In a great piece looking at what new health-care legislation could mean to the fortunes of our city and region, John Austin of The New Republic peers back 50 years to remind us just how industrial powerhouses in places like Detroit got in this mess with "legacy costs"...
As the Brookings Metro report on the economy of the Great Lakes region: The Vital Centerdescribed, the health care system we just replaced was largely created after World War II when employers began to offer health benefits as a job inducement chasing scarce labor. The United Auto Workers President Walter Reuther, among others, pushed then for national health insurance, or “socialized medicine,” as it was called at the time. Rather than go along with “socialized” anything, the big employers, led by the sectors with unionized workers in the Great Lakes--steel, automakers--negotiated the deal to provide employer-sponsored health care. The “pattern was cut” and copied across America, creating our unique American health care system.
Fast forward 50+ years to today and you know the story. Legacy health care costs cripple many of our older companies. GM before its bankruptcy was jokingly but accurately called a benefits company with a small car business attached.
This, I think, is as good a homegrown illustration as I've seen recently of how future generations wind up paying dearly for the myopic phobias and silliness (not to mention greed) of the past. It's also a point worth remembering next time some Wall Street analyst tries to blame your dad's or my great-uncle's retirement package for why the Detroit 3 aren't moving SUVs in Tokyo.
<a href="http://twitter.com/TheDetroitHouse" target="_blank" class="beforetweet">TheDetroitHouse</a> After a year of learning, observing and understanding, TIME says goodbye to Detroit. Podcast: All Good Things... http://shar.es/0V3I7 - 2 years ago
<a href="http://twitter.com/TheDetroitHouse" target="_blank" class="beforetweet">TheDetroitHouse</a> Our Donation to Detroit http://shar.es/0FX2T - 2 years ago
<a href="http://twitter.com/TheDetroitHouse" target="_blank" class="beforetweet">TheDetroitHouse</a> Read Kristy Erdodi's "How Detroit Became My Sexy City"
http://bit.ly/9zG13z - 2 years ago
NICHOLAS FISHER, expert at Stony Brook University in New York who took part in a study which found that bluefin tuna contaminated with radiation believed to be from Fukushima Daiichi were present off the coast of California just five months after the nuclear meltdown.