From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
The Wal-Mart CEO's internal blog
February 17, 2006 11:13 AM
Lee Scott has an internal company blog. Someone leaked it to Wal-Mart Watch and now it's in the New York Times. Here are some snippets.
A store manager asked him why "the largest company on the planet cannot offer some type of medical retirement benefits?"
Quite honestly, this environment isn't for everyone. There are people who would say, "I'm sorry, but you should take the risk and take billions of dollars out of earnings and put this in retiree health benefits and let's see what happens to the company." If you feel that way, then you as a manager should look for a company where you can do those kinds of things.
This jab at the Bush administration is beautifully ironic:
"Wal-Mart's focus has been on lower income and lower-middle income consumers. In the last four years or so, with the price of fuel being what it is, that customer has had the most difficult time. The upper-end customer got a tremendous number of tax breaks about four years ago. They have been doing very well in this economy."
The best part though? The stick of negative publicity has changed his behavior:
If you choose to do the wrong thing: if you choose to dispose of oil the wrong way, if you choose to take a shortcut on payroll, if you choose to take a shortcut on a raise for someone -- you hurt this company. And it's not unlikely in today's environment that your shortcut is going to end up on the front page of the newspaper. It's not fair to the rest of us when you do that.
You can get the full text. 2004
The Wal-Mart CEO's internal blog
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Read the 43 comments.
In his response to the store manager who asked about retiree health benefits, Mr. Scott wrote: "Quite honestly, this environment isn't for everyone. There are people who would say, 'I'm sorry, but you should take the risk and take billions of dollars out of earnings and put this in retiree health benefits and let's see what happens to the company.' If you feel that way, then you as a manager should look for a company where you can do those kinds of things."
Sorry, that doesn't strike me as either hostile or malicious, unless you want to put it into the "truth hurts" category.
Fri Feb 17 2006 1:34 PM
The quote about health care benefits does help make the case that mandated health care for everyone is the way to go. Until that happens, the likes of Wal-mart will be in a minimum compliance mode.
That portends minimal to little health benefits for a lot of working poor folks who work at Wal-mart. It also means public assistance being tapped by Wal-mart employees.
Two possible and necessary solutions: 1) Regulate corporate largesse so that sheer power doesn't squash the little guy. 2) level the competitive playing field by providing universal health care, thereby getting large and small business out of the health care providing business.
Fri Feb 17 2006 2:46 PM
i'm a big proponent of #2 for exactly the reason you stated, anon.
Fri Feb 17 2006 3:33 PM
Tom from Madison:
The above "Anonymous" is mine.
Fri Feb 17 2006 4:29 PM
"2) level the competitive playing field by providing universal health care, thereby getting large and small business out of the health care providing business."
"Level playing field?" "Getting business out of health care?"
I love the way the left wraps its agenda in American-sounding language. Makes it sound like you're just trying to help the economy instead of putting a bullet into it.
It must have taken you a long time to come up with an argument for "universal healthcare" that didn't sound like it was translated directly from Russian.
Sat Feb 18 2006 9:03 AM
Tom from Madison:
you're in denial about what works in the rest of the world. We spend twice what Western Europe spends on health care, yet we don't live as long and our kids are twice as likely to die in the first year of life.
Every employer in the US is in the business of providing health care. Add to this the number of insurance plans out there--and the fact that a legion of private bureaucrats are taking a cut just ot administer all these different plans. Add to this a combination of state, federal, and local health care programs. This is the healthcare system that we have in the US. Is it suprising to anyone that it is ridiculously inefficient?
Our healthcare "system" is being out competed by European and Canadian style programs--with differential results for different income classes. If you are among the very richest, you do best in the US. For the rest of the people you do much worse. 45 million Americans don't have health insurance at all.
Places like Wal-mart are exploiting their size. What if the US government was actually representing the best interest of the people. Bush could have done it with the "prescription drug benefit." Guess what? He explicitly forbade the gov't from negotiating lower drug prices for senior citizens.
The problem is our government is not responsive to the needs of our own citizenry the way European governments are responsive to theirs. It it no coincidence that we are alone in trying to deliver health care in this pseudo private scheme. It's broken badly and needs to be fixed. There are many examples around of us of systems working better.
Sat Feb 18 2006 10:30 AM
"We spend twice what Western Europe spends on health care"
Bullshit. That's an apples-to-oranges comparison. It's against the law to provide European levels of care in the US. An American doctor who provided European medical care would get his pants sued off. Our system requires more tests, more procedures, and more liability protection.
You can't have all that AND universal accessibility. The real denial is the people who think they're going to combine European healthcare costs with American quality. Not gonna happen.
"45 million Americans don't have health insurance at all."
