Walmart, Maryland, Healthcare

Full article here.

Maryland lawmakers yesterday approved legislation that would effectively require Wal-Mart to boost spending on health care, a direct legislative thrust against a corporate giant that is already on the defensive on many fronts nationwide…

…Lawmakers said they did not set out to single out Wal-Mart when they drafted a bill requiring organizations with more than 10,000 employees to spend at least 8 percent of their payroll on health benefits — or put the money directly into the state’s health program for the poor.

But as debate raged in the Senate yesterday, it was clear that the giant retailer, which has 15,000 workers in Maryland, was the only company that would be affected.

For an alternative view of how excessive regulation harms us all, see here.

Regulation routinely imposes harms that even the most intelligent reformer cannot foresee. Interventionists, as Ludwig von Mises argued in Critique of Interventionism, are “seriously deluded regarding the extent of the productivity loss caused by government interventions.”

…Take the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which Congress established in 1970. OSHA’s mandate was to assure for all workers safe and healthful working conditions “by encouraging employers and employees in their efforts to reduce the number of occupational safety and health hazards at their places of employment.”

Yet, unsurprisingly, OSHA’s 30-year record has been marred by failure. According to a regulatory analysis performed by the Cato Institute, while OSHA supporters cite evidence attesting to the agency’s effectiveness, “the vast majority of studies has found no statistically significant reduction in the rate of workplace fatalities or injuries due to OSHA.”[4] Interventionists are hard-pressed to maintain that OSHA meets even the minimum criterion for any government program: Does it have any desirable effect on the problem it is supposed to solve?

Worse, OSHA’s failure has been bad for business. A 1995 study by the Employment Policy Foundation found that 19 percent of the productivity slowdown in the 1970s was directly attributable to regulations imposed by OSHA and that nearly half of the slowdown in long-term productivity can be explained by rising government regulatory activity…

…the 69,684-page Federal Register. It is rife with rules and restrictions that alter the way entrepreneurs act in the marketplace. Its mandates are costly, redundant, and ultimately destructive of the market forces that create prosperity for everyone. Yet it continues to grow. But as history has amply shown, it is free markets, not government regulation, that make us better off. Would that the interventionists could learn this most simple of lessons.

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