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View Full Version : Maryland passes bill upon Wal-Mart



Musourenka
14th January 2006, 12:32 AM
Story is here (http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A41015-2005Apr10?language=printer)


Assembly Passes Bill Affecting Only Wal-Mart

Sunday, April 10, 2005; Page C05

The Maryland General Assembly gave final approval yesterday to a bill that in effect would force Wal-Mart to boost spending on employee health benefits or contribute money to the state's health care program for the poor.

The House of Delegates voted 82 to 48 to approve the same bill that the Senate approved last week. The House earlier had approved a slightly different version. The legislation now goes to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R), who has promised to veto the measure.

Ehrlich, speaking to reporters yesterday, criticized Democrats for pushing the bill, noting that Maryland had been ridiculed by Rush Limbaugh and other national commentators.

"They're trying to send a message to the business community that you truly are irrelevant," Ehrlich said.

Under the bill, companies in Maryland with more than 10,000 employees would be required to spend 8 percent of their payroll on employee health care or make a contribution to the state Medicaid program.

Wal-Mart, with about 15,000 Maryland workers, is one of four firms that qualifies and the only one that does not meet the 8 percent threshold. The company has said its spending is somewhere between 7 and 8 percent.

-- John Wagner

FYI, the veto was overridden.

Good god, things like that make me sick. So the solution to not liking a company's policies is to fine and tax them? Pathetic.

Gengachu
14th January 2006, 12:37 AM
Eh, I really hate Wal-Mart, what with their monopolies and edited CDs and all, but that's still kind of dumb.

-Brian

Magmar
14th January 2006, 10:15 AM
o_O Give me a break. What's with the most retarded laws being passed lately?

Jeff
14th January 2006, 07:49 PM
Our governor tried to veto it, I prayed to God that the General Assembly wouldn't overturn the veto, but it happened. I do believe that Maryland is now the only state in the US that puts health care restrictions on private companies like this. This is completely stupid.

phaedrus
14th January 2006, 09:25 PM
to tell you the truth, Walmart should really think about letting this one pass by.

taking economics right now, we've looked at wal-mart a couple times over the course of this semester. and to tell you the truth, Walmart has been cutting costs so much, they're handing the short hand of the stick to the employees. the buyers are obviously the winners because they get the low prices they want.

in reality, a bare amount working at walmart get paid above minimum wage, if even at minumum wage. in compensation, they could at least give some health care benefits, though universal health care can be achieved better in other ways (government-sponsored) [but for the time being it'll do]. true, Walmart may have to raise their prices somewhat due to upped costs because of the requirement, but i think more people will feel more "safe" knowing that the workers there are getting some kinds of benefits, if not a below-low wage.

this is what we call a social, financial, and moral "incentive" to change. Walmart has admitted in the past that they should start considering their workers in addition to their buyers. i have a quote somewhere in a book of mine, but i won't find it out of sheer laziness. finally, a government is doing something to aid the little people.

mr_pikachu
14th January 2006, 10:07 PM
Two things.

1. If Wal-Mart really was paying their store employees less than minimum wage, there would be lawsuits galore. Maybe they pay overseas workers less than minimum wage (which still isn't right, but it's legal). However, there are many companies that do that, as wrong as I think it to be.

2. I'm not exactly against laws like this, but I think it's stupid to create laws that attack one specific company. If they have that much of a problem with Wal-Mart's success, they can take legal action against it (as a "monopoly"), or they can start some sort of campaign against its ethical practices. But making laws that only hinder one company is pretty low. And blatant.

Roy Karrde
14th January 2006, 10:46 PM
That's fine phadeus, the Government can aid the little people instead of the little people standing up for themselves they can have the Government do it for them. The problem is where will the Maryland General Assembly be when Wal Mart finds it more cost effective to shut down some of the more lower producing stores in Maryland? Where will the Maryland General Assembly be when those hundreds if not thousands of workers that do get paid minimum wage so that they can try and support their wife or their sick mom, have to find new jobs? No company likes to give out any more money than needed for their employees, and when they have to they either raise prices or they start laying off so that they have less employees to cover. Stupid laws like this one passed in Maryland is the reason we have so much outsourcing in this country. Companies would rather get their help outside of the U.S. instead of inside becuase it is cheaper and laws like these are not bringing those jobs back.

The Government can not do everything for the people, the people have to do things for themselves. A good example of Government stepping into the buisness of companies is what is happening in France right now, almost if not already double digit unemployment, companies scared to hire employees becuase they cost so much and then it is almost impossible to fire them. You just cannot have Big Government stepping in and trying to take control of the buisness practices of companies becuase it will almost always lead to bad things for all sides.