Save that shit for liberals who don't know better. Here's an interesting breakdown from Larry Elder:
"...the term 'American' should be taken with a grain of salt. For, out of the 43 million, this includes approximately 10 million people here illegally. Furthermore, the 43 million includes a large number of young, healthy Americans who decided to keep the money otherwise spent on premiums. And of that 43 million...approximately 20 million go without health-care insurance for four months or less. So when you get down to it, the hard-core number of Americans without health-care insurance is probably 10 to 15 million Americans, and out of a population of nearly 280 million, do we really want to call this a crisis?"
Too bad you morons can't be half as rational as that.
"The problem is our government is not responsive to the needs of our own citizenry the way European governments are responsive to theirs."
Yeah, well there's not much in the Constitution about meeting our "needs." Needs weren't the same priority for Jefferson and Madison that they were for Marx.
Sat Feb 18 2006 1:31 PM
It's a pity you can't make your points without resorting to name calling. I'll continue to keep things civil.
I've shown you a what works compared to what doesn't comparison. I'm suggesting we fix what we have now to make it work--changin laws where necessary. I'm not sure what you're suggesting.
You're also wrong about the constitution. The pre-amble to the constitution states:
"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
A lot of republicans ignore the words "promote the general welfare". Guess what? That's all about meeting needs. Having a third world-like infant mortality rate for significant portions of our population doesn't strike me as agreeing the the "establish justice" part either.
Your figures are as foolish as your arguments. We clearly have a health care crisis in this country. The question is what to do about it.
...Now consider what kind of small business renaissance would come about if small business didn't have to worry about providing health care to workers! I'm thinking we might see quite a bit of hiring and expansion in the small and micro cap sectors of the economy. We'd likely see a surge in entrepreneurial activity as well--new business start-ups, the re-birth of the American dream, and the like.
Who's really the pessimist here?
Sat Feb 18 2006 3:04 PM
Tom from Madison:
The last post is mine.
Sat Feb 18 2006 3:05 PM
"It's a pity you can't make your points without resorting to name calling. I'll continue to keep things civil."
When you really want to be civil you'll stop advocating redistribution. Till then, expect to be treated like the common thief that you are.
"I've shown you a what works compared to what doesn't comparison."
No, you haven't. You've considered two systems with different costs and benefits. You exaggerate the costs of one system and the benefits of the other. The underlying economics do not change. There is no such thing as a free lunch.
"I'm suggesting we fix what we have now to make it work--changin laws where necessary. I'm not sure what you're suggesting."
I'm suggesting we take the profit out of litigation, as they've done in your utopian Europe. I'm suggesting we let individuals make their own decisions about their healthcare instead of Congress and its cronies in the HMOs. I'm suggesting we start to recognize that the HMO problem is not caused by insurance companies, but rather by a Congress which has effectively outlawed competing plans. I'm suggesting that private individuals who buy insurance deserve equal protection under the law, and shouldn't have to pay a discriminatory tax because they don't purchase their healthcare through their employer.
I'm suggesting the American public get a clue about the difference between having "health insurance" and being totally absolved of responsibility for one's own health care costs. Doctors are highly educated professionals -- if you need one, you should be paying for him yourself. The third-party payment system is economically unsound.
Our healthcare is plagued by too much government and not enough free market. I'm suggesting less government. And here you fools are, begging for more. Well, fuck you. I'm going to challenge your socialist bullshit at every turn.
"You're also wrong about the constitution. The pre-amble to the constitution..."
Liberal horseshit. The preamble reflects the results expected from the Constitution, not specific tasking for the fed. If it did, there'd also be a "Department of Domestic Tranquility." I haven't heard of that department -- have you? And if you actually read it sometime you'd realize that phrase "the general welfare" originated in a context that prohibited direct taxation, and that responsibility for healthcare, not being explicitly enumerated, falls upon society and the states.
"A lot of republicans ignore the words "promote the general welfare"."
"Promoting the general welfare" mandates laws that improve everyone's situation: as in "a rising tide lifts all boats." It's not about compromising one person's welfare for the benefit of another.
"Having a third world-like infant mortality rate for significant portions of our population doesn't strike me as agreeing the the "establish justice" part either."
I agree we should punish people for having kids they can't support. Bring on the justice.
"Your figures are as foolish as your arguments."
That's a lot easier to say than actually refuting them, isn't it?
"We clearly have a health care crisis in this country."
There's nothing "clear" about it. I just offered you some clarity and you totally ignored it, you mindless myrmidon. I gave you figures and instead of challenging them you just called them foolish. The only thing that's "clear" is that you want people to believe there's a healthcare crisis. That we might actually have one is a lot less "clear."
"...Now consider what kind of small business renaissance would come about if small business didn't have to worry about providing health care to workers!"
What a bunch of fascist bullshit. How come everything's always got to be the employer's problem? Give me a break. Try not to be so intellectually dishonest, will you? Grow some brain cells and see if you can come back here and explain how healthcare ever became a function of employment, moron.
