Friday, September 15, 2006

head scratcher



Here’s a head-scratcher for you: why do liberals hate Wal-Mart? I am not being sarcastic, I truly am curious about this position. Now, I am personally not much of a Wal-Mart shopper. I have some problems with the recent out-sourcing trends, and efforts they have made to score points with liberals. But some things I've discovered about them makes me wonder. Wal-Mart saves American consumers upwards of $200 billion dollars a year in grocery and retail purchases. That’s a better performance record than the Welfare program. It is the country's largest employer, employing 1.3 million Americans alone, with an increasing global market share. An American company with a huge stake in America spread influence throughout the world. Wal-Mart recently announced that by 2010, in its grocery stores “everything the supermarket disposes of at the back of its stores will be recycled, reused or composted instead of being sent to landfill.” It will also look at its packaging in an attempt to reduce potential household waste. Wal-Mart has also agreed to efforts to reduce energy consumption. Wal-Mart’s health plan is among the most affordable among American employers. Heck, I looked at my employer’s “top rated” plan and compared it to Wal-Mart’s plan. No comparison, Wal-Mart’s is better hands down. It has also been rated by several minority business magazines and associates as one of America’s top employers for wages and diversity in hiring both at entry level and corporate positions.
So let’s see that makes Wal-Mart:
  • A great boost to the economy of the American worker and consumer.
  • A proponent for environmentally better business
  • An example in hiring for diversity and providing better jobs for low-income households
  • A solid employer with excellent benefits
  • It is an excellent global economic performer
What’s not to like? Why do liberals hate Wal-Mart so much?
Oh… right, because it’s Wal-Mart.

It will be going out of business if libs get their way.Wait…what? You and I both know that the bottom line for Liberals is that in order for them to exist they need a straw man, a convenient enemy. If it isn’t George Bush, it must be a huge American business. Why not take on Wal-Mart, set it up with false propaganda and hateful rhetoric and work on its demise? Yeah, that will win you votes. Just only from other wackos. For every so-called “study” about the depressing facts and terrible results of Wal-Marts being built in your town, there are several other studies that contend the exact opposite. Most of the “Wal-Mart is evil” studies are commissioned by small-retailer associations or liberal and democratic political think tanks. Don't get me wrong- Wal-Mart has had it's share of PR problems, but there is much that they have been accused of that is undeserved.

Liberals push the issue in regards to how businesses operate. Wal-Mart is a primary example. Liberals are insistent that Wal-Mart is evil and that they must organize under the banner of unions. Lots of money (that could have been donated to worthy causes and accomplish much more good work) has been spilt in funding films, ads and propaganda campaigns all designed to persuade public opinion that Wal-Mart is A) Evil B) Kills small business C) Should not be built in your town D) When they are built they need to be organized. I value action over words. Liberals value words over actions. Liberals don't need for problems to be solved, they need problems to talk about. It gives them political capital and or mileage. Therefore trussing up Wal-Mart politically, despite it's real performance and facts, makes sense politically to liberals. Lately the Democratic party has really been cosumed by its liberal and extremist factions. The support of labor union members, a traditonal Democratic stronghold, has been dropping off. Partly because of Democrats shift away from union issues, and because more middle class Americans are seeing throught the lies and transparent positions. What better way to win back some appeal than by going after a big bad business?

Let’s be clear about something: labor unions have achieved some good in the capitalistic market place. Historically, politicians, journalists, and some unions have changed industry and business practices both for the better and for worse. Safety regulations, child labor, and consistent public health practices have improved not only the quality of life for workers and for the consumer, but when businesses have been smart they have benefited as well. The food industry, for example, has seen rapid success and improvement when they followed health regulations and standards. Some of the smarter and more successful of these companies (Oscar Meyer is one example) set even higher standards and advertised it as such, which won much support and appealed to the general public. These things appeal to the consumer’s desire for safe and clean products.