Bulbasaur4
15th January 2006, 11:32 PM
Actually, this whole thing is rather pointless.

Wal-Mart's healthcare plan is paid for by the Employees themselves. They can chose to have the health care plan or not... but it all comes out of their paychecks. So by them saying, "you must use 8% of your money towards their health care plan" does nothing except cause Wal-Mart to cut wages or raise the price that the employees must pay for that extra health care boost.


I know this because I did an entire debate upon Wal-Mart and I worked there. ^^;

Musourenka
16th January 2006, 12:00 AM
Wal-Mart's healthcare plan is paid for by the Employees themselves. They can chose to have the health care plan or not... but it all comes out of their paychecks. So by them saying, "you must use 8% of your money towards their health care plan" does nothing except cause Wal-Mart to cut wages or raise the price that the employees must pay for that extra health care boost.

Indeed. This does nothing but hurt everyone who either works or shops at Wal-Mart, period.

However, my main beef is that it is morally wrong, 100% of the time, to use force to coerce someone or someones to pay you money. Most of us consider that armed robbery.

RedStarWarrior
16th January 2006, 06:26 PM
Heh...even if what Bulbasaur said wasn't true, you think Walmart would care about a little less profit? They hold several industries, such as the music industry, in the palm of their hand.

Jeff
18th January 2006, 02:21 PM
cause Wal-Mart to cut wages

Funny you should mention that since it seems the Assembly is taking care of that as well. They just overturned another veto, this time around the bill is for raising the minimum wage from the national minimum ($5.15, which we were at) to $6.15, it will take effect next month. I just hope that they realize that they are only shooting the state in the foot when businesses in Maryland start closing up.

mr_pikachu
18th January 2006, 02:43 PM
But since when do politicians care about the effects their policies actually have? The whole problem with modern politics is that those in power try to stay in power by making decisions that they think people will like on an emotional level, rather than decisions that actually help their society. It's the endless spiral of double-talk and disaster.

Heald
18th January 2006, 03:05 PM
However, my main beef is that it is morally wrong, 100% of the time, to use force to coerce someone or someones to pay you money. Most of us consider that armed robbery.
Care to explain this completely unfounded comment?

This isn't aimed directly at Wal-Mart, it is just that Wal-Mart is the only one affected. In a sense, it is merely ensuring equality so that Wal-Mart doesn't exploit the poor.

And they aren't being forced to pay. They could easily shut up shop and leave Maryland, or fire 5,000 of their workers. The other three firms that have over 10,000 workers seem to be able to pay up, and considering Wal-Mart is the only firm that isn't an oil or car firm in the top 10 MNCs, I think it can easily afford to spend a little on making sure people aren't getting sick.

Have you ever done economic theory? Healthcare is a merit good : a healthier workforce is a more active workforce and therefore will become more productive.

And believe it or not, it isn't robbery when it is legal. Those people? Voted in by the Maryland citizens. Just because a company is able to make an effective monopoly through exploiting the poor doesn't mean it should be all powerful.

phaedrus
18th January 2006, 06:23 PM
That's fine phadeus, the Government can aid the little people instead of the little people standing up for themselves they can have the Government do it for them. The problem is where will the Maryland General Assembly be when Wal Mart finds it more cost effective to shut down some of the more lower producing stores in Maryland? Where will the Maryland General Assembly be when those hundreds if not thousands of workers that do get paid minimum wage so that they can try and support their wife or their sick mom, have to find new jobs? No company likes to give out any more money than needed for their employees, and when they have to they either raise prices or they start laying off so that they have less employees to cover. Stupid laws like this one passed in Maryland is the reason we have so much outsourcing in this country. Companies would rather get their help outside of the U.S. instead of inside becuase it is cheaper and laws like these are not bringing those jobs back.

