Well It Didn’t Take Long

Less than a month ago the anti Wal Mart crowd, fueled by the labor unions, pushed through a bill that would require businesses in Maryland with more than 10,000 employees to provide at least 8% of salary in health care benefits or they would have to pay the balance to the state. This was called the Wal Mart Bill because Wal Mart is the only employer in Maryland with more than 10,000 workers. The Governor of Maryland vetoed the bill but that was over ridden by the Democratic majority in the state legislature.

I made a few predictions at that time. I said that other states would soon look at this as another source of revenue. Lo and behold other states are investigating this approach and by some strange twist of fate, Wal Mart is the largest employer in those states. At the time all the labor unions were happy because their goal is to unionize Wal Mart so we can have another group of over paid workers earning a fortune for doing practically nothing. The unions want to do for Wal Mart what they have done for American automobile manufacturers (Ford comes immediately to mind). Somehow, George Bush will be blamed for all the lost jobs.

One interesting thing that I pointed out was that once politicians get a foot in the door in any scheme to raise money (like taxes) they do not stop. I predicted that they would extend the bill to include businesses that employ fewer than 10,000 employees. Well, those businesses that were laughing at Wal Mart last month are now going to be in the same boat. In record time for vultures, the Maryland Assembly has introduced legislation that would require businesses with fewer than 10,000 employees to pay 4.5% of salary in health coverage or pay the difference to the state. I think Wal Mart is in a better position to absorb the costs than some small businesses that will surely go away. Who is laughing now.

If you let politicians take money that does not belong to them they will keep taking it. They are like the schoolyard bully who extorts lunch money every day. This bill is now like a cancer that will continue to grow unabated and will cause higher prices and fewer jobs. I am willing to bet that soon, those same businesses who pushed for the Wal Mart Bill, will be lobbying against this one.

Wal Mart can do a few things to cut this off at the knees. They can fire enough employees so they are down to fewer than 10,000. Since they pay more than 4.5% they will not be affected by the new law. They could keep everyone on and lower their wages or increase the employee’s share of the health care coverage. If their payroll is lower, they will have an easier time hitting 8%. These would be the unintended consequences that politicians never think about because the dollar signs in their eyes block their vision.

Good luck little businesses. If you go belly up you will have no one to blame but yourselves. You fought to give them the in and now they are going to use it against you. Nice job, you should have listened to the Dog.

Source: WBAL (page 45)



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