Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Seattle PI Complicit In McKenna Doubletalk

I sent this letter to the PI staff today about their coverage of the Washington Governor's race. They botched their Inslee, McKenna offer ideas for Maritime industry article. It's a nice snapshot of what's wrong with the coverage of the Inslee/McKenna matchup:
It is disappointing that the PI is letting Rob McKenna get away with his double talk. The article "Inslee, McKenna offer ideas for maritime industry" quotes McKenna as saying that Washington corporations can't grow because they pay too much for insurance. The cost of hiring a new worker is a lot higher than the wages that the corporation pays to the employee. Insofar as his logic is concerned, he's right; we could encourage job growth by taking insurance burdens away from corporations. Bringing down the marginal cost to higher a worker will mean more jobs created in good times and fewer people laid off in lean times. That's what Rob McKenna says.

What Rob McKenna has done, however, is the opposite. The highest non-wage cost of hiring is by far health insurance. In 2010, health insurance cost employers an average of $3.35 per employee hour according to this study by the Kaiser Family Foundation: http://www.kff.org/insurance/snapshot/Employer-Health-Insurance-Costs-and-Worker-Compensation.cfm That surcharge grew four times as faster than wage growth over the previous decade. Yet Rob McKenna has obstructed, litigated, and lobbied against the only national means of reducing that burden on employers. His decision to fight against the Affordable Care Act may have been good politics for his gubernatorial campaign, but it's terrible policy for Washington workers and businesses.

The Affordable Care Act introduces competition into small group markets into which the majority of Washington businesses fit. It's a market-driven approach that will bring prices down and service quality up. Rob McKenna has fought against this common sense measure. While Rob McKenna's 'solutions' point to small potatoes "unemployment insurance, high workers compensation cost and burdensome taxes," any business owner knows that he's distracting from the bigger picture. Rob McKenna's opposition to more affordable, flexible, and reliable health insurance for Washington business owners and employees is the elephant in the room in the economic debate.

While Rob McKenna's job is to distract Washington from his record, the Seattle PI's responsibility is to hold him to it. Please do a better job in the future.
You can let the PI know how you feel by email too.

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