Star Parker

Far too little attention is given to the fact that, although big corporations are supposedly the nation's institutions that preserve and promote freedom and capitalism, the reality often is just the opposite.

Today, for instance, the nation faces major crises in our health care and Social Security systems. Yet one would be hard-pressed to find a single corporation that is helping to advance market-based reforms, put forth under the current administration, such as medical savings accounts or personal Social Security accounts.

What's worse, big corporations are not only usually out to lunch regarding public policy reforms that reduce government and advance individual freedom and choice, they regularly promote a left-wing agenda that increases the scope of government and undermines freedom and traditional values. This agenda is often promoted under the guise of helping minorities. But the result is really the opposite.

A good example of this can be seen in a recent column that appeared in the Wall Street Journal by Howard Paster, executive vice president of the WPP Group, one of the nation's largest advertising and public relations conglomerates. He argues that the recent defeat by the House of Representatives of the Federal Marriage Amendment was a positive development for moral reasons and for business reasons. The moral dimension is supposedly the need for an open and diverse business work environment. The business dimension reflects the need for corporate human resources programs to serve, in an economically efficient way, the diverse needs of their employees.

According to Paster, 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies now offer health insurance to gay domestic partners. However, unlike the situation with married heterosexual couples where these benefits are received from their corporate employer tax free, the benefits must be treated as taxable income for domestic partners. As result, corporations have an extra administrative burden to maintain one set of books for married heterosexual couples and a separate set for gay partners.

If Paster really wanted to make the health care market and the workplace more efficient, moral, and free, he would write articles urging complete elimination of the IRS provision allowing companies to provide employees untaxed health care benefits. Instead, allow individuals to have their own private tax deductible health care savings accounts.

Star Parker

Star Parker is founder and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a 501c3 think tank which explores and promotes market based public policy to fight poverty, as well as author of the newly revised Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can do About It.