Nathan Newman bombards Kevin Drum and Ezra Klein for widening the context of the Wal-Mart dispute.
Employers shouldn't be excused for completely rotten, immoral activities just because a better policy would make compliance with the law easier. This is bleeding heart liberalism applied to the largest corporation on earth, as if Ezra is excusing some kid caught purse snatching with the excuse that society had failed to provide better economic alternatives to a life of crime, so it's really society's fault that the victims lost their property.I've talked to people about this, and it's not clear what they are (were going to be?) doing is discriminatory. Even if it discourages "unhealthy" applicants (not a protected class as long as they aren't perceived as such), as long as they aren't trying to keep disabled people out, it's not illegal. Under disparate impact cases, there is a so-called "interest" defense (why you don't see WASPs bring class actions against strawberry farms). If it's just that people don't want that kind of job, it's basically ok. It depends on the intent.
And Newman may be right that allowing this potential violation in order to cure a health care issue isn't the law, but at least they aren't simply doing it to pad their pockets. Pure motive or not, they are trying to address an important social issue. That should be deemed a step in the right direction for a Wal-Mart antagonista.