Free Trade, Union Handouts, and Early Retirement

Free Trade, Union Handouts, and Early Retirement

Today in the News
May 05, 2011

Free Trade

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk is asking Congress to finally address three pending free trade agreements.

Adjunct Scholar Fran Smith explains the primary source of opposition to the agreements.

"While some unions have been opposing all agreements, the Colombia FTA has been the main focus of U.S. trade unions’ opposition on grounds that the government hasn’t done enough to curb violence against union leaders, despite that country’s strong progress in addressing overall violence and corruption and providing protection for union leaders."

 

Union Handouts

Packaged within Obamacare are several barely-veiled handouts to major unions.

Research Associate Trey Kovacs explains.

"The Obama administration is creating prime opportunities for union officials to unionize workers, increasing the dues paid to unions. In turn, unions generously donate to elect favorable officials. Some in Congress have targeted this federal aid and look to repeal and defund the provision in proposed bill H.R. 1214. Defunding this preferential treatment prevents taxpayers from excessively benefiting union workers."

 

Early Retirement

Tomorrow is the last day for businesses and unions to take advantage of the Early Retirement Reinsurance Program (ERRP). The program has run out of money---but several special interest groups have already made th most of the program.

Labor Policy Counsel Vincent Vernuccio talks about what the program is and why it's a rip-off for taxpayers.

"Administered by the HHS, ERRP disburses funds to unions, corporations, and state governments who then subsidize early retirees’ health care, without any means testing. A business, union, or state simply needs to fill out an application and have workers retiring early—between the ages of 55 and 65—to qualify for the free money. The funding is not required to lower the cost of health care for employees. ERRP funding is meant to lower the cost of health care for the employer. This in turn is supposed to lower the cost for all employees. Welcome to the Democrats’ version of trickledown economics."