You are part of the problem. Try to remember when this used to be a free country.
Sat Feb 18 2006 9:29 PM
Tom from Madison:
The only thing you've made clear is your own ignorance, greed, and lack of compassion.
Common decency and a collective sense of morality keeps us from letting the "market" decide who lives and dies. That's a very good thing. Very few Americans are so doctrinaire as to want to punish children for the poverty of their parents. We are indeed a great people, although recently led astray by the current administration.
We are a "civilized" society. As such, we deliberately set a standard below which none of us is allowed to fall. That too is a very good thing.
What you are advocating is a dictatorship of the wealthy. Being subservient to corporate power isn't freedom, it's economic slavery.
Capitalism is a wonderful economic engine--but it needs to be regulated to serve the majority of the people. Unfettered capitalism has given us slavery, the robber barons, and the great depression. Those days were the bad old days.
A certain amount of redistribution of wealth is a very good thing--especially when it creates opportunity. Giving education and health care to those who would be neglected by the "free" market makes us all better off. That's not fascism, it's the American dream--for real!
Sun Feb 19 2006 12:24 AM
"The only thing you've made clear is your own ignorance, greed, and lack of compassion."
I find few things more amusing than a liberal calling someone else ignorant, greedy or lacking compassion. The "compassion" of leftists has killed more people -- and caused more suffering -- in the last century than any other human force. You make me sick.
"Common decency and a collective sense of morality keeps us from letting the "market" decide who lives and dies."
You're full of shit. Every socialized medical system in the world has criteria to determine who will be treated and who will not. Under socialized medicine, a bureaucrat will refer to a chart in a book and tell you that Jim Gilliam can't have any more lungs. Apparently that's the way you'd prefer to decide who lives and who dies. Yeah, that's really superior.
"Very few Americans are so doctrinaire as to want to punish children for the poverty of their parents."
Stop right where you are. Go back and show me where I ever said we should punish the children. You're fucking lying. Counter the argument that was presented, or give up. But don't put words in my mouth, asshole. If we have a problem with people who can't provide for their children, then those people need to be dealt with. Do you have a problem with that?
"As such, we deliberately set a standard below which none of us is allowed to fall."
Yeah, right, like the "minimum skills law," and the "teacher accountability act." Yeah, you're a real principled lot. What a bunch of pawns.
"What you are advocating is a dictatorship of the wealthy. Being subservient to corporate power isn't freedom, it's economic slavery."
Zero-sum-game bullshit. I can't list all the stupid fallacies a person would have to believe for that statement to ring true. Rich people are not trying to keep everyone else poor. Employers are more than willing to pay higher wages to more productive workers. Corporations aren't trying to "rule" anybody. One man's wealth does not depend on another man's poverty. Everyone is free to develop their own skills and find another job.
"Capitalism is a wonderful economic engine--but it needs to be regulated to serve the majority of the people."
Excellent spelling. Now if you only understood it, too.
"Unfettered capitalism has given us slavery, the robber barons, and the great depression."
Those are problems of government, not capitalism. When politicians fuck up the laws for business interests, don't go blaming it on capitalism. It makes you look stupid. The businessmen aren't the ones serving under an oath.
"Those days were the bad old days."
In fact, most of American history falls under the heading of "the bad old days" to the left. Doesn't that tell you anything???
"A certain amount of redistribution of wealth is a very good thing--especially when it creates opportunity. Giving education and health care to those who would be neglected by the "free" market makes us all better off."
The grubby pawprints of government are all over our healthcare "problem." We have a system which has proven effective in meeting our healthcare needs in the past. If something has changed to affect accessibility, then we should fix the problem instead of simply subsidizing it. Are you really too stupid to see this???
"That's not fascism"
You're changing the subject, which I suspected you would do. I'm asking you again: what's the rationalization that ties someone's healthcare to his job? Where's the added value? How about answering the fucking question this time, huh?
Sun Feb 19 2006 3:36 AM
Tom from Madison:
You keep missing my point. My position is there should be no relationship between employment and healthcare. Everyone needs health care. Not everyone works.
There wouldn't be a relationship between employment and health care if we had universal health care.
There are negative consequences for workers and small businesses that wouldn't exist if we had the kind of health care system that exists in Europe or Canada. Longevity is higher and infant mortality is lower where universal care exists. What if the President challenged the nation to be first in the world in having the lowest infant mortality? I'd like to see a national dialog about how we could make that happen.
Under the current situation in the US, children of uninsured and under-insured parents go without adequate health care through no fault of their own. Not so in western Europe. Our "compassionate conservatism" has turned a blind eye to this situation. I'm calling it a crisis. We are having a hard time competing with CUBA in terms of infant mortality. Doesn't that tell you something is wrong?
