As Peter Suderman wrote yesterday, news that Wal-Mart had joined forces with the liberal think tank Center for American Progress (CAP) and the SEIU in support of "health care reform" is, at first blush, perhaps something of a surprise. Except that it isn't at all surprising to those who have been paying attention. Washington Examiner columnist Tim Carney, who has written a book on the pernicious intersection of big government and big business, reminds those arguing that corporate-government convergence is some type of Obama "breakthrough" of recent history:
Wal-Mart's support for this regulation is new, but times have not changed. Wal-Mart, remember, joined labor unions in lobbying for a hike in the minimum wage, and a Wal-Mart executive testified before Congress in favor of cap-and-trade years ago.
And "The highly ideological behavior of the business community"? What in the world is [CAP blogger Matt] Yglesias talking about? The Chamber of Commerce's endorsement of Obama's stimulus plan? Or the fact that Barney Frank scored higher on the Chamber's score card than did Ron Paul? What does Yglesias make of Philip Morris's decade-long campaign for tobacco regulation, or Mattel's 2007-08 full-court press for toy-safety rules?
Are GE and Duke Energy's support fo Waxman-Markey "change" from Enron's support for U.S. ratification of Kyoto? And on health care, did Yglesias miss the fact that the big HMOs supported HillaryCare?
The notion that Big Business has long been reflexively anti-government is a myth, and Yglesias repeats it here in order to pat his boss John Podesta (whose brother lobbies for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and whose sister-in-law lobbies for Boeing, Cigna, and dozens of other megacorps,) and the President (who received more money than anyone else from Wall Street, and frankly every industry but insurance) on the back for "change."
Over at Forbes.com, Tevi Troy points out that CAP is the (recent?) beneficiary of Wal-Mart largesse:
As for the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress, it has an added incentive to welcome Wal-Mart into polite company. While the left has shunned the corporate behemoth for years, according to its Web site Wal-Mart gives the think tank between $500,000 and $999,999. Perhaps CAP will get more than just brownie points from the Obama administration for brokering this deal.