However, labor unions, politicians, and journalists have also ruined businesses and set up false dichotomies in their zeal to completely control business practices. This happens when leftist ideology takes over The fashionable union member strikes wearing apparel from Wal-Mart. What?? It's fashionable.and promotes the agenda that the only correct method is to remove the marketplace from the equation. Their typical method is to remove capitalism and replace it with socialism and regulate, supervise, and mandate what must occur. When smart business, capitalism, and the free market are combined with efforts to improve, smart regulations and smarter business and industry standards- we all benefit. When politics, ideology and the need for power take the place of the free market or any of these; we all suffer in one form or another. Yet the liberal and socialistic politics of labor unions has become unbridled in recent decades. Unions have always had some historic connections with leftist politics but not all members, organizers, or leaders have leaned socialist. But the constant need of liberals to control the situation and broker power, consistently places politics ahead of union members and consumers.

George Will’s recent article explains the problem clearly. Wal-Mart refuses to organize and to cow tow to government oversight. The facts that Wal-Mart is one of America’s largest employers, a huge part of our economy, and that it provides not just jobs, but a better choice for “economically disadvantaged” consumers is immaterial to leftists. Any American should balk at complete government intrusion and oversight – it is the very definition of Big Brother. Yet the liberals argue that eavesdropping on our enemies, the jihaddists and terrorists, is wrong, but complete oversight and control of American business is their right. Increasingly, liberals have become more and more like the isolationists of the past in pursuit of their global agenda. It seems ironic and a bit of a contradiction, but it isn’t for them.

It is as we talked about yesterday. Liberals and Cultural Elitist desire power (what politician doesn’t to a least a small degree?), but in that regard their supporters often find themselves in positions where they say things that utterly insane. One recent example is Arianna Huffington stating “So what?” when discussing Sadam’s gassing of Kurds. To them it is about regaining power, which means defeating Bush, which therefore means opposing anything Bush is in favor of or has participated in. I am amazed at how many liberals this close to election time are stating that it would have been better if Sadam were still in power. For who? The American liberal? How about the Iraqi people? I don’t think so. While the blinders on the liberals keep their field of vision narrow, I can’t help but feel glad that we actually did something to help others have a chance at freedom, especially when I talk to American-Iraqis and some Iraqis I have met.

Politics and the pursuit of power makes for strange bedfellows. I think that the pursuit of Liberals by Wal-Mart, and the political ties with labor union mucky-If a Quarter Pounder is a Royale with cheese in France, what is it in China?mucks will eventually cause American workers and consumers a great deal more problems than solutions. Blinded by their own sense of entitlement and pursuit of power, union leaders and politicos have even attempted to refuse Wal-Mart to build in Chicago recently, unless they organize. Could organizing Wal-Mart change the business altogether? It will certainly affect the consumer in many obvious ways, but could also possibly result in fewer jobs, fewer stores and fewer opportunities for American workers. Wal-Mart is fighting organization tooth and nail, even closing some stores or refusing to build altogether in the face of possible organization.It is my contention that the thriving of business in America also allows for the thriving of America and Americans. Anyone remember when McDonalds opened up it’s first store in Russia in the late 80s? The late night talk show jokes were about the spread of Democracy and fries around the world. It was kind of funny then, but McDonalds and other American retailers have literally spread around the world. Is it ironic that Wal-Mart which buys products from China, could eventually open in China and sell Chinese made and American made products to the Chinese? Step 3: profit.

I'm not sure what the answers are, nor do I always know which side to believe. I do know through my own research that Wal-Mart is getting the short end of the stick from Liberals and their ilk solely for political purposes and gains. And that ticks me off. My grandfather taught me the truth of the adage, "By their fruits, you will know them." In non-vauge terms it means that you can tell alot about someone or something by their actions or results. And by looking at the work of the Liberals, I sure see a lot of rotton fruit.


Today's Shelf Classic is a discussion on communication- something we all need to improve upon... Also it's a Free For All Friday at Stop the ACLU. Enjoy!
Next: Weekend Correspondent Baravelli returns with a terse look at football...that is if we can pry him away from the game.

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.


I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be.




22 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://www.wakeupwalmart.com/facts/

Just the facts Ma'am

Brandon Dawson said...

Wal-Mart saves consumers $200 million?

Let's take a brief, three-step look at this one:

1.) Wal-Mart buys cheap products produced overseas
2.) Domestic jobs are lost as fewer Americans buy domestic product in favor of EVERY DAY LOW PRICES on foreign goods
3.) Regular Americans have to compare their share of the $200 billon to the lost wages that they, a neighbor, or a family member have lost to EVERY DAY LOW PRICES!!!!11!!!

