If you haven't heard the news about Walmart and it's surrender to a national health care scheme, here it is. The best analysis of this whole sorry business comes from Megan McArdle at the Atlantic:
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...
On the other side, there is regulatory capture. Wal-Mart is always going to have a seat at the table when employer mandates are discussed, because Wal-Mart is the nation's largest private employer. Target and Macy's probably won't have a seat at the table. So Wal-Mart can influence the rules in ways that benefit Wal-Mart at the expense of the competition. This is partly because the regulators often cycle into jobs at the firms they regulate, but also simply because the regulator's attention is finite, so being consistently at the table allows you to shape their views over time. Again, this isn't some kind of crazy right-wing analysis; regulatory capture was first diagnosed by a Marxist historian named Gabriel Kolko.
Walmart has pulled one of the oldest tricks in the book and it has positioned itself rather nicely to beat down competitors with nary a liberal backlash. Once again we see how a government scheme tilts the playing field in favor of big business. I don't fault Walmart for their tactic. In fact, I think that its the most rational approach to a federal government that is threatening to create a frightful business environment.