Matt Bai insightfully takes on the New World Economy. He starts by criticizing all the attention put on Wal-Mart and the larger globalization issues pointing out it is kind of like critiquing the microchip -- it's here to stay, stop kvetching and let's start talking about how to adapt.
And then he absolutely nails it: "Does it make sense to expect businesses to finance lavish health care plans when foreign competition is forcing companies to cut their costs? Isn't government better equipped to insure a nomadic work force while employers take on the more manageable task of childcare - a problem that hardly existed 50 years ago?"
Yes! Universal health care levels the playing field for all businesses. Progressives and big business are natural allies on this, and it's 90% of why I wanted to make the Wal-Mart movie. Put enough pressure on Wal-Mart over the healthcare issue, and they will push even harder to offload the burden to the government.
Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott has hinted at doing just that: "Like others, for example, we're troubled by the fact that 45 million Americans do not have health insurance. I think that the core discussion is going to be around how do governments, businesses and individuals come together to share the burden of financing a decent society? ... We stand ready to join others in shaping creative public policy solutions."
History is made when the strangest of bedfellows come together, and wouldn't it be great to see Wal-Mart duke it out with the pharmaceutical and health insurance corporations?