When I read about the recently passed "Wal Mart health care bill" in the Post, I merely smirked with that infuriating smile I get when liberal politicians cock a pistol aimed at their own feet. Mostly I was thinking "congratulations, Maryland, your legislature just handed you an 8% price hike!" But, as with all policies created by weak minds with good intent, that's just the start:
If Wal-Mart is forced to increase the share of compensation that comes in the form of health benefits, then it will have to decrease take-home pay. If it cannot decrease take-home pay, then it will have to reduce its reliance on low-skilled labor or cut back on operations altogether.
The law requires Wal-Mart to spend 8 percent of its payroll on health care, whether or not this is enough to keep its workers from needing to rely on Medicaid. If Wal-Mart came up with a way to provide outstanding health care to its workers for 6 percent of its payroll, it would be in violation of the law unless it found a way to waste the other 2 percent on unnecessary health care. Conversely, if Wal-Mart offers a really lousy health plan, it would be in compliance with the law as long as it spent 8 percent.
According to an April 17, 2004 article in The New York Times (of all places), it's estimated sales at Wal Mart stores helped lower the national inflation rate by as much as 1 percent per year in the previous decade. Stick that in your "Wal Mart's the next great corporate satan" pipe and smoke it.