The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

18 February 2005

WA: Let's Pick on Wal-Mart!

Now that Dems are in complete control of Olympia, their sights are set on the ultimate menace: Wal-Mart.

Not wanting to miss out on a fad, WA Dems have crafted legislation to pick on the retailing giant. What kind of message does it send to other companies about Washington State's business climate? It's not as though the state can afford to chase any more firms away.

(Seattle Times)

Three Wal-Mart executives from the chain's Bentonville, Ark., headquarters arrived in Olympia yesterday to try to fend off legislation that would force large companies to pay for health insurance.

Both the state House and state Senate are considering a measure that would require employers with 50 or more workers to provide health coverage for all employees or pay an equivalent fee into the state's Basic Health Plan.

Dozens of people, including the Wal-Mart executives and vocal union supporters, packed a House hearing room yesterday to debate the issue. The Senate held a similar hearing.

Wal-Mart is regularly singled out as an example of a large employer that could provide better health-care coverage, a characterization the company calls unfair.

The Health Care Responsibility Act, which has become known in Olympia as "pay or play" and the "Wal-Mart bill," is backed by patient advocates and opposed by business associations. Key Democrats support the measure but face tough opposition from lawmakers wary of imposing new business taxes.


  • Whenever something like this happens, (and this may reveal one of my psychopathic idiosyncracies), I wish the independent rich guy, in this case Walmart, would just say, "OK, you don't like the way we do business? We're going to shut down our Washington operations and these are the names of the politicians who are responsible for the intolerable business climate." And then begin to shut down one store at a time.

    That would be a dicey and expensive crap shoot and it would have to be accompanied by a massive PR campaign to show the public how capitalism works and how big gov't stifles it.

    Big Tobacco could have chosen a state and decided to pull all of their products out of the state. It would have caused a revolution.

    Some giant concern needs to stand up to obtrusive regulations and point the blame at individual politicians or bureaucrats and let the community run them out of town on a rail.

    By Blogger rich glasgow, at 18 February, 2005 19:11  

  • True, Rich, but many companies have in fact left Washington State. Boeing moved its corporate headquarters to Chicago. Certainly nobody wants to move an operation to the state.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 21 February, 2005 21:10  

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