Nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh declared that proposed legislation in Maryland, which would have required discount retailer Wal-Mart to choose between increasing health benefits for employees or paying more into the state's Medicaid program, is "a vestige of fascism." The bill, which passed the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates but was vetoed by Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich on May 19, was designed to address the concerns reinforced by a number of studies and analyses showing that Wal-Mart's low wages and meager health care benefits cost taxpayers millions of dollars through increased enrollment in taxpayer-funded social programs.
From the May 20 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: They [the Maryland General Assembly] are legislating socialism. This is the government -- in this case the state government -- telling a private business how it must run its affairs. Now, some might even call that a vestige of fascism. Some might say you're getting very close to fascism here when the government starts telling everybody in business -- at an increasing rate -- how they have to run their business, allocate funds, and so forth. And it's almost extortion to boot, because if Wal-Mart doesn't do what the legislature says -- then the legislature must -- then Wal-Mart must pay the legislature. So it's -- they're legislating socialism at the Maryland legislature.