Open thread Feb. 10, 2012 Dan Crawford | February 10, 2012 5:26 pm Tags: open thread Comments (24) | Digg Facebook Twitter |
So explain to me this. Does the Constitution protect the freedom of an individual or an organization to impose its religious beliefs on an employee within a secular agency which may have a religious affiliation? That is what the issue is. It is not a question of restraining the religious activities of anyone. The government is not requiring that anyone within a religious
orgainzation, or any secular agency under that organizations control, act one way or another in regards to birth control. The requirement is that the health care insurance of an employee be comprehensive as defined by law. This is not a question of what goes on within a place of worship. It is a question of imposing a religious belief and associated behaviors on one’s employees.
Most employment regulation (antidiscrimination, minimum wage, etc.) do not conflict with the stated beliefs of the Church, so are not an issue. Nor for most Protestants.
The feds cannot, though, tell the Catholic who can be a nun, or that a nun must or must not work in a hospital, or tell any church who can be a pastor.
A hospital, though, is subject to licensing laws both for the organization and for the professionals. Nuns, for example, have licenses as physicians, nurses, nursing administrators, and etc.
The Amish have waivers on many (but not all) federal and state regulations because those regulations would conflict with beliefs.
The federal government designing the details of a health insurance plan is a relatively new phenomena, except for non-discrimination rules within a qualified plan.
So, answer, no one knows for certain what the rules are.
The political rules are perhaps clearer, do not piss off the Catholic Church in an election year.
What you’re drilling down to, I think , is that this is a labor law/commercial issue , not a religious issue.
That’s what I think, anyway.
What my focus is is to bring attention to the fact that organized relgions in our country have been screaming about encrochment by government on their “freedoms” to believe. I hesitate to use the word worship, though some might include the holding of a belief within the concept of worship. I would like to see more attention paid to the fact that the freedom being said to be aggrieved is the freedom to impose those beliefs on other parties. Those parties may in deed be involved in activities organized by a religious organization. That does not constitute a freedom to require that those who are associated with the non religious activities of a religious organization, most often employees of a secular agency, give up the freedom to retain their employment and the secular benefits that are part of that employment.
The result is not that the church pays for birth control, but instead that the church pays a share of an employees health insurance and that insurance includes all aspects of health care.
The Sandwichman has posted a first draft of “Fallacy Follies: Evidence, Inference and the Blur of Bamboozlement,” which examines the ethical predicament of an IMF Working Paper on early retirement and youth employment.
Back in the 1970s and 80s there was what was known as “The Steel Crisis,” which involved the technological obsolescence and redundant workforces of much of the European and North American steel industries. Early retirement was the major strategy used in Belgium for cutting the workforce almost in half.
Flash forward to 2008 and a University of Liege economist analyzed the early retirement policies without acknowledging the role of the Steel Criis or the importance of early retirement for workforce reduction. Liege, it may be noted is a major centre of the Belgian steel industry.
I’ve reached some rather definite — and I think fruitful — conclusions about the nature and function of economics and the calling of the economist from my debunking of the IMF Working Paper.
I stop by to partake
who is paying for the insurance?
i am inclined to agree with you that an employer, whatever his religious beliefs, is not at liberty to impose those beliefs on employees private behavior … even employees who have to “agree” to those beliefs as a condition of employment.
i also think the church is being damn stupid getting involved in politics and attempting to use the force of the state to require people to behave according to its beliefs. i think even Jesus said something to that effect.
but mostly i think this is another political side show designed to collect voters by appealing to strong emotions one way or another… distracting people from their real interests with respect to political and economic freedom from coercion by either a too powerful state, or too powerful money interests.
oops, i forgot my obligation to make at least half the people mad at me…
i can’t see that birth control ought to be paid for by insurance at all. it’s a small predictable expense. and if you are going to pay for it through insurance, you might as well just pay for it directly.
i’d have a hard time accepting a “condoms tax”, even though i could be persuaded it was in the national interest. (that is, a tax i paid to support condom purchaces by others, not a tax that condom purchasers paid to support, say , cleaning them up from the parking lots where they get thrown out of car windows.)
