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Employer Mandates Bring Out The Bootleggers and Baptists

July 10, 2009

 

Actor playing John The Baptist. Courtesy of History Comes Alive

Actor playing John The Baptist. Courtesy of History Comes Alive


Brad Taylor has an excellent post at the FR33 Agents Network on how the well-intentioned often find themselves in league with extremely self-interested unions, professions, corporations, and other distributional coalitions. (A distributional coalition is a group that spends a large amount of time, energy and money on efforts to snag a larger slice of the pie for themselves, rather using those same resources on creating more pie for everyone else.) In this case, it’s the lobby for employer health insurance mandates, where the part of baptist is being played by the Center for American Progress, and the role of the bootlegger is filled by none other than Wal-Mart (the understudy is the Service Employers International Union).

Taylor nails it: 

 

It’s fairly obvious why a progressive think tank and a union would support legislation requiring businesses to provide health insurance coverage to all employees. The statist left see the uninsured as a problem and, as with any problem, they see government as the solution. Mandates would also materially benefit union-members by artificially inflating the benefits received by current employees. In the short run, this increases the wellbeing of employed workers while increasing the cost of hiring new workers – harming jobseekers.

 

Inspiration for Wal-Mart?

Inspiration for Wal-Mart?

The benefit Wal-Mart gets from employer mandates is less obvious. After all, this sort of regulation increases its costs of doing business. Wal-Mart is aware that employer mandates will not affect all businesses equally, though, and that small employers will be hit especially hard. Many small Mom-and-Pop businesses simply don’t have the resources to implement employee insurance plans, and will be forced out of business. 

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