Many free-market types have been confused as to why Wal-Mart, that shining symbol of capitalism at its best, would be in favor of a federal mandate forcing employers to provide health insurance with a government-decreed menu of benefits. Michael Cannon explains:
It all became clear when the lobbyist explained the reason for Wal-Mart’s position: “Target’s health-benefits costs are lower.
Let’s say that Target spends $5,000 per worker on health benefits and Wal-Mart spends $10,000. An employer mandate that requires both retail giants to spend $9,000 per worker would have no effect on Wal-Mart. But it would cripple one of Wal-Mart’s chief competitors.
Although I admire the Machiavellian cunning that led to this strategy, it’s still a mistake. Over the long haul, unfettered government meddling in everything from health care to the auto industry is a much bigger threat to Wal-Mart than Target will ever be.
You can’t feed your competitors to the big-government monster without eventually landing on the menu yourself.