The Government can not do everything for the people, the people have to do things for themselves. A good example of Government stepping into the buisness of companies is what is happening in France right now, almost if not already double digit unemployment, companies scared to hire employees becuase they cost so much and then it is almost impossible to fire them. You just cannot have Big Government stepping in and trying to take control of the buisness practices of companies becuase it will almost always lead to bad things for all sides.


in reality, what has passed would be only considered temporary for things that we call "unemployment insurance" and universal, gov't-sponsored health care. obviously, when those kinds of things are put into place, we can start trimming what needs to be trimmed off, namely, this law.

i however believe wal-mart should start considering their workers more. this will at least give them an incentive to change. once they've changed enough to compensate their workers enough (who sometimes don't make enough to buy the goods sold at the walmart stores), then they can fight this law all they want. once they give incentives to work more/harder, they will see it pay off, trust me.

it really bugs me how they always focus on the scandals and not the really nice global things big-names like McDonalds and HP are doing to improve the world (involving the environment). it really just goes to show how the media is a sucker for scandals and not stories of people who are trying to do better for the world.

i for myself am becoming more conserative in terms of fiscal policy, only because of the principles of economics have more educated me. however, i do still maintain a sense of social obligations that resemble liberals. and to me, this situation is where the liberal kicks in. until the liberal is un-needed in this situation, it'll stay until the problem can allow the market to take over. however, in this case, the government needs to help with this progression, at the moment. walmart only covers 45% of their workers with health care, and until the federal government can shoulder that load, it'll have to go to the company and the taxpayer, for now.

Musourenka
19th January 2006, 08:45 PM
Care to explain this completely unfounded comment?

Alright, so it's actually extortion ("do this, or we'll force you to do this").


This isn't aimed directly at Wal-Mart, it is just that Wal-Mart is the only one affected. In a sense, it is merely ensuring equality so that Wal-Mart doesn't exploit the poor.

It is aimed at Wal-Mart. Why else would 10,000 employees and less than 8% to healthcare be the criteria for judging who should have to pay these fines? I simply don't buy the explanation that they arbitrarily decided on those quantities and Wal-Mart coincidentally happened to be the only business to fall in that criteria.


And they aren't being forced to pay. They could easily shut up shop and leave Maryland, or fire 5,000 of their workers. The other three firms that have over 10,000 workers seem to be able to pay up, and considering Wal-Mart is the only firm that isn't an oil or car firm in the top 10 MNCs, I think it can easily afford to spend a little on making sure people aren't getting sick.

If they can pack up and leave in response to the law, how does that benefit the poor? Additionally, having the money to pay does not equal being morally obliged to pay.


Have you ever done economic theory? Healthcare is a merit good : a healthier workforce is a more active workforce and therefore will become more productive.

Merit good theory is idiotic -- underprovided according to whom? Also, you have a false assumption that more money going to one's healthcare automatically equates to a healthier person.


And believe it or not, it isn't robbery when it is legal. Those people? Voted in by the Maryland citizens.

Which is precisely why I hardly ever argue on terms of laws, and why I argue instead on ethics. The fallacious equation of law and justice is so common, it's mind-boggling.


Just because a company is able to make an effective monopoly through exploiting the poor doesn't mean it should be all powerful.

So if we don't like something, we should go to the government to do something about it?

Razola
19th January 2006, 11:07 PM
You are not supposed to make a living off being the guy who rings up CDs. You do that job, get promoted, and make more cash from there. Or you live a shitty life for a few years, put yourself through some schooling, and get a better job from there. Either way, gasp, you are going to have to work for it. Not cry to the government because you are a lazy shit.

If the government really wanted to bag Wal-Mart, start takingthem to charge over the numerous enviromental violations and corner-cutting. Not petty shit like this.

Heald
20th January 2006, 12:17 PM
Alright, so it's actually extortion ("do this, or we'll force you to do this").No, Walmart can easily just leave Maryland. They can either obey the law or get out.
It is aimed at Wal-Mart. Why else would 10,000 employees and less than 8% to healthcare be the criteria for judging who should have to pay these fines? I simply don't buy the explanation that they arbitrarily decided on those quantities and Wal-Mart coincidentally happened to be the only business to fall in that criteria.So what? Unless it actually says 'Wal-Mart' in the Bill, it is not exclusive to Wal-Mart.
If they can pack up and leave in response to the law, how does that benefit the poor? Additionally, having the money to pay does not equal being morally obliged to pay.I'm not saying packing up and leaving will help the poor, I'm saying that Wal-Mart isn't being forced to stay open in Maryland. If they threatened to leave and leave 15,000 unemployed, the Maryland Government would probably bow down to Wal-Mart.

