The Many Sins of Walmart

August 17, 2006

Walmart has now taken over Exxon Mobil’s position as the prime example of evil big buisness. Exxon Mobil is losing this battle but they are fighting for that title hard. The Liberals have gone into fits about how terrible Walmart is for Mom and Pop stores across the country and how it’s bad for the economy in general. A basic look at the claims however, reveals a far different tale.

  1. Walmart doesn’t pay its workers enough: This is an example of moral absolutism on the part of the Liberals with reference to some basic right that I’ve never seen in any Constitution or statute. Where is there this idea that there is a right to any specific wage level. There clearly is no right to any income from your job considering that you can be rejected for employment even if you have no shot at any other job. Therefore, if you are seeking a job you have to get some wage amount which may be less than the minimum wage. But considering the number of unskilled labor jobs in the U.S. it doesn’t seem that these workers for Walmart are worth $20 an hour but are getting shafted by the evil Walmart. No, these people are worth $9 an hour and are getting paid that amount of money. So what does, “not enough pay” mean, not enough pay to meet your artificial poverty line? These people are paid in accordance to a law as basic as gravity. (Liberal: The Earth is exerting too much force on the little guy. And the gravity field isn’t regulated by government or unionized [the horror]. Besides gravity plays a key role in the ruination of our enviroment due to global warming [no gravity and we have a cool world indeed, around -273 actually] we must fight this malign force.)
  2. Walmart doesn’t give their employees enough benefits forcing their employees to go on Medicaid: This point isn’t understood generally but this is an example of Walmart helping the little guy against the biggest guy around. This has two parts, first if you could choose between your pay in cash or Barnes and Noble gift certificates which would you choose. Obviously you’d want the cash because then you decide what level of books you want. The reason health care is different is because the system has been messed up by the government and the HMOs trying to maintain their monopoly. There is no reason that health insurance should come from your employer, after all the food and the electricity don’t. The problem is that states have passed minimum coverage laws and banned interstate insurance sales. What is left is close to a monopoly in certain areas. With the assistance of the hospitals who have a strong incentive for the majority of people to be insured by the same HMO they jack up prices artificially on routine checkups. This keeps people from switching to catastrophic coverage plans or just making private pools of a few thousand people. The second part of why Walmart is helping their workers is far less understood by people. Let’s suppose that Walmart has a fixed wage and benefits level for entry-level positions of say $10 also let’s suppose that all these workers qualify for Medicaid unless they are already insured. Any fool can see that you should take the $10 solely in cash and let the government cover you. As to the complaint that they’re cheating the government somehow I would have to answer that if what the are doing is legal they have a moral obligation to their stockholders to exploit the government inefficiencies. Remearkably the Liberals (not liberals that group doesn’t deserve to have their name tarnished with this group) never make this claim when it comes to minority owned companies. Should they agree to do the contracts for the price of a lower bidder if they were selected only because their head is a minority, no. The government passes a stupid law and your job is to exploit the law for all its worth.
  3. Walmart destroys the Mom and Pop stores in Smalltown, USA: Yes, so they destroy them because they are deserving of failure. Let’s suppose for a moment as the Liberals do that these stores are inherently better. If they are better it must be because they would be chosen by the customers all other things being equal. If so then they have a competitive advantage and have a fighting chance against Walmart and the rest. Those which don’t survive are those which don’t have enough natural advantages to overcome Walmart’s natural advantage. This is basic evolutionairy biology applied to the free market. However the Liberals favor a creationism approach, “The market started out as it is now and should be kept that way forever”. On those grounds the teaching of socialism should be banned in public schools.
  4. Walmart doesn’t let unions in their stores. True and completely justified. Walmart has a high turnover and unions wouldn’t help their entry-level workers because it isn’t worth the trouble of cultivating these workers when they’ll be gone in a few months. Their efforts would be mainly for middle management and they wouldn’t raise wages at all.
  5. Mercantilism: No that isn’t what these critics of Walmart call their theories, but that is what it is. The idea that Walmart is hurting America by letting the Chinese sell us low-priced goods made by American companies is ridiculous. This goes along with their economic creationism. In 1900, the theory goes, manufacturing was key to a city’s development, therefore it must be key today. This theory isn’t even worth the trouble of rebutting, so I won’t.