As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Schwarzonomics: Letting Businesses Rip Off Old People, Women, Blacks

When the Governor looks around and sees a mortgage crisis, a potential $10 billion dollar shortfall in the state budget, and failures to deal with pressing economic problems and instead push the problem off to the next generation, he always falls back on worker's compensation reform. This was the centerpiece of his economic agenda upon coming into office, it's what he always touts as the first step on getting California business moving again.

And it was based on discrimination.

A state appeals court ruled Monday that a 76-year-old Sacramento woman can't have her permanent disability benefits reduced because of her age.

The decision by the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento represents a small but significant victory for injured workers who argued for years that their benefits have been slashed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's overhaul of the workers' compensation system three years ago.

For the first time, the court said the injured workers are protected by the state's anti-discrimination laws. In this case, insurers and doctors can't use a worker's age, race or gender in determining permanent disability awards.

The road to economic solvency for Arnold Schwarzenegger was based on this; trying to take money from the permanently disabled because of their age or race or gender. We should all feel a little bit ashamed.

Now the job of the legislature is to permanently fix this injustice to put it in legal working order. Frank Russo has a lot more, but here's a taste:

Yesterday's decision by three judges of the California Court of Appeals that the so-called "reform" of workers' compensation laws--the law that Schwarzenegger demanded and the legislature enacted in 2004--cannot be used when it leads to discrimination based on gender or race is just the latest example of how badly that law was written. The legislature bought a pig in a poke when they were stampeded into adopting at a 3 a.m. committee hearing followed by floor votes of a complicated 75 page bill which almost none of them had read--or really considered.

Workers have been paying for this ever since.

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