Maryland – Socialistic injustice

Maryland’s lawmakers have acted arbitrarily and unjustly in passing a law designed to force a single company–Wal-Mart–to increase its health benefits. The government has no place dictating to companies what health benefits they offer, period–let alone targeting a single scapegoat company for punishment.

This arbitrary exercise of power by Maryland’s lawless lawmakers against one of America’s best companies should be repudiated by everyone who believes in justice, rights, and the rule of law.

Dr. Yaron Brook
President of the Ayn Rand Institute

I completely agree. If employees don’t like Wal-Mart’s benefit program, they don’t have to work there. Companies should have the right to set their own employee benefit programs without government interference.

5 thoughts on “Maryland – Socialistic injustice

  1. Gary,I’m not so sure about your conclusion. This is more than just about the rule of law and economics. I think this is an issue of morality. As a society, what minimums do we set when it comes to providing our citizens with health care? I think this is perfectly within the realm of a state’s right to decide.Howard


  2. Howard,This is about the role of government. In this country government should not have the right to tell business how to compensate their employees. That should be up to the business. If the business makes good choices, it will retain its employees and be successful. If the business makes bad choices it will lose its employees and will be less successful or will fail. It is up to the company and not the government to make those choices.The issue of whether a society ought to provide health care for its citizens is another issue. That would be an issue the government can decide how to handle – but it should not force businesses to do it. If the State of Maryland feels that businesses in its state are not providing adequate health care coverage, than it has a choice of stepping in and providing health coverage by the State government, or not. But to dictate to a company what it should pay its employees is not the kind of America I want to live in.If WalMart employees are not happy with the health care coverage provided by WalMart they are free to get jobs at companies that provide better health care. My guess is that employees stay with WalMart, despite the health coverage, because they can’t get a better compensation package from other employers.The other issue is why should the Government be able to select one company to enforce this increase, and not others. On what ground could there be justification for discriminatory treatment?The Maryland legislature acted wrongly, in my opinion.


  3. Gary,In a perfect world, I’d agree with you. As it is, government plays a role in our lives, like it or not.You want to ride a motorcycle in many states? You have to wear a helmet. Is that an undue burden? To many, it is. But head injuries are costly accidents, and in the end, we all pay for them in higher medical premiums. So states pass helmet laws, because helmets are proven to reduce head injuries in an accident. And I’m glad the state is looking out for my best interest with these kinds of laws. That’s what good government is supposed to do.I think Maryland’s decision is also an example of good government. It’s a moral thing to do. I’d prefer that such action not have to be taken, that WalMart would provide better healthcare without a government mandate. Walmart is looking out for itself, not its workers.By the way, your reply didn’t mention morality even once, Gary. You’re all about business and government interference, but nothing about the moral imperative of government expecting the best for its citizens.Howard


  4. Howard,With respect to the moral imperative, I did say, “The issue of whether a society ought to provide health care for its citizens is another issue. That would be an issue the government can decide how to handle – but it should not force businesses to do it.”You state that Walmart should provide better care and that it is the role of government to intercede and see that it does. I disagree. A corporation’s loyalty is to its shareholders. Its objective to maximize return to its shareholders. If it tries to maximize return to shareholders at the expense of its employees, it will lose employees, or it will get a bad reputation which could hurt business. That means, unless it treats its employees well, it will lose them, which will hurt income which will reduce return to shareholders. In that case the corporation is not performing its function of maximizing return to shareholders. Walmart must be treating its employees well enough, or they would not be working there.The fact is that Walmart spends 7% of its payroll on health benefits. The State of Maryland thought that should be 8%. In my view, that is not the business of the State of Delaware to determine that. That decision rests solely with Walmart, for the reasons I have stated above.I think, my friend, that we disagree fundamentally on what we expect the role of government to be.With respect to the moral issue, you say, “…what about government expecting the best for its citizens?” Well if the State of Maryland (or any government) feels that it has a moral imperative to improve the health benefits of its citizens then it can enact legislation to do so. It should not enact legislation forcing businesses to do so. You didn’t address my comment about what is the justification for singling out a particular company to enforce this provision? Oh, I know, the legislation provides that for-profit companies with 10,000 or more workers fall under this bill, but everyone of the legislators knew that only WalMart would fall into that category. Why is discrimination ok in this instance but not in others? Hmmm?


  5. Just so happens that something similar occured out here in the San Fernando Valley Northridge area. A direct quote from an email I received from Greig Smith, council district 12, regarding Wal-Mart withdrawing their plans to build a store near the Northridge Mall in spite of the fact that they had all of the permits and zoning permissions in place:“This situation was unique because the location already had all of the proper zoning requirements and entitlements for a big-box retail store. I negotiated a stringent mitigation package that added more parking spaces, decreased hours of operation, disallowed the sale of alcohol and firearms, created dedicated lanes in and out of the retail center, redesigned intersections, instituted an abandoned shopping cart retrieval plan, and established a traffic mitigation trust fund in partnership with the City’s Department of Transportation and the local Neighborhood Council.”…and he did it all for the people right? What I don’t get is why it is o.k. for a Lowe’s hardware to be built in the old Northrop lot but not for a Wal-Mart to go up? In addition Mr. Smith goes on to state that he will implement an economic alliance to make use of an abandoned Best store lot. Huh? It would seem that this man is quite short sighted, if at all sincere. Wouldn’t it be more advantageous to allow Wal-Mart, a huge job provider to build, drawing in more customers and potential consumer traffic which in turn could have caused other business interests to take a second look at the nearby Best lot that he seems so concerned about?What is the deal with Wal-Mart? Why are they the bad guys all of a sudden?


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