Oh, and incidentally, if Wal-Mart saved consumers a collective $200 billion, that's over $670 for every American. If this insta-stat were truly true, it probably would be time to have Wal-Mart administer the welfare system.

Anonymous said...

Union labor could be a giant reason why #2 is a fact. As the unions feel they are entitled to more and more operating costs for domestic producers of goods rise. They must raise their prices to support the union labor they are beholden to, the consumer eventually can no longer afford the product they produce and sales drop so the producer's profit drops.

Eventually the producer has one of two choices - go under or move operations overseas where production costs are cheaper.


Yes, as J.C. stated, unions have done much good, but their time is past.

Anonymous said...

So, your contention is that, in order for American businesses to be able to offer domestic goods at a profit, they need to be able to pay their workers the same wage as a factory worker in the Third World?

Sounds to me like we need unions now as much as ever, lest we return to the days of the early 1900s.

Anonymous said...

Listen, I am a conservative and I hate Wal-Mart. The fact that they do cover the health insurance of a large number of their employees and those employees become a burden on government. And who do you think pays for that??? You and I in the form of higher taxes. No thanks, I'd rather not have a Wal-Mart in my neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

correction to above "do not cover"

Brendan Miller said...

I feel the author's use of broad generalization is proof not only of his argument's tenuous nature, but also of its hypocrisy. He says "all Liberals need a straw man" or "liberals value words over action." So essentially he is making liberals in general to be his own "straw man", an action which exposes a lack of comprehension for commentary on both a civil and intellectual level. Character attacks like this bar us from gaining proper perspective on issues, and thus damage the process of productive discussion and debate. An utter travesty of intellectual process.

Wolf Flywheel said...

Hey 'brendan', can I borrow your thesaurus? I'm trying to work up a response.If not, just tell me where at the Huffington Post I can find another prefab answer like yours so I can just copy and paste. Thanks! xoxoxo :)

Anonymous said...

Research on employment in places where a Wal-Mart opens have shown that Wal-Mart generates no new employment. The jobs it creates are totally offset by the loss in jobs from other retailers that are put out of business. It can create job gains in the town where the Wal-Mart is built, because some of the job losses in nearby communities.

Compared to normal supermarkets, Wal Mart's prices are 30% lower, but their wages are 50% lower. If you work at Wal-Mart wages and buy things at Wal mart prices , you can afford to buy 28.5% less stuff than if you earn non-Wal Mart wages and shop at non-Wal Mart prices.

Liberals generally think it is bad if Americans can't afford to buy as much stuff. Therefore, they think that an economy in which wages decline faster than prices is bad. The median inflation-adjusted wage is lower now that in 1975. Liberals think that generating poverty is worse than generating prosperity.

Wolf Flywheel said...

I've got the answer!! I know how the Wal-mart employees can get better pay and healthcare!......Here it comes....Wait for iiitttt.....QUIT WORKING AT A STINKING GROCERY STORE AND GET A CAREER! A GROCERY STORE IS NEVER GOING TO GIVE YOU THE SAME PAY AS A STOCKBROKER OR AN ATTORNEY AS SOME OF YOU FEEL THEY SHOULD. I WANT TO PROVIDE FOR MY FAMILY SO I MADE SURE THAT I WAS PREPARED AND GOT A JOB THAT PAYS ME TO DO SO! SAVE WAL-MART FOR RETIREES AND TEENAGERS! IF YOU'RE STUCK AND THIS IS THE BEST YOU'VE GOT THEN BE GREATFUL YOU HAVE ANYTHING AT ALL AND WORK TOWARDS A BETTER FUTURE THROUGH SCHOOL,TRAINING, AND PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT!........Uh,oh. Was that too direct and offensive? Great!

J.C. Loophole said...