But birth control coverage saves more money than it costs. That’s why insurance companies aren’t screaming about how much it will cost them to provide free contraception to people who already are covered by them via an employer.
i figure it’s all caesar’s money.
Look at it this way, Coberly–In our poor benighted country, HI insurance is how you pay for health care. People get their insurance from their employers as part of their compensation. So, JzB has it right when he says that we’re not talking about religion at all when we determine what benefits to require insurers to include in their HI policies.This here is the ACA doing what it should–setting minimum standards for HI provided employees by employers. Purely regulatory and that’s all.
In bygone times, people were taught to avoid talking about religion, politics, or money in casual conversations since all three topics are guaranteed to provoke arguments. But, during election years, the base of each party needs to be encouraged to vote. One way to do that is to talk about religion, politics, and money or ANYTHING but the problems facing the country. Never more so if your party’s preferred policies got us into economic trouble. All this to whip up your supporters’ dislike of your adversaries and unite them behind your candidates.
So, candidates talk about how “corporations are people,” “the food stamp President”, “letting the housing market hit bottom” or “how the govt is persecuting religious institutions.” The other side fights back with its own slogans, of course, but it’s pretty hard to get people whipped into a froth of political fervor talking about ZIPR, budget cuts for the good of the country, smaller govt in the wake of the “ownership society” and how people should cheer up–“It could be worse!” Try talking about SS benefit cuts and the chained CPR and you’re likely to be greeted with great hostility. Say you want to “strengthen SS” and the crowd cheers as long as you avoid saying you want to do that by cutting benefits and chaining the CPI.
So, the contraception hoohah is politics turned up to 11 under the pretense of religious persecution. Religious persecution in this country? Really?? Tell it to the Puritans. NancyO
Have I mentioned lately how much I disagree with the President on this one? No? Ok. A. LOT. Want to sneak a stimulus effort in under the door? Just cut employees’ income taxes, right? I’d like to see how the R’s could argue against a tax cut benefitting even those who don’t pay FICA. NancyO
Good morning, y’all! This is to make up for all my pontificating. 8-D NancyO
I am floored by your perspicacity.
I as talking to a lady this morning who had the idea that Obama was trying to force Catholic hospitals to do abortions and provide birth control.
I have no idea what the facts are. She did seem to think that folks who wanted abortions or birth control could get them somewhere else.
I tend to agree with her that “let the other guy go to hell in his own way” is a better answer for both the church and the state.
But I also agree with you, as i said none too clearly above, that “an employer” should not be able to force his religious views on his employees in their off-work behavior, which should include what their insurance pays for. Maybe the church employer could offer a BC plan and a non BC plan to satisfy everyone.
Of course the whole thing would be solved if the state (federal) just took over the problem of providing the insurance from the employer, which was always a rube goldberg way of doing it in the first place.
did the P offer any suggestions for how to make our voice heard if we were shouting “NO!”
Ummmm. No, no suggestions for the anti-FICA holiday naysayers. Guess we’ll just have to HOLLER LOUDER! NancyO
Maybe on Monday you will accept one of Obama’s many many compromises–the Washington Post reports that his FY 2013 budget will propose to end the payroll tax holiday on 1 January 2013. Oh wait, I forgot, compromise is bad, so I guess we should just end the payroll holiday on 1 March along with those extensions of unemployment insurance. That would enhance the accuracy of the most recent CBO “baseline” economic projections of dire economic conditions for 2012 and potentially help the GOP to take control of the Senate and Presidency in November. Ah, the “holler louder” agenda is exposed. 🙂
I too preferred something more rational than the payroll tax holiday. Didn’t happen. Won’t happen this month. Choose your poison carefully.
generally you are pretty sensible. i am not sure it is sensible to claim you are “compromising” when you do a bad thing because you claim the other guy won’t let you do a good thing unless you do the bad thing.
we don’t need the payroll tax holiday. if the economy needs a stimulus there are better ways to get one. in fact any kind of tax cut, when it is tax cuts that have brought about the diseased state of our economy and our politics, is the worst possible stimulus. the unemployment insurance has nothing to do with the payroll tax holiday. in fact, extending the unemployment insurance is a better stimulus than any tax cut.
as long as Obama is giving the “right” what the GOP has been unable to deliver for seventy five years, i don’t think it matters too much it the R’s “take control.” you are being gamed by the good cop bad cop routine.
