Wednesday, August 30, 2006

What do Democrats have against Walmart?

I have just never understood it. Walmart saves regular Americans money. I never really hear any of Walmart's employees complaining about low benefits or low pay. I am sure there are some employees that complain, but as a general rule, most are not complaining.

So why do Democrats hate Walmart so much?

I read this interesting piece about Walmart at Real Clear Politics-

WASHINGTON -- It's not surprising that, as The New York Times reports, leading Democratic politicians have latched onto bashing Wal-Mart as a "new rallying cry'' that "could prove powerful in the midterm elections and in 2008.'' America's political culture routinely demands at least one hideous corporate villain. In recent decades that role has fallen to General Motors, IBM, Exxon Mobil and Microsoft; now Wal-Mart has assumed the mantle. But these wishy-washy politicians have missed the obvious solution to the Wal-Mart problem: nationalization.
Congress should just buy the company and then legislate good behavior. Wal-Mart executives "talk about paying them (workers) $10 an hour,'' Sen. Joseph Biden told a rally in Iowa, according to the Times. "How can you live a middle-class life on that?''

Well, if $10 is too little, the government could order the Department of Wal-Mart to pay more. How about $15 or $20? Similarly, if Wal-Mart's health insurance is inadequate, Congress could command more coverage. (I asked Wal-Mart for coverage figures, which it declined to provide. All a spokesperson said is that more than half its 1.3 million U.S. employees are full time, enjoying higher coverage rates, and that 75 percent of all workers have some coverage through the company, the government or spouses' plans.)

OK, I jest. Congress isn't going to buy Wal-Mart -- which would cost roughly $183 billion at its current stock price of about $44 a share -- and I don't think it should. Still, pretending to nationalize Wal-Mart is a useful thought exercise. It shows why Wal-Mart as a government agency would actually provide fewer public benefits than as a grubby, profit-seeking colossus. The company's incentives would shift. Instead of trying to lower costs, improve efficiency and raise profits, it would focus on pleasing its political patrons and complying with their demands.


1 comment:

Cate said...

It's so frustrating, isn't it? The people that work there don't seem to mind it but liberals have decided that Walmart doesn't pay enough so they're going to highlight the plight of the poor Walmart worker who doesn't even know s/he is a victim. Aren't the liberals wonderful? They're going to put people out of jobs and price ordinary, cash strapped Americans out of laundry soap and diapers all in the name of protecting the "little guy."