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Pandering for Votes: The Democrats war against Wal-Mart
Posted by: McQ on Friday, August 18, 2006

Politically this still amazes me:
Imagine a private group that pays billions in taxes, creates millions of jobs and sells things at ultra-low prices. Too good to be true? It's called Wal-Mart — and Democrats, for some reason, want to kill it off.

Here, for example, was Delaware senator and presidential wannabe Joseph Biden, at an anti-Wal-Mart rally Tuesday in Des Moines, Iowa, delivering what even The New York Times saw as "a blistering attack" on the world's largest retailer:

"My problem with Wal-Mart is that I don't see any indication that they care about the fate of middle-class people. They talk about paying them $10 an hour. That's true. How can you live a middle-class life on that?"
Oh I don't know, by looking for a higher paying job? And who knows, you might use your work at Wal-Mart as a resume enhancer while doing so.

What is it with the concerted attack on Wal-Mart by Democrats? Even Evan Bayh is getting in on the act:
Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, former head of the supposedly moderate Democratic Leadership Council and another presidential aspirant, is also a basher. "Wal-Mart," he said, "has become emblematic of the anxiety around the country, and the middle-class squeeze."
I hate to break it to the Dems, but the "middle class" doesn't work at Wal-Mart. And if members of the middle class do it is probably on a part-time or "extra money" basis, but not as the primary bread winner for a family. That is, if they're middle class as claimed. As Biden points out, $10 an won't get you into the middle class.

So who decided it was was Wal-Mart's job to move people into the middle class?

No, where the middle class is getting killed is when illegal immigrants, in areas like the construction trades, come in and undercut pricing so much that plumbers, carpenters, painters, masons and other workers can't earn a decent day's wages anymore. Or when factories shut down because they're no longer competitive in the world market. Creative destruction That's where the middle class is going. It's not because of Wal-Mart for heaven sake.

The good news is the middle class will survive, as it always does, in areas we've not even imagined as of yet as the cycle continues to create new jobs in new areas.

Nope. The attention Wal-Mart gets from Democrats is all about pandering to unions. This has nothing to do with the "middle class", this has to do with solidifying political support. "We get you into Wal-Mart, you turn out the vote for us". As Investors Business Daily points out, this isn't any big secret:
By now, of course, it's become obvious that Democrats aren't so much anti-Wal-Mart as they are pro-organized labor — their richest and most powerful base of support. Wal-Mart is nonunion, and Big Labor is going all-out to change that.
As for the real numbers? Well, no one said a politician wouldn't bend the truth. No one said bloggers couldn't call 'em on it either:
Yet despite unions' widely disseminated claims, the wages that Wal-Mart pays its employees are competitive. In 2004, Global Insight found that the average wage nationwide for jobs equivalent to Wal-Mart's was $8.46 an hour. Wal-Mart paid $9.17.
Any half-assed student of economics knows what this really means. A union Wal-Mart means higher wages and more benefits. That means what, class? Higher costs. Since stores pass along higher costs, where do they end up? At the cash register.

In effect, then, the Democrats war against Wal-Mart is a war against the poor and middle class who benefit from those ultra-low prices Wal-Mart is presently able to offer.

So no, this isn't about the middle class or a concern for them. It is about straight up pandering for votes. But here is the interesting thing about picking Wal-Mart:
Sixty-two percent of adults recently surveyed by Democratic pollster Thomas Riehle said they "disapprove" of "Democratic candidates making Wal-Mart an issue in November's election." Just 21% approved.
So keep it up Dems. While I've never considered Joe Biden to be the sharpest knife in the drawer, you'd think an Evan Bayh would know better ... but then it is the political season and politicians are known to go pander-crazy at times.

UPDATE: It's not that Wal-Mart doesn't have other problems as well.
The civil rights leader Andrew Young, who was hired by Wal-Mart to improve its public image, resigned from that post last night after telling an African-American newspaper that Jewish, Arab and Korean shop owners had “ripped off” urban communities for years, “selling us stale bread, and bad meat and wilted vegetables.

In the interview, published yesterday in The Los Angeles Sentinel, a weekly, Mr. Young said that Wal-Mart “should” displace mom-and-pop stores in urban neighborhoods.

“You see those are the people who have been overcharging us,” he said of the owners of the small stores, “and they sold out and moved to Florida. I think they’ve ripped off our communities enough. First it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now it’s Arabs.”
Great spokesman there, Wal-Mart. Yeow.

