Monday, February 19, 2007


Although I've often defended Wal-Mart, they aren't always on the side of the angels. Sheldon Richman reports on Wal-Mart's latest foray into rent-seeking:
Wal-Mart's CEO and his chief nemesis, the head of the Service Employees International Union, have joined forces. They recently appeared together at a news conference to endorse "universal health care," sugar-words for medicine by coercive bureaucracy.
It is not the first time CEO Lee Scott has endorsed interventionism. In 2005 he called for an increase in the minimum wage. It wasn't hard to figure out why. Wal-Mart pays more than the minimum wage. So why not stick it to your competitors who don't? No one, not even Wal-Mart, is so secure that a little drag on the competition wouldn't be of help.

Scott's jumping on the health-care bandwagon is equally transparent. He certainly isn't the only businessman to join this unholy crusade. Big business everywhere is creaking under the weight of their medical benefits, and they see only one way out: the taxpayers. It's the same reason Big Steel would like the government to take over its pension obligations.
What's funny is that Wal-Mart's most vocal critics probably won't criticize it for this, because most of them favor government intervention in healthcare. If they do criticize, it will probably only be to blast Wal-Mart for supporting "worker-friendly" policy as a cynical public relations ploy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Funny, I thought the HMO's and the pharmaceutical companies were big businesses as well. What we need is for Wal-Mart to (leverage of course) buy out all the drug companies and HMOs. If anyone can drive the costs down it's Wal-Mart. Need a kidney? It's yellow-tagged on aisle 8.