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The End to Another Obama Administration ‘Ponzi Scheme’

Once again, President Trump rises to the challenge and rolls back more burdensome regulations. This time it was another Obama-era “Big Labor Ponzi Scheme,” and unlike Obama, President Trump did it under full Constitutional authority in accordance with a new ruling issued by the United States Supreme Court.

For over twenty years big labor (i.e. the unions) have been “skimming money” from Medicaid payments designated for union employees. Even worse, in 2014, then-President Obama actually attached government policy to this clearly questionable (and some would argue illegal) act in order to attempt to give it some degree of legitimacy.

Here is how it works. The union takes a percentage of the payment for Medicaid under the doctrine of having “non-union” members pay for the “privilege” of “collective bargaining.” The numbers are astronomical. This “Ponzi scheme” has made billions for unions (over the last 20 years).

Maxford Nelson, a labor expert at the Washington-based Freedom Foundation, said unions have taken more than $1 billion from caregivers since 2000, money that was meant for patients. The foundation has battled local unions in the state to allow caregivers to withdraw such payments from the union.

Take, for example, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) requiring public sector home healthcare workers to pay “agency fees” equivalent to 85 percent of union dues that rake in millions. In fact, according to one report, the SEIU was set to collect as much as $71 million this year alone.

Now, the union’s argument is that the forced payment is to cover the cost of having to represent “non-members” in contract negotiations, etc. But it begs the question: How often are you actually in “contract negotiations”? And do those negotiations really cost $71 million a year? Honestly, they are not fooling anybody. If you follow the money you would see.

Well, the good news is that President Trump’s proposed regulations would put a stop to this blatant theft of money from American workers’ Medicaid payments.

Under Trump’s new regulation, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services would end the 2014 Obama rule that allowed third parties, like unions and insurance companies, to “skim off” a piece of a worker’s paycheck before the worker even got to see his check.

Of course, with the threat of losing a ton of money, SEIU is having a fit and has branded President Trump’s policy, “as part of the [Trump] administration’s broad, coordinated attack against working people.” They went on to make this blistering, vitriolic statement: “The proposed rule targets these home care workers and is designed to stop them from contributing their own wages to support their union in the same way that teachers, police, and firefighters do, this proposal is a transparent attempt to interfere with workers’ freedom to choose to join together in a union and advocate for higher wages, better training, and basic benefits like affordable healthcare and paid sick time that are crucial to ensure quality home care for our parents, grandparents and children.”

Well, of course you would say that, but it would appear that the Supreme Court disagrees with you. You see, folks, the unions would have you believe that these workers have a choice in the matter. They don’t. The union just steps in and takes the money whether you like it or not.

Mark Mix, president of The National Right to Work Foundation, welcomed the Trump administration’s rule, calling it a “vital first step in ending the illegal dues skim that diverts public funds away from the care of Medicaid recipients and into union officials’ coffers.” He said in a statement that the proposal was necessary because the Obama White House turned a blind eye to enforcing the legal standards set forth in 2014.

Further, “For years, aided by a compliant Obama Administration, Big Labor has siphoned off hundreds of millions of tax dollars in violation of federal law, which is why this rulemaking is now needed [to] make it clear that states cannot legally divert Medicaid funds into the bank accounts of politically connected union bosses,” Mix said.

The Daily Caller reached out to Maxford Nelson for a statement regarding the Trump proposal: “It is very heartening to see this administration taking the first practical steps to stop states and unions from deducting money from the Medicaid checks of home caregivers serving our society’s disabled and elderly.”

Nelson continued, “This illegal and exploitive practice has victimized hundreds of thousands of caregivers. It has only been allowed to persist because it generated significant funds for a politically-connected special interest group.”

Tim Hill, acting director for the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, stated in a recent press release: “The law provides that Medicaid providers must be paid directly and cannot have part of their payments diverted to third parties outside of a few very specific exceptions.”

Hill continued, “This proposed rule is intended to ensure that providers receive their complete payment, and any circumstances in which a state does divert part of a provider’s payment must be clearly allowed under the law.”

Of course, like we said before, President Trump’s policy is in full support of the Supreme Court’s ruling just handed down, regarding the abuses committed by public sector labor unions and workers forced to pay mandatory fees.

The 5-4 majority landmark decision ended the illegal practice of forcing an estimated five million government workers to pay fees, thus violating the spirit of the Constitution. The Supreme Court ruling last month said public sector workers can’t be forced to pay fees to unions they don’t want to join.

As reported by Fox News, Associate Justice Samuel Alito explained within the majority opinion: “Compelling individuals to mouth support for views they find objectionable violates that cardinal constitutional command, and in most contexts, any such effort would be universally condemned.”

Writing for the majority opinion, Justice Alito explained, “This procedure violates the First Amendment and cannot continue. Neither an agency fee nor any other payment to the union may be deducted from a non-member’s wages, nor may any other attempt be made to collect such a payment, unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay.”

So now, thanks to the Supreme Court and President Trump, the unions have to play on a level playing field. Like any other organization, they have to ask for dues or get explicit written permission from an employee before they can take money out of their check.

But, of course, to hear the liberals talk you would think the world was ending with headlines like “The Anti-Union Janus Ruling Is Going To Hit Black Women The Hardest,” published by inthesetimes.com.

This despite the fact that, under the Trump administration, the employment rate in the Black community is at an all-time high. Or the fact that as employers have to compete for new hires, wages go up. And, more importantly, under the Janus ruling, the requirement is that employees have to give constructive notice to allow unions to withdraw funds. The unions just can’t take the fees willy-nilly without permission. Did you happen to know that in many cases there was not even an “opt-out” option. You were stuck paying the fees regardless.

How about this headline, “A Supreme Court ruling for Janus would be judicial activism at its worst” or “Janus Ruling Could Jar U.S. Economy.

There is one problem here, though. It is the proverbial “boy crying wolf” story. The liberals and the Democrats are constantly raising the alarm bells; it has now gotten to the point that no one is really listening. Combine their vitriol and hate…and people just tune out.

It’s pretty simple. People should not have to pay for something they don’t agree with or don’t believe in. They should have the option; the Janus ruling provides that. If you believe in unions and want their representation, you can elect to pay the dues. If you don’t believe in the unions or let’s say the union starts acting in a way you don’t agree with, you can now elect not to give the unions your money.

Obama’s campaign motto was “Yes we can.” Thanks to Janus, now people can chant No, you can’t!

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Rene Sotolongo

Rene is an OpsLens contributor and retired Navy Information Systems Technician Chief Petty Officer.

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