a solution to it. <<

    I do agree with most of this. e.g. I have health insurance through my employer. When I go to the doctor, I pay a $10 co-pay. I have no idea what the actual cost of the visit is. I think this whole setup is ridiculous. Plans like this lead to more use of health care services, because the co-pay is too low, and the patient has no knowledge of or responsibility for the real cost. I don't agree with you totally, because there are situations where a person is unable to buy affordable health care insurance because the cost is too high. So either cost has to come down, or the government or charity needs to provide a way for this person to get medical care. I'd prefer that cost came down, but if not, then I can't see allowing people to suffer.

    >> The three studies that seem to control best for the fact that healthy people may simply also be people who tend to buy health insurance–studies of the effect of Medicare eligibility– find no evidence that becoming eligible for Medicare leads to changes in individuals' life expectancy. <<

    That is an interesting finding. Thank you for sharing that. Do you know if there have been similar studies that look at health outcomes? I have known people who lived quite long, but were in a great deal of pain because they couldn't get treatment for chronic illnesses when they were middle aged.

    I regret that I am unable to read the full versions of the article you posted and the ones that I did. I cannot comment on the reliability of evidence, since the articles I posted were newer, but they may not have been reliable either.

    I am tired of reading extreme articles on both sides of this issue. I am very Liberal in most of my views, but I am totally disgusted by the bills that the House and Senate came up with. I don't like the Republicans either. What seems to be missing is any attempt to understand both points of view. In my opinion, both sides have good ideas and valid concerns. But there is this continuous barrage of fear tactics that distract everyone to the point where it's difficult to have a thoughtful discussion.

    Thank you for the information you provided. It gave me some ideas to think about.

  20. Who are the customers? Why and how are they a separate group from the employees?

    They're a whole bunch of diverse people. I'm not sure how to answer your question.

  21. They're a whole bunch of diverse people. I'm not sure how to answer your question.

    I'll take responsibility for that. The truth is, this is a very nebulous, confusing concept you've expressed (I mean, in general, this thing about “investors, customers, and employees”), and It's very difficult for me to even nail down how to identify what I don't understand about it.

    Basically, I don't know how you are defining these categories. The categories themselves are so sweeping, and if you think about it they are almost interchangeable. At any given moment, anyone could be in any of these categories, or all of them simultaneously.

    I am similarly confused when you talk about the “corporate interest” — or, more precisely, what you have in mind when you use that term. When I use that term, I define “corporate interest” as the economic or financial interests of the top governing strata: senior management, and the Board of Directors, as well as the stockholders. If I'm an employee of Dell, and especially if I'm a low-level employee, the government policies that will serve the corporate interest will almost certainly not serve mine. It doesn't serve my interest to lose my job.

    So what I've been trying to do here is somehow clarify how you define these terms, who you are putting into these categories, and who — specifically — you have in mind when you refer to the “corporate interest.”

  22. This is the sort of exchange I wish were possible more often here and elsewhere. Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Your observations about people who lived for a long time but were in pain also jibes with the literature survey I cited–people's self-reported perception of their health rises, even though measurable outcomes like life expectancy do not. So it really is a complicated issue.

    One thing that makes this issue even more difficult for me is that, while I could design my own ideal system (which, incidentally, would look something like the German system), I simply can't conceive of a way to keep U.S. politics from mucking it up down the road. In particular, I have no objection to providing treatment to those who truly cannot afford any. However, I do not believe that it is at all possible to provide cutting-edge treatment to all–the cost of that would ultimately probably exceed our ability to raise taxes to pay for it. What we *could* afford–and what would be far better than either our current system or anything that's been proposed so far–would be a “free” standard of care that is relatively bare-bones, while letting anyone who wants to buy private care do so out of his or her own pocket. This would leave intact the incentives for technological and pharmaceutical innovation that I personally place the highest value on, while still providing a decent level of care for the indigent.