Businesses in the US bear the burden of providing health benefits to their workers. They wouldn't if we had universal care. As I said befor, this would stimulate the best kind of grass-roots capitalism--small entrepreneurial-type growth.
Despite your claims to the contrary, the current Washington regime favors corporate power. Individuals are losing control as more and more power gets concentrated in fewer corporate hands. That's a bad road to go down. We have corruption and influence pedaling as never before. Anti-trust laws are a very good thing. Republicans used to embrace that idea. Where are they now?
Sun Feb 19 2006 11:10 AM
"You keep missing my point. My position is there should be no relationship between employment and healthcare. Everyone needs health care. Not everyone works."
Try and reconcile that rare moment of clarity against your ridiculous belief that Walmart -- or any employer, for that matter -- is responsible for its employees' healthcare. It is you who is missing his own points here.
"There wouldn't be a relationship between employment and health care if we had universal health care."
That statement is a logic error. One is not conditional upon the other. We can in fact eliminate the relationship between employers and healthcare without implementing universal healthcare. No such dependency exists. Try not to be so fucking stupid.
"Longevity is higher and infant mortality is lower where universal care exists."
More logic errors. Longevity/infant mortality are related to accessibility. Whether that access comes from a free market solution or socialism is completely irrelevant. Try not to be so fucking stupid.
"children of uninsured and under-insured parents go without adequate health care through no fault of their own."
That's a matter of parenting. Anytime you want to start holding those kids' parents responsible, you can count me in. But I won't hold my breath.
"We are having a hard time competing with CUBA in terms of infant mortality. Doesn't that tell you something is wrong?"
Yes, it tells me you liberals are too stupid to read:
"in the United States if an infant is born weighing only 400 grams and not breathing, a doctor will likely spend lot of time and money trying to revive that infant. If the infant does not survive -- and the mortality rate for such infants is in excess of 50 percent -- that sequence of events will be recorded as a live birth and then a death.
In many countries, however, (including many European countries) such severe medical intervention would not be attempted and, moreover, regardless of whether or not it was, this would be recorded as a fetal death rather than a live birth. That unfortunate infant would never show up in infant mortality statistics."
The rest of your anti-corporate rant is similarly worthless bullshit.
Sun Feb 19 2006 2:36 PM
Tom from Madison:
I don't regard Brian Carnell as a credible source. Apparently the 2 of you share a vendetta against all things liberal--i.e. if it's in Salon you automatically don't believe it.
That bias is apparent in the "source" you cited. Mr Carnell simply asserts a conclusion about which births are counted in his website. Yet he offers no specific references to backup his conclusions. Not even he is claiming that survival chances of an infant in the US in the first year of life are close to first in the world.
Despite your neocon handwaving, I don't hear you joining my call to make lower infant mortality a national goal. Wouldn't you agree that the President would do well to challenge the nation to be first in this area? As I stated earlier, we can and should go beyond that and guarantee access to health care for every US citizen.
Bottom line: the US can afford to GIVE access to quality health care to everyone and simultaneously get employers out of the business of providing it. That would be a fine national goal as well. I know small business owners who would love to see this happen.
Sun Feb 19 2006 3:42 PM
Sorry, Carnell's analysis is consistent with the CDC observations which have linked the 2002 jump in infant mortality with a spike in very low birth weights.
"I don't hear you joining my call to make lower infant mortality a national goal."
That's because, short of getting a lobotomy, I don't share your belief that US infant mortality is high.
Feel free to go to Cuba if you think it's better. It's a workers' paradise, you know.
In the meantime, get used to paying for your own fucking healthcare, thief.
Sun Feb 19 2006 5:50 PM
Tom from Madison:
My personal health care is fine. I"m concerned about the least of our brethren--those who don't have access. This is not a frequently heard concern from the neocon camp.
I am also fortunate to live in Wisconsin where we have a safety net health insurance program known as Badger care. I have never needed these funds, but I'm glad that they are available to those folks who are truly needy. The tax dollars I pay for Badger care are not thievery. They are the cost of living in a civilized society.
However, I would use the word "Thief" to refer to Wal-mart. Here's an article from a local paper:
"Big companies fill BadgerCare rolls
More than 40% who get aid are employed by Wal-Mart
By STACY FORSTER
Madison - Wisconsin's tax-supported health care program for the working poor spends millions of dollars each year covering the health costs of employees of some of the state's largest companies, such as Wal-Mart and Aurora Health Care. ..."
Wal-Mart is costing Wisconsin residents big bucks. Moreover they are keeping other needy folks from getting the help they need by using up limited funds on their workers. This is irresponsible corporate citizenship.
Until there is national health coverage, some special legislation may be in order to compel responsible corporate behavior on their part.
Sun Feb 19 2006 6:47 PM
Get some, Tom. Way to prove who's got the class here.