Also, they may not be morally obliged to pay, so yeah, lets leave desperately poor people without adequate healthcare. It is nice, isn't it, having an internet connection, and the time to talk about trivial issues such as this, and then you can go play on your little game boys and go out and have fun. Believe it or not, people are being exploited, but as long as you have a good life, that's okay? You've probably been given a head-start in life by your parents. These people have nothing. Until you actually have experienced how desperately poor and exploited these people are, you should really stop judging them. I love how you wannabe Hiltons have the gall to call these people lazy.
Merit good theory is idiotic -- underprovided according to whom? Also, you have a false assumption that more money going to one's healthcare automatically equates to a healthier person.Underprovided according to the Maryland government, apparently. Also, you have a false assumption that I assumed that more money means a healthier person. What I actually meant was that if someone has adequate healthcare, when they fall ill, they will have the money to afford treatment so that they are back to work quicker than under their previous sweat-shop healthplan.
Which is precisely why I hardly ever argue on terms of laws, and why I argue instead on ethics. The fallacious equation of law and justice is so common, it's mind-boggling.This is completely hypocritical. You are arguing on ethics, yet you argued that I was wrong in saying that because it is ethical to ensure that poor people have adequate healthcare, we should have laws to ensure the poor aren't left without adequate healthcare.
So if we don't like something, we should go to the government to do something about it?You don't like hurricanes or people running around shooting guns at your house, do you? Who provided relief for the hurricanes? Who provides the police to make sure gunmen don't run amock? The government. Guess why the government is there? To right society's inherent wrongs. Just because Wal-Mart commits white-collar crimes doesn't mean they're any better than blue-collar crimes.

Also, Raz, if the government went after Wal-Mart on environmental issues, thye wouldn't have a leg to stand on, considering the department of energy encourages some of the most polluting methods of energy production on the planet.

PNT510
28th January 2006, 04:53 AM
You are not supposed to make a living off being the guy who rings up CDs. You do that job, get promoted, and make more cash from there. Or you live a shitty life for a few years, put yourself through some schooling, and get a better job from there. Either way, gasp, you are going to have to work for it. Not cry to the government because you are a lazy shit.

[b]You do know that there are only so many jobs to go around? Not everyone can get promoted, in the end there are only so many good jobs around and some people will be stuck with crap. Hell, some people aren't even smart enough or skilled enough to get good jobs, but that doesn't mean they should just be walked all over.

Razola
9th February 2006, 02:57 AM
[b]You do know that there are only so many jobs to go around? Not everyone can get promoted, in the end there are only so many good jobs around and some people will be stuck with crap. Hell, some people aren't even smart enough or skilled enough to get good jobs, but that doesn't mean they should just be walked all over.
You are right, there are only so many jobs to go around. You have a right to live in a decent place and eat alright. There are MORE than enough jobs to satisfy such a requirement.

If you want nice things like a family or fancy house, you're going to have to work for them. Dog eat dog.

You are right, they shouldn't be walked over, but some of these people just want more for doing less. You don't get the house with white picket fence and two cars by being a bag boy or cashier.

Razola
9th February 2006, 02:58 AM
Also, Raz, if the government went after Wal-Mart on environmental issues, thye wouldn't have a leg to stand on, considering the department of energy encourages some of the most polluting methods of energy production on the planet.
The system works...to protect itself.

Heald
9th February 2006, 12:28 PM
I'm sort of straddling the fence now because on one hand we need to protect the most vulnerable members of the labour force from exploitation but on the other hand we don't want to instill laziness into society. Enterprise and entrepeneurial skills ought to be sown into people's minds. If people can't get a job, just come up with their own business. Some of the greatest businesses in the world were once just one guy or a few guys with a good idea trying to make a decent buck.

Razola
12th February 2006, 03:20 AM
Neccessity is the mother of invention. If you are making a very good living at the bottom of the ladder, you have no reason to progress. And society suffers from it.

I don't want people to be suffering. But I also don't hink you should be demanding to be able to support two kids on a Wal-Mart cashier's wages. If you ended up in a situation that like, fine. Shit happens and that's where Welfare is actually useful. But otherwise, you are going to have to put your desires off to the side for a while and work your way up the ladder.

phaedrus
14th February 2006, 08:38 PM
[b]You do know that there are only so many jobs to go around? Not everyone can get promoted, in the end there are only so many good jobs around and some people will be stuck with crap. Hell, some people aren't even smart enough or skilled enough to get good jobs, but that doesn't mean they should just be walked all over.


the unemployment rate came back recently at 4.7% compared to the predicted 4.9%. we're pretty healthy as a country in fact, as most of that 4.7% is frictional unemployment and will be converted into other types of labor through education to be applied elsewhere. and as there will be more technological advances, caused by necessity as implied by others here, there will be more jobs to accompany those. you act like the labor pool is finite. true, it is finite considering everything in the current point in time, like now, but you also have to consider the long run. in the long run, everything is elastic, including the number of jobs, labor, etc.