    The people for whom I have little compassion are those twenty- and thirty-somethings who “can't afford” catastrophic health insurance (which would cost them anywhere from 60 to 200 a month, depending on what state they lived in), but can afford nice cars, in-town apartments, and plenty of nights out. They are just rolling the dice, all the while counting on the rest of us to bail them out if something goes terribly wrong. Then, after it's too late, they may find that their pre-existing condition keeping them from buying insurance.

    It's too bad that we can't have a public debate that distinguishes between the truly destitute and those who are simply making lousy decisions. Because if it does turn out to be true that having health insurance gives people better health outcomes, then before we start dismantling the current system–flawed as it may be–why in the world are people not buying at least minimal coverage on their own? It is most definitely not because it's not affordable, because it is. I've checked, and so can anyone else who wants to find out.

    Finally, I ask you–and any one else who is sincerely interested in improvement and is not driven by some innate hatred of corporations or the like–why not start out slowly and see what happens? After all, even full-bore Democare wouldn't kick in for 4 years. So why not address the most basic issues, such as eliminating the strong ties between employment and health insurance without reducing people's total after-tax compensation, and see what happens in the following two years? Personally, I'd like to try the proposals made by the CEO of Whole Foods as a start.

    Anyway, thanks for an educational exchange. I hadn't seen the 2009 research paper you cited.

  23. At any given moment, anyone could be in any of these categories, or all of them simultaneously.

    Yes, very true. These people don't have any common identity, other than they hold a few shares of the same stock or buy stuff at the same place. Some of them may be struggling, others may be sitting pretty.

    What I do know is that there are a lot of them, and the customers will all be hurt a little if prices go up, shareholders if the stock goes down.

    When we consider an issue like whether company X should pay workers more, workers' and customers' needs are at odds, because higher wages means higher prices at the register. Either way we decide the issue, one group is going to benefit, the other will be hurt. So we have to decide whether to favor the small group of workers with the acute stake in the issue (a “special interest”) or the large group of customers with a small stake (a “general interest”).

    It's hard to do, because the customers are a diverse, unknowable group, and they're individually not affected enough by the issue to go protesting in the streets and call themselves to our attention. But their needs are nonetheless real and matter a lot. This is why I find policy questions interesting and charges of non-compassion unfair.

    I am similarly confused when you talk about the “corporate interest” — or, more precisely, what you have in mind when you use that term.

    I have a great variety of things in mind, because what corporations are likely to consider in their interests depends hugely on the situation. Corporations lobby on all sorts of issues with complicated implications for shareholders, employees, customers, neighbors, competitors, the environment, and so on. They may fight against regulation, or like big tobacco they may embrace it because it beats perpetual lawsuits. Walmart supports Obamacare, the National Retail Federation opposes it.

    Silicon Valley firms a few years ago lobbied for easier visa processes for foreign students and workers; UPS has recently lobbied to be put under the National Labor Relations Act. On the other hand companies may lobby for things workers won't like. And although there can be tension between what management wants and what labor wants, I see a great deal of overlap too. Detroit shows clearly that both are ultimately in the same boat: companies cannot operate without a cooperative staff, and workers won't have jobs unless the company is successful.

  24. Detroit shows clearly that both are ultimately in the same boat: companies cannot operate without a cooperative staff, and workers won't have jobs unless the company is successful.

    Corporations and workers are not ultimately in the same boat, Dr J. It's a sweet thought, but it's not reality. Corporations can always find workers and will always be able to hire workers for low and even lower wages, or with no benefits, etc.; but workers will not always have jobs, and when they do have jobs, it won't always be at wages that allow them to keep their homes and feed their kids.

    There is a huge power differential between employees and the corporations they work for. Which is why big business doesn't want unions in the workplace and will fight tooth and nail to keep them out. Unions tend to level the playing field — certainly not entirely, but a strong union in a workplace does offset a lot of a corporation's power to do badly by employees. Anything that makes it easier to join a union will be opposed by companies that don't want them.

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