This free market dry humper has completely exposed himself as a pathetically rude idealogue that argues theory as if it's an absolute. That's the only "logic error" here. Reasonable minds disagree, and can graciously concede disagreement, about this stuff. Anyone that argues their theoretical position with such certainty and bombast is not only pulling the wool over their own eyes, but shows how irrational and stolid their thinking is.
Sun Feb 19 2006 7:13 PM
"Wisconsin's tax-supported health care program for the working poor..."
Wasn't that why this program was started? To provide health care to those who are not covered by health insurance at their jobs?
And from the article, it seems that a good portion of those elgible for this pay,
"...a premium of about 5% of their income for BadgerCare coverage."
So it doesn't sound like it's a totally-free-ride-on-the-taxpayers'-backs.
Sounds to me like these folks are basically purchasing their (subsidized) healthcare coverage from the state instead of their employer until such time as they CAN purchase it (un-subsidized) through their employer.
Again...isn't this what the program was designed to do?
Mon Feb 20 2006 8:54 AM
Tom from Madison:
Wal-Mart is using the program to keep it's labor costs down. This amounts to a transfer from Wisconsin taxpayers to Wal-Mart.
Wal-Mart can afford to give a much higher level of benefits to it's workers but doesn't do it. Workers have been stymied from organizing by Wal-Mart, so they accept low-wage, low benefit jobs.
Because funds are limited, other low-wage, low benefit workers are locked out of accessing Badger Care.
It's a very effective strategy for maximizing Wal-Mart profits, but a bad deal for Wisconsin taxpayers and low-wage workers. This program has the further negative effect of subsidizing Wal-Mart at the expense of their competitors who are responsible corporate citizens.
Bottom-line: the program wasn't designed as corporate welfare for Wal-Mart. Some legislative tweaking can and should tighten this up!
Mon Feb 20 2006 10:39 AM
Tom from Madison:
thanks for the kind words.
Progressives are offering a much brighter future than the corporate greed-dominated dung heap offered by conservative idealogs.
Despite their claims, they are not supporting "free" markets. Instead they are offering dominion over little people by wealthy interests.
Recent history has shown what the sale of influence has wrought. After billions wasted in Iraqi profiteering and designer wars that benefit only their sponsors, the progressive alternative is looking pretty attractive.
I"m hopeful that Dems like Feingold, Obama and enlightened Republican moderates like Snowe and Specter can change business as usual in Washington. It seems there are already cracks forming in the edifice.
Mon Feb 20 2006 10:49 AM
"In the meantime, get used to paying for your own fucking healthcare, thief."
Only real thief i know of is the Dept. of Defence, Pentagon and the military industrial complex.
If universal healthcare is such a ghastly thing, what about universal imperialism?
(hate to go so way off topic but his verbal tirade invited this)
Mon Feb 20 2006 1:25 PM
Mike of the Great White North:
dang... last one was mine.
Mon Feb 20 2006 1:28 PM
"Wal-Mart is using the program to keep it's labor costs down."
So is Wal-Mart doing anything different in Wisconsin than it's doing in other states?
This article states that about 40% of the BadgerCare-recipients-who-work-for-large-corporations are Wal-Mart employees yet it makes no mention of the total number of Wisconsinites who are covered by BadgerCare.
What about all those other thousands NOT employed by one of these 10 companies?
Will you be determining for them too, that the level of health care benefits offered by their employer isn't quite up to snuff, and under penalty of law FORCE them to offer insurance that meets your criteria?
After all, you have already determined that,"...Wal-Mart can afford to give a much higher level of benefits..." so what about all the OTHER employers in Wisconsin?
Mon Feb 20 2006 2:03 PM
Tom from Madison:
personally I won't be doing the checking on down the list, but thanks for a fine suggestion! I'd like to see someone in the Wisconsin Dept of Health and Family services see which other companies are abusing Badger Care.
...Wal-Mart does whatever it can to manipulate state laws in their favor. They probably do that in all 50 states. When Wal-Mart or others design their benefit packages around loopholes in our public assistance laws, it's our obligation to close the loopholes ASAP.
Simply publicizing what's going on has Wal-Mart on the defensive. I'm glad to see the total cost of Wal-Mart being exposed. There are hidden costs to be paid for every day low prices. Always.
Mon Feb 20 2006 4:06 PM
"However, I would use the word "Thief" to refer to Wal-mart."
That's because you're too fucking stupid to remember that you already agreed Walmart has no responsibility for those people's healthcare. Typical.
"Progressives are offering a much brighter future"
Uh, no. Actually, they're trying to make someone else provide the brighter futures. That's how it always is with you thieving liberals: patting yourselves on the back for stealing things you'd never pay for on your own. There's something to be proud of.
There's nobody working at Walmart who isn't getting exactly the deal they contracted for.
You meddling pukes really detest freedom, don't you? Seems nothing pisses you morons off worse than an agreement that was reached voluntarily.
