I find it hard to believe that none of the liberal commentators breathlessly celebrating Wal-Mart's "capitulation" on national health care have even entertained the most parsimonious explanation: that Wal-Mart is in favor of this because it raises the barriers to entry in the retail market, and hammers Wal-Mart's competition. Yet somehow, this appears nowhere in any of the analysis. These are the explanations that they found more plausible:
1. Wal-Mart wants to change its image, which is better accomplished by securing a massive regulatory mandate than by, say, insuring more employees, or setting up a happy-face charitable foundation.
2. Wal-Mart wants to make its voice heard in the process, which is better accomplished this way than by paying lobbyists. Also, Wal-Mart is hoping that the federal government will deliver health-care cost control, which is something the company that gave us $4 prescription drugs couldn't hope to do on its own. Controlling health care costs is, of course, a big worry for a company that I'm told does not insure many of its employees.
3. Wal-Mart is flummoxed by unpredictable health care costs for all the workers it apparently isn't covering. Because if there's one thing that we've learned over the years, it's that when the government gets involved, health care costs become totally predictible.