Friday, March 18, 2011

Benefits - Getting mad at the wrong people?

Tony Sheda wrote an interesting "Local View" in today's Duluth News Tribune.  The editors titled it "It's upsetting to pay so others can get better salaries, benefits".

He relates how he left being a union carpenter to have his own business.  He sometimes could not put into his IRA all that he would have liked.  He has catastrophic health insurance so that his premiums are lower.  He has had to pay a $5,000 premium and had $5,000 deductibles.

He is unhappy that his taxes are going to pay for better pay and benefits for public employees than he has.

I think his ire is misdirected.  He would be really mad if he read Wendell Potter's "Deadly Spin".  Potter is a former PR executive for CIGNA, one of the big health insurers.  Potter got fed up with making the health insurers look like they really cared about people's health.  He wrote how consolidation and concentration of power has led to huge salaries and benefits for insurance company executives while trying to pay out as little as possible of the premiums they were raking in.

Remember William McGuire of United HealthCare with his million plus salary, the huge number of stock options he received, and the manipulation to backdate those options so that he paid even less for his stock.

Now there is something to "get mad at having to pay so others can get better pay and benefits than we do."