Actually Anon #7- Other research studies (IE: not funded by liberal PACs and small business associations- I've seen those) show that for every 1 job that is possibly lost among competitors (that is key) by a Wal-Mart moving into an area, 2 are created. That is among competitors. What is not taken into account in those "studies" that decry jobs lost, is that they are typically among competitors. Other retail stores, resturants, car dealerships, gas stations, etc. that build or are already built near an incoming Wal-Mart show similar upswing. (See the Marshall University study and the Ryerson University study just to name a few that I found) The problem with some people, is that they tend to have an end-sum economic theory, IE there is only a limited pool of jobs or money to disctibute in an area, therefore a large employer takes their unfair amount. That's not how it works.
A recent panel which presented various independent studies on Wal-Mart employment and economic impact also included information about wages:
1. Associates in entry level positions start at Min. Wage (what most people refer to as "Poverty Wage" in order to create a false notion that someone can pay a lower than standard min. Wage), state or Federal, whichever is greater.
2. Are eligible for overtime pay
3. Employees who work an overnight shift receive a great pay grade.
4. A system of increases, pay raises and overtime compensation must not only be maintained, but is periodically studied to make sure rates are competitive with pay rates for similar jobs in the market and correspond with new and recent data from market surveys and compensation analysis. (see http://www.globalinsight.com/MultiClientStudy/MultiClientStudyDetail2438.htm for other info from this panel)
My contention is not that Wal Mart is the savior of the world. They perform well economically as a place for consumers and employees. My argument is that Liberals (and I make the distinction from all Democrats - I am talking about a smaller group obviously) are using Wal-Mart merely as a political football. Their uninformed, inaccurate, politically biased talking points (like poverty wages,etc.) are being parroted around the internet for poitical points. I just want to point out that this is happening and we should really take a closer look at what is being said.
Follow the Shelf motto and think for yourself.

Wolf Flywheel said...

MY question for 'anonymous#7' is a about his comment,
"Compared to normal supermarkets, Wal Mart's prices are 30% lower, but their wages are 50% lower."
My local Wal-mart pays at least minimum wage. So this means that I could get a job with a competing grocery store here and be making around $14 an hour as a bagger!!! Wow! That's more than I could make as an entry level school teacher with a degree! Who came up with these stats you're using? 'Baghdad Bob'?Maybe it's Jimmy Carter? I think that's it. It's Jimmy Carter feeding you info about inflation from the 70's to make himself look good in retrospect. What a cunning old dog!

http://walmartfacts.com/FactSheets/8252006_Associate_Benefits.pdf

Anonymous said...

Wal-Mart's health care plan may in fact be good, but that does not change the fact that a major percentage of their employees cannot afford to take part in it. The cost of the health care plan undoubtedly increases with the size of a family and, since most of the Wal-Mart employees "on the ground" have children to care for, their meager wage is not sufficient to cover day-to-day living costs in addition to an expensive health care plan. I applaud their proposed recycling and environmental initiatives, but there's far too much left for them to do.

J.C. Loophole said...

Anonymous#? (I can't keep track anymore)- thanks for your comments. While I appreciate your point of view, I do disagree. Wal-Mart offers decent plans as low as $11 a month. Plans are available to full time and part time employees. Many companies do not offer health plans to part timers (several well known former employers of mine, included).
The top health plan is not as expensive as other company's plans (including my own employer). Being able to by into group plans and set up "Health Savings Accounts" are able to bring down monthly charges per paycheck. I work for an unnamed government agency and my rotten dental plan is expensive and a joke, and my health care plan (which is rated "Top-tier") is not that much better. For me to be able to put my family on the plan is, unfortunately, a great sacrifice on my own paycheck.
Facts are that many government employees (remember- these people want the government to further regulate Wal-Mart) can't afford their own health plans, do not get paid any overtime (but are expected to work some for "time compensation", which always gets lost due to technicality), and some end up on the very welfare plans they are helping to administer. I have witnessed this personally.
It is an incorrect and unsupported thesis that a "major percentage of their employees cannot afford to take part in it." Data info from some of those independent studies that I cited earlier indicate that last fiscal year, Wal-Mart spent some $4 billion on Associate benefits (that is a general figure including health, stock purchase plans, 401k- all of which all employees are able to buy into), and that their net profits were over $10 billion.
The real economic facts (not liberal talking point propaganda facts, which are spun to appeal to emotion) indicate that Wal-Mart is doing good for communities, employees and the economy.
Sure, some things can be improved. Every store, including mom and pops, has room for improvement. The real story is that Wal-Mart has a lot that we can look at and adopt in other businesses.
When someone with a high school degree or GED has options to start in a local company that also start at even or above min. wage, expensive or "buy-in" health plans, no savings or 401K and few areas for advancement- versus a company that offers all that we have mentioned, plus the opportunity to continue to grow in the company that has many other types of jobs, career placement programs, etc. ...the choice couldn't be clearer. I don't advocate the demise of Mom and Pops- but I believe that they can also prosper. The days of the Mom and Pop grocery store is fairly well gone. What are we talking about here? The 50s? Odds are the stores that Wal-Mart is directly competing against are big companies and conglomerates themselves like a K-Mart, Sears, Food Lion, Kroger, etc.
What I think is unsupportable are the arguments from liberals and their political grandstanding aimed at getting votes and political capital. The arguments appeal to emotion, set up straw man arguments, false tautologies, and resort to deceptive data fallacies like cherry picking data, anecdotal evidence, and clustering data in order to advance their positions. The vilification of anything in politics start with a goal in mind of gaining power over the perception of others. It's deceptive, dishonest, and it shows a contempt for the general public. It's time to stop parroting liberal talking points and stop data mining and to start thinking for ourselves. You cannot rely on any one politician or college professor or political group to think for you. Until you learn that- you'll never be able to step back and assert yourself and be intellectually independent. Leftists rely on people who do not think for themselves, but buy into groupthink- perhaps the single most dangerous thing in politics today. It's time to think for ourselves.
While I am at it- let me say while we are fairly conservative here, we don't belong to either Democratic or Republican party. We walk the independent line. That being said we like to hear from all viewpoints, but as long as we intellectually honest and respectful. To all commenters- thanks for the back and forth. We appreciate that most of you are respectful and engaged in open and honest discussion. We have some great regulars here at the Shelf, we hope you’ll join them in the future.

