Rent Seeker Approves of Raising Their Competitor's Cost Structure

Whenever you read that some large company is embracing a policy that seems counter to their interest, look closely at their motivation. Consider today’s news that the nation’s largest private employer is backing a health insurance mandate. Why would they favor something that would seem to increase their costs?

Wal-Mart backs employer health insurance mandate

WASHINGTON (AP) — Wal-Mart has embraced President Barack Obama’s call for requiring all large employers to offer health insurance to their workers, adding momentum to the president’s push for far-reaching changes to the nation’s health care system.

Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest private employer, announced its position in a letter to congressional and administration officials Tuesday. It was joined by a major labor union that sometimes has criticized Wal-Mart as stingy with employee benefits.

“We are for an employer mandate which is fair and broad in its coverage,” the letter said.

Why would they want a mandate? Read on to find out:

Wal-Mart recently said that 94 percent of its employees now have insurance, either through the company or a family member.

The law would not affect them, so endorsing it is a cost free decision. But all those other retailers who don’t offer health insurance will find their costs going up. Grocery store chains like SuperValu, Kroger, and Safeway, department stores like Target, big box stores like Home Depot and Lowes, electronic retailers like Best Buy will all find themselves with higher costs if the health insurance mandate becomes written into law. Wal-Mart is just begging the government to impose a mandate on them that will cost them nothing, but saddle their competitors with a huge new expense. I can’t wait until Obama says it’s for the children.

Think about that the next time you hear of General Electric backing new regulations like the Cap and Trade mess working through congress:

That’s part of the reason why I think you saw a lot of businesses supporting this bill — everybody from Starbucks to GE, because what business is looking for is clarity and certainty, and what this bill signals is that we’re not going to keep on being a prisoner of the past, we’re going to reach for the future. The country that is able to lead on clean energy is the country that ultimately is going to be able to compete effectively in the 21st century.

Reach for the future with a GE™ carbon scrubber. But hold on to your wallet.

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