You guys really should go to Cuba. All I ever hear from you idiots is how much better it is down there. Of course none of you really believes it enough to actually go there. Unprincipled useful idiots.
Mon Feb 20 2006 11:45 PM
Tom from Madison:
as is your typical practice, you're misrepresenting me -- again.
Many of the current problems in the US [lack of access, inefficiencies and inequalities] in the way health care is administered would go away if we had a national health care system. Unfortuately we don't have it.
In the mean time, the likes of Wal-Mart hiring lots of part-time and seasonal workers without health care benefits -- benefites Wal-mart could easily afford to pay. This small situation can be ameliorated through regulation until we get the universal health plan that makes it no longer necessary.
Tue Feb 21 2006 9:22 AM
Tom from Madison:
Your comments on Cuba are equally misrepresentative. Nobody here would rather live in Cuba. However they have done a lot with a very little. Cubans certainly get much better health care than Haitians. Yes, Castro is a repressive dictator, but why is the US continuing to punish the Cuban people. This policy is cruel and inhumane.
Tue Feb 21 2006 9:27 AM
Tom from Madison:
The subject of meddling is where the self-righteous greed of the neocon mindset is really revealed. In the ideal neocon world, there are 2 classes of people: capital owners and poor impoverished workers.
The future offered to workers by the neocon gentry is dim. Instead of offering opportunity to those who don't own capital, neocons are exporting jobs permanently to countries where labor is very cheap. workers are not protected by law, and human rights abuses can be hidden.
Objections to the above are many and profound.
1) Slavery is per se immoral. Paying only subsistance wages to workers with no opportunity to advance is only a shade better than slavery and thus morally reprehensible.
2) Security of this country is ultimately weakened when entire industries are relocated off-shore.
3) Losing economic freedom to corporations is worse than losing it to one's own democratically eleected government.
A simple vote can replace government officials. Corporate power is getting into the machinery of government and corrupting it. The harm is severe. Votng machine execs are saying they will "deliver" states in presidential elections.
The biggest threat to freedom in the US today is unfettered corporate power. The people have the authority to tax and regulate corporations so that they serve the common good.
Greedy robber barons and their defenders like CPUrick are exaclty the reason they should use their collective power--early, often, and with pre-emption!
Tue Feb 21 2006 9:44 AM
"as is your typical practice, you're misrepresenting me -- again."
I'm not misrepresenting you. You've already admitted that there's no rational relationship between employment and healtcare. It's a purely political arrangement.
"Many of the current problems in the US [lack of access, inefficiencies and inequalities] in the way health care is administered would go away if we had a national health care system. Unfortuately we don't have it."
Not unfortunately: fortunately. Socialized medicine is plagued with its own problems. The demand universally exceeds supply, and so a political/bureaucratic means must be used to ration it. That is basic economics, so I'm sure it's all news to you.
The left overplays its "lack of access" argument. We've been through that, and you chose not to dispute Larry Elder's sample analysis. And government bureaucracies are not known for being models of efficiency. You're smoking crack.
"This small situation can be ameliorated through regulation until we get the universal health plan that makes it no longer necessary."
This is a process known as facism. You put the government's jackboot on a free market system until, lo and behold, only government can fix all the problems it's created.
One would have to be pretty fucking stupid to fall for that. Of course, the left has no shortage of believers, does it?
Wed Feb 22 2006 1:05 PM
"Paying only subsistance wages to workers with no opportunity to advance is only a shade better than slavery and thus morally reprehensible."
Slavery is immoral not because of the wage rate, but because the freedom of choice is removed from the worker. Thus, low wages are not immoral as long as the freedom to choose -- and to quit -- resides with the worker.
"Security of this country is ultimately weakened when entire industries are relocated off-shore."
Yet you show no support for policies that would make them want to come back. Instead, you seek some means to "force" them to come back. You're a great American.
"Losing economic freedom to corporations is worse than losing it to one's own democratically eleected government."
It's impossible to lose your freedom to a corporation -- that requires government. Try not to be so fucking stupid.
Wed Feb 22 2006 1:14 PM
Tom from Madison:
1) Whether you call it near-slavery, serfdom, or exploitation is irrelevant. It's immoral. Saying desperate people have a choice when their alternative is to starve isn't morally justifiable.
2) Once again, I'm advocating for universal health coverage so that businesses compete with each other on a more equal footing in the labor market. This would help all workers who lack access to health care and help businesses who struggle to provide health plans.
3) Government regulation of corporatiions is not facism. Confusing corporations with real living people is a frequent malady of the self-righteous neocon herd. It takes a truly weak man to hide his immorality behind a corporate shield. [Think Enron] Laws can and should make that shield subservient to the rule of law and the common good.