Anonymous said...

This is 'anonymous #7' responding to Wolf Flywheel's question about the source of my comment:
"Compared to normal supermarkets, Wal Mart's prices are 30% lower, but their wages are 50% lower."

That information is from a Pulitzer-winning article in the Los Angeles times. You can read it at here on the Pulitzer website

"Wal-Mart pays its grocery workers an estimated $10 less per hour in wages and benefits than do the big supermarkets nationwide — $19 versus $9. As California grocery chains brace for the competition, their workers face severe cutbacks in compensation." $10/$19 = 52.6%

I admit that I got one part wrong when I said that Wal-Mart prices were 30% lower. According to the article, "Supercenter prices are typically 20% lower than at union markets."
Whoops.

Anonymous said...

The question raised by your article is not whether Wal-Mart is, in fact, Good for America. The question is why liberals dislike Wal-Mart. You posit that it is because liberals know Wal-mart is a fine company, but they have calculated (incorrectly) that they will win votes if they use hateful rhetoric to attack a randomly-chosen successful business.

Your theory is incorrect. In fact, low-income workers (i.e., liberals) dislike Wal-Mart because they believe - rightly or wrongly - that Wal-Mart increases unemployment, lowers wages, and pushes workers onto government-funded emergoncy health care programs. Perhaps liberals have it wrong, and have been fooled beause they are paying too much attention to newspaper articles and studies funded by villainous "small businesses" instead of reading independent studies such as the Ryerson study (funded by Wal-Mart). Even if Wal-Mart is the best thing since sliced bread, that does not mean that liberals do not genuinely believe that Wal-Mart is worse for America than other large retailers.

J.C. Loophole said...

