Bribing The Unions

Lexington's take on the health care deal struck by the unions:

It is as if George Bush had said: "Join the National Rifle Association and we'll cut your income taxes."


[T]hat bribe will most likely come at a direct cost to others. Exempting unions is expected to reduce the $150 billion in revenue the tax was supposed to raise by about $60 billion. So in order to make up for the lost revenue, it’s entirely possible that Democrats will expand the Medicare payroll tax to cover investment income.

Megan thinks this is just the beginning:

[U]nions get a special two-year exclusion from the tax. Presumably, the unions plan to go back and get their exclusion extended every few years.  Otherwise, the deal doesn't make much sense.

Yglesias counters:

How on earth are the unions supposed to get this extended every two years? Is the view that the GOP will never have a majority in the House or the Senate or control of the White House? Is the idea that the anti-union Democrats who killed the Employee Free Choice Act will have a conversion on the road to Damascus? Perhaps all sixty of the Democratic Senators who voted in favor of a version of this tax that did no favors to the unions whatsoever all had their fingers crossed behind their backs when they did this? In a system with as many veto points as we have in the United States, default rules matter. A lot.