4) Punctuating your vitriol with profanity and name calling is a self-defeating declaration of one's own ignorance. Please continue making my point about who's really taking the low road.
Wed Feb 22 2006 5:02 PM
“Actually i sort of agree with rick on this. He's right that as long as the worker has the right to quit, there is a choice. No one is forced to work at wal mart. Thats why i would consider for all wal mart workers to strike As long as there are people willing to work for shit, then thats what wal mart will provide. Wal Mart is a highschool job, not a career.”
Tom Dave & Mike are always looking for the “STATE” to take care of everything – except for the occasional flash of intelligence (above from Mike) they seek the socialist utopia and reduced freedom of universal health care w/out even thinking how it would be paid for – never even realizing the awesome opportunity for abuse (ouch I cut my finger – get me to the hospital) ,what about the way its run in Canada where these people continuously go south of the border because they cant afford the same things in their own country, or lets just say the “STATE” hospital is not to your liking or standard and your universal plan says nope you have to go here for treatment no matter if there is a better success rate for you particular treatment else ware.
All down this particular blog Wal Mart is demonized yet I don’t see any directive (no smoking gun) from the home office that sets actual policy that says that they as a course of day to day business MUST screw their workers at every turn! I believe the managers/bosses in those stores are to blame. The fact is that you can find these stories everywhere even in the “mom & pop shops”! Wrongs must be righted and the tool to do that is our laws and the court system – sometimes I agree with the system sometimes I don’t but it’s the best in the world at what it does.
I was born & raised in Newark NJ (check the demographics) I’ve seen literally THOUSANDS of “minority” kids go to college and graduate and drop out and NOT pay back their student loans and still the tax payer pays – some of these people want to get out most don’t care because WE have created a culture of addiction: to the government hand out, to school loans, grants, home loans geared to help the lowest common denominator. Women until relatively recently were paid to have children (welfare)and those parents if both are still together actually teach their offspring to fill out paperwork for a government handout, politicians would and still pander to this base w/the promise of more programs for little or no effort. It seems that no-one remembers what JFK said all those years ago “ ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country” what would MLK think of the “CHARACTER” of anyone who in essence says “gimme” with out putting forth any effort. What ever happened to teaching people how to fish in stead of fishing for them?
But I digress bottom line on this not a dead end society there are choices, weather those not satisfied with their position/station/position in life see them, look for them or don’t is their own fate, THEY are ultimately RESPONSIBLE for their own futures and those of their children’s. Some times we have to do what some say this nation’s greatest president said “We must have the courage to quit”.
It is a matter of fact that the American government cannot be trusted with social/societal issues – no matter what party is in charge. For 40 years democrats have had a “War on Poverty” has it been won? How much money has been thrown at the inner city slums and what does America have to show for it yet liberals keep doing the same thing offering hard earned tax $ to the god of government in the hopes that that will solve everything and when it doesn’t you wonder why.
Grass roots organizations/ private organizations/ religious & non-profits have towed the line in the inner cities and continue to make the difference but they don’t get the: credit they deserve, the money they need or the attention due them, they are the victors in that war but nobody cares.
Dave who are you to say that CPURICK’s data isn’t “ABSOLUTE” he is arguing his beliefs stated in facts (websites/stats) and he holds true to his convictions – in plain English he’s sure of himself!
While Tom muddies the waters by confusing capitalism with government – in one post demonizing both in another the government will save the day.
Then I see that Cuba is the model for medical excellence well what does it say for the current level of Cuban medicine when that countries dictator has to come to the U. S. for medical intervention or for that matter anywhere else in the world?
P.S. Fidel Castro is one of the 5 or 10 richest people in the world (so much for “for each according to their need from each according to their ability”) yet “his” people wait daily for rations and are not allowed to eat beef because beef is for the military. Yet the U. S. is punishing the Cuban people???? – NO! Fidel is, make no mistake.
Thu Mar 2 2006 2:58 PM
I submit to those (as I do every year) that if you think that the American people arnt paying enough in taxes please donate your tax refund to the U. S. Treasury.
Thu Mar 2 2006 3:18 PM
“neocons are exporting jobs permanently to countries where labor is very cheap.” – WRONG Tom sorry but its government overregulation manipulated by special interests & radical wing groups in an all out effort to destroy Capitalism in general, and the business owner in particular.
“neocons are exporting jobs permanently to countries where labor is very cheap.” – WRONG Tom sorry try unions that pay unskilled workers high wages for menial work, ask yourself why the big three auto makers are losing market share because CEO’s are lining their pockets yeah maybe BUT also to blame are the unions and their reps never realizing that THEY are actually pricing their product out of the market but as long as they get that fat check “F” Ford, “F” Chevy, “F” Chrysler “F” the future.
Unions had their time and like the model “T” they are obsolete, and if they were to be needed I’m sure workers would/could ban together again but now it’s a monkey on industry’s back.