Actually my argument was not, as you incorrectly and disingenuously tried to assert, that low-income workers hate Wal-Mart. Recent voting data also shows that low-income workers haven't been majority liberal in a while (most of the richest members of congress are Democrat- that is an unfair way to make a generalization, I know, but it is a fact.)You are making an illogical categorical error by inferring that all low-income workers are liberal. They are most definitely not.
And it was not whether or not liberals know it’s a fine company. That is immaterial. The actual question was, that since Wal-Mart meets so much stated "liberal criteria" as far as how they act and what they advocate- why do liberals continue to use them as a political football.
Again the idea of belief is key (as you brought up), because regardless of what they say they belief- they still attack whatever is politically expedient. The liberal bugaboo of the large retailer has its roots in so many political threads that it is difficult to take some of their stands seriously. It is my contention, and perhaps this wasn’t clear in the post, that such liberals who shout the loudest over such things value words over actions. To them, it seems to be all about what they say, what they say you have to believe, and how to properly say it or pay homage. The actual doing of something isn’t enough. Actions are useless to them. I tend to feel the opposite. Words are useless without action. Action and deeds speak much louder than words.
And yet, it’s my words that have touched a nerve for some reason. I didn’t put this up because I work or shill for Wal-Mart. Quite the opposite – I rarely shop there, if I can help it, for a variety of other reasons; mostly dealing with customer service issues and large crowds. I don’t like crowds. But that is also outside of the realm of the argument. That is a personal choice that has nothing to do with politics. However, those who have commented in several other areas where our little article was linked or posted don’t see it that way.
Here are some choice comments made on another thread regarding this article:
One lovely guy put it this way:
"Because WAL-MART IS EVIL! They have chosen the selfish and most evil path possible at every turn in their existance as a corporation. Go download "Wal-Mart: The high cost of low price" before you ever post anything asking why anyone hates wal-mart, you fascist pig."
or this little, illogical ripe blossom:
"If Wal-Mart didn't exist, people would be able to spend a little more on American made, higher quality goods."
I have been accused of everything from working for Wal-Mart (I don't - as I have stated before), that I stated that I don't know anything about Wal-mart and yet I shill for them (Again- I stated I don't shop there much, and don't work for them) and was accused of writing the article in exchange for a) gift cards, b) money C) a job and d) I'm not going to repeat it here. (obviously I haven’t received remuneration of any kind. Although Wolf wishes we had, so it would make Christmas shopping easier.)
So you see, anonymous, who ever you are, - when most of the comments I get on the Shelf are at least semi-respectful and attempting to engage in discussion (thanks, by the way) the majority of what I get elsewhere is:
1. Hyperbole
2. Citing of propaganda or political hit pieces
3. Lovely, insulting names and suggestions (some of which I don't think are anatomically possible)
4. Anecdotal evidence (which is impossible to verify, won't stand up in court for either side)
Or
5. Colorful language, filled with epithets and scorn without any other discussion other than where I can go and what I can do to who I work for.

I'm a big boy, anonymous, so it honestly doesn't bother me that much when people with online names like "meatrocket" and "cheesedoodle" spend their precious time away attacking me for a question and opinion I posted on a blog. We didn’t expect the response, and are quite happy for the traffic, so in the end – it works to our advantage. What it does, however, is make it all the much harder for me, and other intelligent people from all sides of life, to take anything that any of them (and the liberals they profess to "represent,yo!") say seriously.
I hope you can appreciate where I am coming from. However, we will have to end by disagreeing on this issue. The data I have seen (which IS independently funded) makes it difficult for me to conclude (as did a previous commenter) that Wal-Mart is evil and seeks the destruction of the little man. What I still maintain, is that there is an awful lot of political posturing and political "hits" going on at the expense of a business.

Wolf Flywheel said...

'anonymous#7',
I really appreciate your sarcastic usage of "Whoops". If you read my posts on this site, you will find that I greatly enjoy sarcasm. I even laughed when I read your comment. I truly did. The problem is that your sarcasm is not all that made my eyes tear from humor. It was your suggestion that I read the "Pulitzer Prize" winning article as well. I wondered as I read it if you had read it yourself. There were several statements in it that you did not mention which I found interesting. These include but are not limited to the following:

"A line has been drawn in the sand," said Donald H. Eiesland, president of Inglewood Park Cemetery and the head of Partners for Progress, a local pro-business group. "It's the union against Wal-Mart. This has nothing to do with Inglewood."
"Wal-Mart Stores Inc. wants to move into the grocery business throughout the state by opening 40 Supercenters, each a 200,000-square-foot behemoth that combines a fully stocked food market with a discount mega-store ? entirely staffed by non-union employees. The United Food and Commercial Workers and the Teamsters are trying to thwart that effort, hoping to save relatively high-paying union jobs."
"We need to have retail outlets that are convenient and offer quality goods and services at low prices," said John Mack, president of the Los Angeles Urban League. "I really think that there are potential economic benefits for this community with the addition of a Wal-Mart."

