What's Behind Wal-Mart Backing Obamacare?  

Posted by Rob Barton in ,

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Wal-Mart announced yesterday that it would be backing Obamacare. Why, you might ask, is Wal-Mart doing this when almost every other business interest is against it? The bottom line is your answer.
Obama's plan calls for a mandate that businesses either offer health benefits to their employees or pay into the public plan. Wal-Mart stated yesterday in a letter to Congress that they will back this plan as long as the mandate is based on a profit per employee basis, and not a per employee basis. Wal-Mart is the largest employer in the US. Having that many employees drives the per employee profit way down.
In case you didn't know, I work for Wal-Mart. I have worked there going on thirteen years. Among my friends and family, a lot of whom lean or have fallen over to the left, I have been Wal-Mart's greatest defender. After all, who among us has taken better advantage of our free market society?
A few months ago, I remember hearing Rush Limbaugh quote from a book about Wal-Mart. The author had set out to really get them. They were evil and he was going to show the world. For research sake, he applied for a job there. Once he was in, he changed his tune. When he got involved in the culture, when he found out that department managers there were running their own little businesses inside of a Wal-Mart building (the Wal-Mart lingo for that is "Store Within A Store" or SWAS) he could not say enough good things about them and the book he intended to write never materialized, while a pro-WM book did.
Lately, though, Wal-Mart has changed. Gone are the days of SWAS. Department managers at store level used to be able to say, "This is a good item for my department/community. I think I'll order a couple of hundred of them and promote the heck out of it!" Now, just like our government, WM has centralized all of its power at its corporate office. Your local Wal-Mart is no longer allowed to order in items that it thinks will sell well in your community. That is all dictated by Bentonville now.
I recently commented on this to a co-worker. "Every day," I said. "Wal-Mart is becoming more like Washington." We both laughed a little, then sighed because we knew it was true. Strong central office, strong central government.
Now we have WM backing the most liberal president ever and his ridiculous attempt at nationalizing health care. Wal-Mart's reason behind this is quite devious, however. Wal-Mart is looking at the public option. When O gets his way, and we have his precious public option, many of WM's employees will opt out of their paid plans and go on the government dole. When they do this, costs for providing health benefits for its employees will plummet, even after they pay their profit-per-employee based fee to the government. Basically, every other business in the country will be paying the tab for WM's employees. Since the public option will most likely be means-based, many of Wal-mat's lower paid employees will qualify.
Mr. Sam, as the long-timers at Wal-Mart call him, is turning in his grave!