From:
Sent: Friday, January 22, 2010 3:17 PM
To: sns5r@virginia.edu
Mr. Stern:
 
i heard the piece on NPR this morning where you were trying to convince the lady she would be better off if her health benefits were taxed because that should lead to better things, etc.  Seems you feel that AT and T would pass on the money they saved to her in higher wages.  You said you did not see any reason why they would not pass that on.  Brother, are you for real?
 
i want to start by saying that i realize you are a very educated and smart man.  i am not.  i have never darkened the door of a college.  But i have worked hard all my life to attain skills through trade schools and constant training that have allowed me to reach a point where i am qualified to hold a pretty decent job.  At least compared to others from my same humble beginnings.  Decent benefits are part of the package which includes health insurace.  The company pays 80% of the premium and i pay 20%.  After a family $800 dollar deductible the plan pays 80% and i pay 20% as long as i stay in network.  The pay and benefits are partly due to market and partly due to collective bargaining. 
 
My work experience has allowed me to readily view how management executives operate.  And if there is one thing i know, sure as God made little green apples, ain't no big company fat cats gonna pass any savings from cheaper health care on to the employees.  Executives are all about greed.  The recent wall street bonuses should be example enough.  Those executives are the same as any executives at any big company.  Just like the outfit i work for.  The workers have had to scratch and claw for what we have.  i am in no mood to give it up so some fat cat can get fatter.  Mr. Stern, if you believe it to be any other way then you need to get in the real world.  i wonder if you have ever worked in the real world?  i'm not trying to be disrespectful.  Just saying that the NPR piece left me wondering if you were trying to pull our collective legs or if you really believed what you were saying.  Reckon the lady who works for AT and T feels as i?
 
The approach should be top down --  not bottom up --  on this health care issue.  In other words get the companies to commit, in blood, they would pass on the savings to the workers then maybe some buy in could be had from the likes of folks same as i.
 
You might try working in one of those Virginis coal mines or a Norfolk ship yard for 6 months or so.  Then you'd know where i am coming from.
 
Thanks for your time.
 
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