"We're going to end up just like the Wal-Mart workers," said Rick Middleton, a Teamsters official in Carson who eagerly hands out copies of a paperback called "How Wal-Mart Is Destroying America." "If we don't as labor officials address this issue now, the future for our membership is dismal, very dismal."
"Icaza declared victory. "Wal-Mart's plans to enter the retail grocery business in Inglewood are dead!" he crowed in a union newsletter.
But they weren't. Within a month, Wal-Mart gathered 9,250 signatures on petitions, more than enough to force a public vote."
"As in Inglewood, many union locals have focused on so-called site fights, winning zoning restrictions at the local level. That strategy can temporarily save union jobs and give leaders victories to celebrate, but it does little to stop the long-term march of Wal-Mart, critics say."
"Pushing for zoning restrictions also can backfire, stirring resentment among consumers and business owners ? even those who directly compete with Wal-Mart.
Wal-Mart opponents "try to use the government to accomplish things that they may not be able to accomplish in the marketplace," said Alan Zaremberg, president of the California Chamber of Commerce. "It's not government's role to interfere with what consumers want."
"As it prepared last year to buy and renovate a former Macy's in the south Los Angeles community of Baldwin Hills, corporate officials met with leaders of the Los Angeles Urban League and arranged to hire some employees through the organization.
Allies in organized labor tried to dissuade the Urban League's Mack from cooperating. Normally pro-union, Mack turned them down, saying the community badly needed jobs and low-cost shopping options.

"I'd rather have a person on somebody's payroll ? even if it isn't at the highest wage ? than on the unemployment roll," Mack said. "We're not going to punish job seekers by refusing to refer them to Wal-Mart for a job."
"As he began his study in mid-summer, Freeman told council members that other analyses haven't fairly measured all the pros and cons of the Supercenters. For one thing, he said, savings from lower grocery prices could be used by working-class shoppers for other things, such as buying homes."----

What I noticed is that this articles in no way supports the thought that Wal-Mart decimates the common man. It seems quite evident to me that the local and national unions are the ones who suffer. The article's citing of community members and some leaders shows they want Wal-Mart through petitions and statements. Who does Wal-Mart injure? Sounds like unions. Lets look at that aspect. Some are angry at Wal-Mart and others for outsourcing factory jobs to other countries. Why do they outsource? Because it's expensive to operate through factories here. Why is it expensive here? Unions. I would definitely like to see Wal-Mart fight the unions in factory jobs as much as they do in retail. Then maybe they could produce more stateside. As stated in the article, some grocery stores have to cut back on benefits for their employees due to competition with Wal-Mart making them lose shoppers and money. Why do they lose shoppers? Because of higher prices. Why do they charge higher prices? To pay the salary required by union workers. You mentioned that Wal-Mart pays their employees $9 per hour as opposed to union run stores that pay $19 per hour. Last I checked, $9 per hour was a few dollars above minimum wage, which is more than I would expect as a cashier at a grocery store. Who makes $19 per hour at a grocery store? Management maybe? That's almost $40,000 a year. That's more than most cops and EMS workers make throughout most of the country. It sounds to me like the ones to blame in this situation are the unions. They had their time and place, but that is in the past. There needs to be a new system to assure workers are not mistreated. The leech that is 'union' will suck this country dry long before Wal-Mart will ever be able to find a straw. Lastly, how on earth did that article ever win a 'Pulitzer Prize'? Oh wait, I know. It's because the liberals in the media involved with the prize have a knack for rewarding the mediocre.

Anonymous #7 said...

Responding to J.C. Loophole:

You said "Recent voting data also shows that low-income workers haven't been majority liberal in a while," so I looked for polls broken down by income. Everything I found suggested that low-income workers are the most liberal income group and high-income individuals are the most conservative.

For example, according to CNN's exit polls from the 2004 presidential election, Kerry did best in the "Under $15,000" income group, with 63% of the vote, and second best in the "$15-30,000" income group with 57% of the vote. By constrast, Bush did best in the highest income group ($200,000 or More), which he won with 63% of the vote. I don't know how to paste the table here, so please go look at it on the CNN website. Please let me know if you find any good polls specific to workers - I realize that not all low-income people are low-income workers. I have read that low-income workers become more conservative on social issues despite remaining liberal on economic issues, so maybe that is what you are thinking of.

As for the rest of your comment, you will get no argument from me there. The level of discourse on much of the internet - and on Fark in particular - is very low. It's annoying having idiots on my side, but I suppose it is better to have the idiots in the world supporting what I want then to have them opposing me. I encourage you to ignore the name-callers and propaganda-catapaulters; don't let the fact that internet numbskulls hold a position have any effect on whether you believe facts that support or rebut that position.

