Friday, September 23, 2005

50 percent of Sears operating costs were-are health care

I just heard on NPR that more than half of all the operating costs for Sears are health care costs. The company cut their subsidy to retirees today. It's more evidence that the government should finance basic health care and take the cost off of the backs of business.

10 comments:

Lazerlou said...

Dan you are such a Commie. Just wait till we are old and people are living till they are 100. Businesses won't be able to afford retirement benefits.

Lazerlou said...
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Anonymous said...

Sears management was not very good in recent history. Numerous retail people outmaneuvered Sears.

Thus, the company may not be able to afford all the benefits.

This points to a much bigger issue Dan. Look into funding for OPEB (Other Post Employment Benefits). Hardly any corporations have *funded* plans. Companyes set up plans and promise benefits to employees and set aside $0 today to pay for the future. This is very very common. Companies take cash and buy back shares, pay dividends, and give bonuses to execs. They do not fund OPEB.

Anonymous said...

one more:

when govt bails out business, they create incentives whereby management has no reason not to fail. management knows they will get bailed out. this causes failues. i do believe this is true, and thus some things need to be allowed to fail.

high-ups parachute to soft landings with company money (see United CEO) and lots of others are SOL (have skills and experience an industry with declining opportunity, or looking for a job when literally 000s are)

i would like to see targeted income tax breaks for workers in deregulated industries that work for losing management (airlines, telecom, etc)

Anonymous said...

one more:

if you want to be pro-active on this, you coudl get a list of big, publicly-traded corporations employees in illinois. you could look into the funding status of OPEB (maybe leverage strengths of UIUC to look into this - it is probably public). Then you could publicize who is funding OPEB and who is not. You could focus on employers in Chicago and your district. You could look at which companies have tons of money for bonus and dividends but $0 for OPEB. YOu could prepare objective, analytical tables and distribute it to students and professors.

This would prevent clustermucks 20-30 years down-the-road.

Anonymous said...

Dan,

Is the problem that health care costs too much or that business is paying to much for it?

Lazerlou said...

Healthcare costs are rising at a greater rate than ever before? Why? Because of deregulation and privitization. Injecting a profit motivation, allowing business school grads and the wealthy to profit off of the labor of doctor and nurses is fucking genius. Bill Frist sucks ass.

And businesses are clearly paying too much. Insurance companies should be non-profit where incentives for efficiency are merit based and subsidized by tax dollara. Allowing securitization, not just profit, of healthcare and insurance is a shameful thing in our country. Doctors and nurses only should be allowed to profit.

But with big business that can afford it, I don't see a problem requiring theose that can bear the cost to do so. We need to guarantee the dignity of our citizens later in life and our largest employers and greatest generators of wealth are just those to do so - through taxation, not laissez faire healthcare.

Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

I like that OPEB issue. And I do think that we are (a) paying too high a share of our GDP for health care, (b) not getting enough primary care and catastrophic insurance for all that money and (c) putting the burden on the wrong institution -- employers -- instead of all of us as taxpayers. I don't know how to keep costs down, however, when consumers have no incentive to shop. Maybe that shop around effect doesn't really help much in health care, but it is an important incentive that would be good to harness.

IlliniPundit said...

It's more evidence that the government should finance basic health care and take the cost off of the backs of business.

I'm certain, of course, that such a move will not result in increased taxes for those same businesses due to the widely known efficiencies and cost-saving techniques of government management.

Lazerlou said...

Probably not, when those that would benefit from government subsidy, small business, would be getting dollar taxed hopefully from the most profitable big businesses, and maybe even targeted taxes designed at pricing people out of bad health - cigarette taxes, recreational drug taxes, artificially hydrogenated fats, processed sugars, gasoline (ride your bikes fatties!) etc.

I'll tell you what you give me a budget where I can hire at the level of talent that goldman sachs hires at, nay, Sears management even, I'll give you a governemnt as good and efficient at dispensng benefits to citizens as Goldman (and certianly Sears) is at making profits.

Let's stop with the government can;t do anything ignorance. If you want government to be good, make it competative with the private sector.

I'll get rid of unions and stupid employment rules if you get me enough money to hire competent people in the government. Deal?