I learned from my father today that a FedEx driver he was talking to has been greatly harmed by Obamacare. It seems the driver was complaining because he used to pay $1,200 per year for his health insurance and now he has to pay $3,000. Thanks Obama! I smelled a rat — a dead one that had been festering for a few days. I mean, how is it that Obamacare would have any effect on employer provided healthcare? I could think of a few reasons, but they weren’t compelling. It could be that the insurance the company was providing was something useless and Obamacare does require that insurance not be useless. But that was unlikely at that cost. It could be the tax on “Cadillac plans.” But that would not cause the cost to go up two and half times.
Much more likely was something we are seeing far too often. Many companies are using Obamacare as an excuse to cut worker benefits. It is very difficult for an employer to get its workforce to take a pay cut. But making them pay more for their insurance is much easier. And doing it because of “Obamacare” makes it that much easier. But could workers really be that gullible? With a willing media that has manage to confuse and distort the law, it isn’t much of a problem. And without a union to protect and inform employees, there is no one to prevent it.
There hasn’t been much coverage of what happened, but I did manage to find an article in The Commercial Appeal, FedEx Shifts Gears on Health Insurance. But based upon the article, it doesn’t look like the company was even pushing the Obamacare angle — although it may well have been internally. The only reference to it is that FedEx is making this change “to protect against Obamacare’s penalties on overly generous plans in the future.” This is a nice bit of disingenuousness, “We’re cutting your benefits now because there might be penalties in the future!” But this is a minor thing — it isn’t the main rationalization for the cuts.
The main reason for the cuts is the same as it always is: profits. The article stated, “The change is designed to slow down one of the company’s fastest-growing expenses.” But given that healthcare represents 3.5% of their expenses, that doesn’t mean quite as much as it could. What it really means is that the company wants to increase profits at the expense of its workers. There was a time 50 years ago when this would have been considered outrageous. Today it is thought of as the way things ought to be and even a great thing. As we are told all the time, “The only purpose of a corporation is to increase shareholder value!” Yea team.
But the whole affair highlights how American politics is so screwed up. Here is a worker, who in decades past would have been proudly union — in solidarity with other workers. But now, he’s repeating the lies of the corporate class. The problem isn’t that the company sees easy profits by squeezing him. It is that all those poor people are getting free healthcare and all the corporations are getting unfairly attacked.
From the experience of my business partner Will, who has a great deal of shipping experience, the US Postal Service is by far the best shipping company. Both FedEx and UPS suck. This goes along with my experience as well. And the Republican attacks on the USPS are all about providing FedEx and UPS with access to the most profitable USPS routes so they can leave the unprofitable ones to the government so that we taxpayers can pay for them. Capitalism when it is good for corporate America and socialism when it isn’t! And many American workers cheering it on.