Responding to Wolf Flywheel:
If I understand your last post, we actually agree on the basic facts here: Wal-Mart significantly lowers wages by weakening unions. Where we disagree is that I think that lower wages are bad, while you think that lower wages are good. I understand your argument that there will be more jobs if wages are lower, but I disagree.

Wolf Flywheel said...

We actually do not agree. I don't feel that Wal-Mart lowers wages by weakening unions. I feel that by not giving in to the unions, they are not forced to pay a bag boy more than a paramedic.Do you not see a problem with unions strong arming businesses into paying a higher wage for a lower job? Unions care about small business and the country's economic success about as much as they care for Wal-Mart. Lower wages aren't "good" per se, but an imbalance occurs in the general system when the man who does the clean up on aisle 7 makes as much as a trained electrition or some one else who actually sought an education or training for their job.Does anyone remember being told to get an education so you can get a good job? I understand that some cannot help where they work.My father lost his job when I was young and took a job paying much less to assist a plumber. He didn't complain.He continued to apply and search for better paying jobs with benefits until he found something suitable. The company my mother worked for went out of business so she started her own and by her sweat and tears helped my father to support us.They never complained about what they had ,but never stopped looking for something better.If you work in a grocery store, fast food place, gas station or the like then unless you are the owner of manager don't expect too much compensation.They knew that so they prepared themselves for other avenues of earning.The levels of employment make since and make people aspire to do better instead of settling for less.Some union cashiers are making more than some of our soldiers in combat. While we discuss what's fair, is that fair? I feel higher wages are great, but I feel that you should deserve and earn your pay. I don't feel that business should be blackmailed into paying higher for someone just because they belong to a club of bullies. I definately respect your opinion and admire your concern for our fellow countryman's financial situations which I believe is sincere. That is a welcome change. I have enjoyed our debate and appreciate the thought and research you put into it.I have said my piece and hope that instead of parting friends, that we continue to hear from you as an intelligent and concerned regular reader at our site.

J.C. Loophole said...

Anonymous #7 (really - we've spoken so often, shouldn't we be on at least a first name basis?)
One last comment: I concede your point that a majority of low income voters are voting Democrat. You are correct that a majority of low income households poll Democrat. Unfortunately, I did not find anything specific to workers, if you happen to in the near future, drop us a line and give us a link so we can check it out. The Pew Center has some similar results when compared across three election cycles. However, it also demonstrates trends which are showing that Democrats are picking up wealthy workers while the GOP is gaining in low income areas. Here is an interesting article about this from the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A56905-2001Mar25?language=printer
I believe the information I found while researching my article was on Party Affiliation by income ( I cannot find the link now) I also believe social issues was a primary factor and very well may have been what I was initially thinking of. As you and I both know - voters aren't always affiliate with a particular party, but may identify with it. Voting, polling, and party data can show different results. So while I agree with your contention, I would add that caveat that trends are showing some changes, especially by region. For example, some states like CA, MA, NY, and OR are nominally Democratic states and have a higher median income than some states in southern and midwest regions which have trended towards voting GOP in the last two decades.

Numbers aside, I do want to thank you for the engaging debate. I appreciate everything you said and look forward to more information from you and your opinions. We may not agree on some things (and we probably agree on a lot more than we think), but it's nice to be able to actually have an intelligent discussion. I don't like the idea of "sides"- my country and my fellow man are my "sides", but I recognize that we sometimes take opposing positions on issues. That's Ok and that's good, as long as it takes a smart tone and not a "fark" tone. We love freedom of speech, and we have strong opinions- but we tow nobody's party line.

It is our hope that you will come back and join us again for other discussions and also when we talk about less serious things like pop culture and more serious things like movies and music.

Anonymous said...

Blah blah blah.

I don't care about any of the points posed either way.

I shop at Wal-Mart because they are cheaper and the money saved affords me money to do more with my family.

Bottom line.

If these small businesses and supermarkets want to gain back my business, maybe they should lower their god damn prices.

This isn't no hippie fight about ethics.

This is life.

I am a working class man trying to support my family on crap wages. Any way I can find to save us a few bucks I will do it.

Want a real target?

Go after the fast food joints who pull billions of dollars a year and don't pay their employees a living wage OR offer benefits.

Shit, Wal-Mart employees make more money than I do. . .


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