Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Owner of Whole Foods Talks About Alternatives To ObamaCare

I've written before about John Mackey, co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods. Click on that link and see what he has to say about his experiences as a leftie and then as a business owner, and hear his words about that nastiest of words, profit. I'll give you a glimpse here, and hopefully that will drive you to read that entire post--or perhaps his entire speech, which I link to in that post:

I love profit. Profit is good and it is socially necessary... Profit is the most important purpose to the business owners. But owners do not exist in a vacuum. I believe the best way to think about business is as an interdependent system of constituencies connected together in a "harmony of interests..."

I believe that business has a much greater purpose. Business, working through free markets, is possibly the greatest force for good on the planet today.
Go read the whole thing, it's well worth your time. This man has a powerful intellect and is tuned in to what has made our country such a strong economy as well as a force for good in the world. Keeping that in mind, it's worth listening to his ideas regarding "eight things we can do to improve health care without adding to the deficit."

I agree completely with his views, especially as they pertain to individual choice, liberty, and responsibility:

While we clearly need health-care reform, the last thing our country needs is a massive new health-care entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and move us much closer to a government takeover of our health-care system. Instead, we should be trying to achieve reforms by moving in the opposite direction—toward less government control and more individual empowerment...

Many promoters of health-care reform believe that people have an intrinsic ethical right to health care—to equal access to doctors, medicines and hospitals. While all of us empathize with those who are sick, how can we say that all people have more of an intrinsic right to health care than they have to food or shelter?

Health care is a service that we all need, but just like food and shelter it is best provided through voluntary and mutually beneficial market exchanges.


He discusses the Canadian and English systems, and the benefits his employees in those countries desire. The choice is elucidating:

At Whole Foods we allow our team members to vote on what benefits they most want the company to fund. Our Canadian and British employees express their benefit preferences very clearly—they want supplemental health-care dollars that they can control and spend themselves without permission from their governments. Why would they want such additional health-care benefit dollars if they already have an "intrinsic right to health care"? The answer is clear—no such right truly exists in either Canada or the U.K.—or in any other country.
His consistency and intellect have earned my respect; this man is someone our country should be listening to.

Update, 8/17/09: Since the piece linked above was published, certain lefties want to boycott Whole Foods. Radley Balko sums it best:

I plan to do a lot more shopping at Whole Foods in the coming weeks. Mostly in response to the moronic boycott of the store now gaining momentum on the left. . . . Whole Foods is everything leftists talk about when they talk about ‘corporate responsibility.’ . . . Is this really the state of debate on the left, now? ‘Agree with us, or we’ll crush you?’ These people don’t want a discussion. They don’t want to hear ideas. They want you to shut up and do what they say, or they’re going to punish you.


As Obi Wan Kenobi might say, "This is not the hopenchange you are looking for."

Update #2, 8/22/09: Matt Welch points out the obvious liberal hypocrisy:

I'll just make one observation: The liberal commentariat keeps telling us that we need to have a "serious debate" about reforming our dysfunctional health care system. Well, love 'em or hate 'em, Mackey came up with eight tangible ideas to do just that, and this is the reaction he gets.

9 comments:

KauaiMark said...

Obamaits will never buy in to this very reasonable approach to health care reform.

maxutils said...

Health care is messed up precisely because we provide it based on compassion rather than cost.

If everyone were required to pay for catastrophic insurance (a very low rate, on a national level) and then pay for every service as performed, the problem would be solved.

allen (in Michigan) said...

No, health care's messed up because there's been government intrusion into the system for a long time starting with ERISA, the tax deduction businesses enjoy for health care benefits. Since then every other intrusion's simply exacerbated the problem.

The irony is that some of the folks who enjoyed the benefits of that intrusion, the UAW comes to mind, are forming up as strong opponents of ObamaCare because they don't believe socializing the entire system is to their benefit proving that yes, there is justice.

mazenko said...

I'm with you on this one, Darren. I really like his points, and he seems to focus on the kind of personal responsibility for the small stuff that we both think should handled by the consumer.

Maybe someone will listen. Though, I still like the HAA, and from what I've read of the bill, without the public option, there's not that much to object to. It seems like some pretty reasonable legislation that is a start - albeit probably overwritten one - to some sensible reform.

But, I'm with Whole Foods. Maybe there could be a two-page rider on the bill?

PETA said...

How can you trust a guy that markets and sells *bottled* water and *organic* food? (tongue-in-cheek)

David said...

I've had a hard time taking John Mackey seriously ever since he was caught engaging in sock-puppetry of a particularly silly kind...but his thoughts in the healthcare article are good. What should have happened is that healthcare policy should have been extensively and publicly debated at this level--reasonably short, intelligible idea pieces and serious analysis of the experience of other countries--rather than being rushed into the form of a 1000-page bill.

We have a President who--despite his reputation for "intellectuality"--is much more of a high-pressure salesman than his is a thinker, problem-solver, or analyst.

maxutils said...

Allen, I think we're arguing the same point. Government has removed the price mechanism. I may not have been specific enough.

Sam said...

I love the image of Walmart shoppers lining up in support of Whole Foods. So delicious, the irony.

neko said...

"How can you trust a guy that markets and sells *bottled* water and *organic* food? (tongue-in-cheek)"

Well, he knows the same thing that we do: that liberals are idiots who will buy anything if it is marketed right. ^_^