The GM strike, and the muted reaction to it (so far) from liberal activists, is one of the political ironies of our time.
It's happening in part because unions are much weaker. The UAW put 79,000 members onto the picket lines yesterday. A few decades ago it had 250,000, just at GM.
But it's also happening because liberals see GM, and other large companies, as key allies in their fight for universal health care.
Markos Moulitsas (above), who runs Dailykos.Com, has been predicting this since 2005. At that time GM paid $5.2 billion for health benefits. It's likely more today.
Big businesses helped kill the 1993 Clinton health care plan, but their views are shifting. A true universal health care plan, if enacted tomorrow, would represent an enormous transfer-of-wealth from small businesses, many of which don't offer health insurance, to large companies which do offer it.
Magazines like Business Week, which focus on enterprises, are now writing positive articles about the French health care plan:
France is now considering U.S.-style health-maintenance organization tactics to rein in costs. Still, some 65% of French citizens express satisfaction with their system, compared with 40% of U.S. residents. And France spends just 10.7% of its gross domestic product on health care, while the U.S. lays out 16%, more than any other nation.
With Democrats expected to increase their margins in Congress next year, and win the Presidency, the shift of big business to the side of major health care reform could be decisive in getting it passed.
Or so advocates believe.