There you go again . . .
in fact any kind of tax cut, when it is tax cuts that have brought about the diseased state of our economy and our politics, is the worst possible stimulus.
Decreased taxes as in the 2001/2003 breaks are only part of the problem; besides the two wars fought for wrong reasons, the Wall Street inspired 2008 Reccession, a downward trending Participation Rate since the 2001 Recession, etc. It is not quite as simple as increasing taxes.
“the unemployment insurance has nothing to do with the payroll tax holiday.”
Since both Unemployment Insurance and SS are funded entitlements, I would say there is a great similarity to the attack by the right to cut both.
“i don’t think it matters too much it the R’s “take control.”
More of Obama is far better than Mitt and most certainly Santorum or Gingrich. There is no comparison to this dilemma other than sliding off the edge in which Obama has us poised into an abyss not experienced in decades. Experiencing either alternative is not something I wish to be a part of next year. Just given the United Citizen decision brought about the the Kennedy controlled SCOTUS and the lack of action by Congress to control Pac spending in elections, the influence of the Koch brothers, Peterson, and Norquist, and the activism of ALEC in bring corporcray to the forefront does not bode well for us. The United Citizen decision by SCOTUS is in the same league as the 78 Brennan decision on State Usury which had a far reaching impact on the economy and the politics of this nation. I would look at the 78 Decision as setting the wheels in motion for the 2008 Wall Street and Banking collapse.
Coberly, I believe you are ignoring much in your argument.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/dougschoen/2012/02/09/why-the-2012-election-will-ultimately-be-a-fight-between-super-pacs/ “The Fight of the Super Pacs”
Coberly we disagree on Obama’s intent, because we use different evidence and interpretation. I may be biased in wanting to see a positive path forward, you may be biased in wanting to warn of enemies. Both are useful functions, imho. Here’s hoping I’m right.
My greatest fear is that we’re both wrong and the outcome will be be determined not willfully but stupidly. We have a true do-nothing Congress that has managed, with great difficulty when faced with a deadline, only to extend the status quo that it inherited in January 2011. (Exceptions: two trade treaties and a new patent law.) For the coming weeks or months, the choices seem to be more status quo or inaction, i.e. the CBO baseline economic forecast.
but note that the “do nothing” congress was able to enact the payroll tax holiday over a weekend.
unfortunately it is necessary to ignore most things in order to say anything.
the fact that SS and unemployment are both funded benefits hardly makes them natural “trade offs.”
the right does not want to cut the payroll tax holiday. it wants to make damn sure the blame is pinned on the Democrats. and they are happy to be dealing with a fool like obama who will give them more of what they want after he has given them more than they could possibly have hoped for. but the death of SS is what they have worked for for seventy years, and the payroll tax holiday has done that for them. unless of course you can persuade the workers to demand that their “taxes” be “raised” to keep their SS from going the way of welfare as we knew it.
all them other bogeymen are out there for sure. but my understanding of the devil is that he scares you into selling your soul when he can’t bribe you into selling your soul.
as for the wars and the recession and the tax breaks. any war we paid for, and any recession we paid for (remember Keynes) would not cause the political and economic disaster that “tax cuts forever” has caused.
as long as you have people thinking “tax cuts for me” you are all Libertarians, even when you think you are smarter than that.
let e try to make that clear:
as long as you cut taxes below what it takes to run a decent country… you will not have a decent country.
as long as your first motivation is to get and keep more money for yourself, you are suffering from what they used to understand as greed, one of the deadly sins. a sin is not a “crime against god”. it’s a crime against yourself.
Coberly the current Congress only extended the payroll tax cut as it was about the expire, as I said. The payroll tax legislation originally was passed by the prior Congress (in December 2010, one of its last acts before the new Congress arrived). It was a one-year concession by McConnell in exchange for extending the “Bush” income tax cuts for high-earners.