Wal-mart, healthcare, and when “rights” go horribly wrong.

January 14th, 2006

I suppose it’s no surprise that a country that was started with the ringing phrase:

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, buy viagra nurse that all men are created equal, cialis sales patient that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, illness that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

…would be obsessed with the idea of “rights.”

Setting aside the legitimacy of the whole concept of “rights” (I think it’s an artificial construct, but that’s not the argument I want to make here, today), I am very concerned about the recent elevation of healthcare to a “right.”

This morning I heard a story on NPR where the commentator kept referrring to how Wal-Mart “offloaded” the medical expensives of their employees onto state governments.

Implicit in the report was the assumption that healthcare was the “right” of each of Wal-Mart’s employees and that Wal-Mart was reponsible for providing it.

Why is Wal-Mart responsible for paying for the healthcare of the people that work there?

Just because some company long ago decided to offer a health plan as a benefit?

Some employers pay for parking, does that make free parking an inalienable right?

Furthermore, why is healthcare the only “right” that requires someone else to pay for it for us?

I don’t expect someone else to pay for my pursuit of happiness.

I pay taxes, so that the government can “provide for the common defense” and thus secure my liberty.

I’m responsible for the running of my own life.

So why is healthcare the one “right” that my employer or the government is supposed provide me free of charge?

Thinking like this is dangerous because it leads us to believe there is such a thing as a free lunch. That someone else should pay the bill. That I’m entitled to things I haven’t earned.

If enough people believe these things, the entire society eventually collapses under the greedy expectations of the populace.

A similar law to the one that just passed in Maryland (and which inspired the NPR report) is under consideration here in Wisconsin.

I hope we’re farsighted enough to realize that the healthcare crisis in America won’t be solved by declaring healthcare a “right” and forcing third parties like Wal-Mart to pay for it.

By the way, I’m actually open to some type of public/private approach to solving the issues presented by healthcare in America. But writing laws aimed at forcing one particular employer to provide healthcare to its employees is not the way to go about it.

Entry Filed under: Observations,Politics

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Richard Rants  |  January 16th, 2006 at 2:18 pm

    Gosh, I never knew that “Wal-Mart is distorting the free market with a monopoly controlling the price of goods and labor.” Thank you Rep. Terese Berceau, D-Madison, Wisconsin for bringing this to light. And to think they did it by selling tons of cheap stuff to people who are willing to go to their depressing stores to buy. They’re clearly evil and should be made to pay.

    In fact, pursuing others to pay for me is my right. It makes me happy. Why would anyone willingly pay for their healthcare if they can get someone else to pay. God, I love this country!

  • 2. Administrator  |  January 16th, 2006 at 2:44 pm

    I love this country, too!

    It’s the politicians I’m not not that fond of.

  • 3. The Amateur Economist &am&hellip  |  January 17th, 2006 at 10:04 pm

    The Incredible Stuff Machine…

    This VERY well done, a must-read. These busy-bodies that attempt to use the state’s coercive action for their socialist or rent-seeking ends hurt us all. “Progressive” groups and unions are pushing to pinch Wal-Mart at every possible turn. But an an…

  • 4. From Where I Sit » &hellip  |  February 14th, 2006 at 6:28 pm

    […] And Maryland is making Wal-Mart pay for more of its employee’s health care. […]

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Being in a wheelchair gives you a unique perspective on the world. This blog features many of my views on politics, art, science, and entertainment. My name is Elliot Stearns. More...

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