You thought you could break them but you forgot about the one thing that underlines what this country is about opportunity. You’ve succeeded in stopping them from making a livelihood here and their workers from earning a living but they’ve found another way and instead of you enticing them to come back/ creating the circumstances for them to come back you vilify them for keeping food on their tables for their families
Thu Mar 2 2006 4:03 PM
Should be: "radical LEFT wing groups"
Thu Mar 2 2006 4:05 PM
Mike of the Great White North:
Can't disagree with everything you said. You do have valid points. Ill only address what i take issue with.
Canada's health care system. You seem to think its wrong or broken. Well I think it has it's problems but it's certainly better than the system you have IMHO. Ill restate, i dont think ANYONE should be denied access to healthcare based on thier ability to pay, nor do i think anyone should go into unrecoverable debt for major health problems beyond their control. Yes, the person who cuts their finger and goes to a hospital is a tool, but thats why we have walk in clinics and family physicians as a front line of preventative care before using up hospital resources. And sorry but if your talking about a cut that requires stitches, then yes, the ER is where you go.
If people are running south for procedures its because they're que jumpers. I liken health care to the same system applied to organ waiting lists. It shouldn't matter if your net worth is 10 dollars or 10 billion. You cant jump to the front of the line if your a penniless hobo or billionaire piece of human slime like Paris Hilton.
Thu Mar 2 2006 10:17 PM
Tom from Madison:
Exportation of jobs to nations that don't protect the environment we all live in is WRONG. We need to hod corporations responsible for their actions.
I'd like to see deliberate, targeted regulation done to penalize these companies. Better yet, international law with teeth is an idea whose time has come.
The "race to the bottom" mentality is not inevitable, nor is it wise. Neo-cons are leading us down the wrong path. It's time to reverse course!
Mon Mar 6 2006 1:55 PM
There you go, what makes you think that these companies are breaking the law - How do you know they are just because they're in a different country?!?!?
Trying to deprive entrepreneurs of the ability to realize there dreams due to overregulation of industry is wrong! Creating the circumstances in which entrepreneurs can only fail is wrong! In the long run you get what we have now companies leaving because of high cost of doing business, do you really believe that they are all leaving because they want to wreak havoc on the environment????
Mon Mar 6 2006 2:35 PM
Time to lighten the mood a little,
Headlines from the year 2029:
Spotted Owl plague threatens northwestern United States crops and livestock.
Baby conceived naturally. Scientists stumped.
Couple petitions court to reinstate heterosexual marriage.
Ozone created by electric cars now killing millions in the seventh largest country in the world, Mexifornia, formerly known as California.
White minorities still trying to have English recognized as Mexifornia's third language.
Last remaining Fundamentalist Muslim dies in the American Territory of the Middle East (formerly known as Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Lebanon).
Iran still closed off; physicists estimate it will take at least 10 more years before radioactivity decreases to safe levels.
France pleads for global help after being taken over by Jamaica.
Castro finally dies at age 112; Cuban cigars can now be imported legally, but President Chelsea Clinton has banned all smoking.
George Z. Bush says he will run for President in 2036.
Postal Service raises price of first class stamp to $17.89 and reduces mail delivery to Wednesdays only.
85-years, $75.8 billion study: Diet and Exercise is the key to weight loss.
Average weight of Americans drops to 250 lbs.
Japanese scientists have created a camera with such a fast shutter speed, they now can photograph a woman with her mouth shut. (Hmmmmmmmmm)
Massachusetts executes last remaining conservative.
Supreme Court rules punishment of criminals, violates their civil rights.
Average height of NBA players now nine feet, seven inches.
New federal law requires that all nail clippers, screwdrivers, fly swatters and rolled-up newspapers must be registered by January 2036.
Congress authorizes direct deposit of formerly illegal political contributions to campaign accounts.
IRS sets lowest tax rate at 75 percent.
Florida voters still having trouble with voting machines.
Wed Mar 8 2006 7:54 AM
to give soldier you should be very bad:
Your site is exactly the kind of sites which make the net surfing so fun. boy will soldier unconditionally
Tue Jul 18 2006 9:20 AM
upon contacting Walmart for a small donation of any kind for a fund raiser for a man with terminal liver cancer I was told walmart does no such donations. What then does walmart give back to a community that supports them. I was told if they donated to that cause they would have to donate to all causes. On a local level the people support walmart and have made it a multimillion dollar business. What would a few dollar donations hurt a company that everyone supports
Wed Aug 30 2006 4:17 PM
I HAVE HEARD FROM SEVERAL WAL MART EMPLOYEES THAT WAL MART PAYS IRANIAN EMPLOYEES $2.00 AN HOUR AND THE US GOV'T PAYS THE BALANCE, ANY TRUTH IN THIS???
Thu Jun 28 2007 11:27 AM