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Thursday, August 04, 2005

Democrats plan to make Wal-Mart issue in 2006

Who are these Democrats and why are they out to get Wal-Mart?

These Democrats are: Sen. Edward Kennedy of Mass., Sen. John Corzine of N.J., Rep. Anthony Weiner of N.Y., Chris Kofinis strategist for former Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark, Buffy Wicks formerly state organizer for Howard Dean, Jeremy Bird formerly deputy field director for Howard Dean and lobby organizations Wake Up Wal-Mart and Wal-Mart Watch.

They’re out to get Wal-Mart for these reasons:
Gender Discrimination
Environmental Record
Child Labor Violations
Low Wages
Outsourcing of Jobs
Hiring Illegal Immigrants
Health Benefits

To examine the above areas of Wal-Mart’s alleged poor labor practices read a 2004 report released by Congressman George Miller (D-CA) at

The Democrats want Wal-Mart to unionize. Read this to find out why they shouldn’t:

Democrats complain that “In 12 states Wal-Mart is the largest employer with workers on Medicaid and other assistance programs. They say it costs taxpayers more than $200 million to subsidize 600,000 Wal-Mart employees health insurance.”

Fact: Wal-Mart employs 1.3 million workers.
Fact: There are 34 million Americans currently “without” health insurance. Why are they without health insurance? Read this from

Lack of health insurance. One problem is that about 34 million Americans do not have health insurance, and their number has been rising. At least two government policies have contributed to this problem and made it much worse than it needs to be.
The first is the tax law. Most people who work for large companies receive health insurance as a fringe benefit. Because the health insurance premiums are deductible expenses for employers, many workers effectively avoid a 28 percent income tax, a 15.3 percent tax for Social Security (half of which is paid by employers), and a 2 to 9 percent state and local income tax. Thus, as much as fifty cents of every dollar spent on health insurance through employers is effectively paid by government. And we get what we subsidize. About 90 percent of the people who have private health insurance obtain it through an employer.

In contrast, the unemployed, the self-employed, and most employees of small businesses get little or no tax subsidy. If they have health insurance at all, they must first pay taxes and then purchase the insurance with what is left over. At the same time most of the 34 million people who have no health insurance pay higher tax rates to fund the $60 billion annual tax break for those who have employer-provided insurance.

A second source of the problem is state government regulations—specifically, laws that mandate what is covered under health insurance plans. Examples of mandated coverages include alcoholism, drug abuse, AIDS, mental illness, acupuncture, and in vitro fertilization.
In 1970 there were only thirty mandated health insurance benefit laws in the United States. Today there are at least one thousand. Coverage for heart transplants is mandated in Georgia, and for liver transplants in Illinois. Minnesota mandates coverage for hairpieces for bald people. Mandates cover marriage counseling in California, pastoral counseling in Vermont, and deposits to a sperm bank in Massachusetts.

There are more than 240 different health-related professions in the United States, ranging from chiropractors and naturopaths to athletic trainers. Every year, these special interest groups descend upon state legislatures demanding more and more regulations—and more and more mandated coverage. These regulations are driving up the cost of health insurance. The National Center for Policy Analysis estimates that as many as one out of every four people who lack health insurance has been priced out of the market by these costly regulations.

Not everyone is directly affected by state regulations. Federal law exempts federal government employees, Medicare enrollees, and employees of companies that manage their own health care plans. The last group employs more than half of all workers. State governments often exempt their own Medicaid patients and their own state employees. That means most of the burden of the mandates falls on employees of small businesses, the self-employed, and the unemployed. Yet these are the very groups that increasingly do without health insurance.

Read the rest of J. Goodman’s brief article on the “history of health insurance” and why it’s a system that’s in need of repair.

The Democrats are going to campaign in 2006 to pressure the world’s largest retailer to be a better employer and corporate citizen. They plan to “regulate” Wal-Mart to “make it better”.


Anonymous Blue Cross of California said...

I am happy to see democrats will work to provide better benefits to walmart employees. They deserve better health coverage.

2:42 PM  

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