Well, at least for once it isn't "whitey".
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
Smelly hippies feel that raising prices with anti-"Big Box" schemes to promote "Mom & Pop" local rip-offs and corrupt violent unions is a way to "help" the middle class. But when has peacelovedope ever helped anyone except smelly hippies?
 
Written By: Clearthought
URL: http://www.google.com
This is what comes when the Proletarians lose their Class Consciousness and Adopt the Bourgeois False Conscious. Thankfully there members of the Vangaurd of the Working Classes who see clearly and are attmepting to direct the economy into a more socially just paradigm.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
What really will hurt the middle class is having to shell out *higher* prices for items they’re getting cheaper now. And what will really hurt the poor will be the big box retailers running away from overregulated urban areas, as is about to happen in Chicago.

Besides the panderers, who wins exactly?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Besides the panderers, who wins exactly?
I think in the short term the unions would win. But then WalMart would be on it’s death bed.

I hate this kind of pandering. My head wants to explode when I hear ’how’s someone supposed to take care of a family of four on $10 an hour?’!!!!!!!!!!! When the question should be ’how can someone be so IRRESPONSIBLE as to have a family of FOUR and you are only earning $10 an hour?’!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Since when is a company responsible for the ensuring that it’s employees earn enough money to live above the poverty line or at any specified quality of life level? When I decided to get married and start a family it became my responsibility to ensure that I earned enough money to feed, cloth, and house my family not my employer. If someone is trying to raise a family on a single income from any employer and can’t make ends meet that is their decision and their problem not the employers.

I’m no fan of walmart but they are in business to make money not to support families. If the democraps keep this type of crap up we may as well just abandon capitalism and become communist.

These quotes come from http://www.wakeupwalmart.com/tour/facts/ an anti walmart site.
The average two-person family (one parent and one child) needed $27,948 to meet basic needs in 2005, well above what Wal-Mart reports that its average full-time associate earns. Wal-Mart claimed that its average associate earned $9.68 an hour in 2005. That would make the average associate’s annual wages $17,114. [“Basic Family Budget Calculator” online at www.epinet.org]
Wal-Mart can cover the cost of a dollar an hour wage increase by raising prices a half penny per dollar. For instance, a $2.00 pair of socks would then cost $2.01. This minimal increase would annually add up to $1,800 for each employee. [Analysis of Wal-Mart Annual Report 2005]
Ok here goes my attempt at math.
$17,114 + $1,800 = $18,914. Dang could have sworn it would have come out to $27,948. Nope they would have to raise the hourly wage just over $15 to reach the $27,948 mark and raise prices by 2.5 pennies per dollar (actually more when you figure in taxes).



 
Written By: Mac
URL: http://
$10.00/hr = Middle class...

And they mocked Old GHW Bush because he didn’t know about grocery store bar code readers, and claimed he was wildly out of touch with the people.

Back to $10.00/hr = middle class.
Talk about wildly out of touch.

Then again, I forget, I’m probably ’rich’ because I make more than that, and I don’t blindly vote democrat.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Nope they would have to raise the hourly wage just over $15
Have no fear! The Chicago “big box” ordinance raises the minimum wage to $15 (including benefits) by 2010.

I’ve posted on this idiocy a couple of times. All the sane people, including Mayor Daley, have come out against it. The number of people who would actually be helped by this law is extremely small (not even all of the employees at Wal-Mart). It defies understanding.
 
Written By: Dave Schuler
URL: http://www.theglitteringeye.com
Actually Young did alright up to "...wilted vegetables." I’m not a PR person but I think Young and Walmart might have been onto something. "Mom & Pop" need to be counter-attacked. Young was onto something, rather than kow-towing to Mom & Pop he moved to the offense, they charge too much for goods! Someone might very well try to point that out...without talking about Jews, Arabs, Koreans and the like.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Testing. Testing. Post blocked by AUTO-censor for some banned term I don’t see in my "clean as a whistle" post...
 
Written By: C. Ford
URL: http://
First half of post:


 
Written By: C. Ford
URL: http://
The amazing thing is all the arguments by wealthy "Ownership Society" people about cheap labor at WalMart were also made on behalf of the "poor, suffering" restaurant and hotel workers losing their jobs if the Owner Class was forced to pay them 12-15 an hour plus health care.
 
Written By: C. Ford
URL: http://
OK, I found the offending paragraph. Now I have to find AUTO-censor’s "forbidden word."

The amazing thing is all the arguments by wealthy "Ownership Society" people about cheap labor at X were also made on behalf of the "poor, suffering" restaurant and hotel workers losing their jobs if the Owner Class was forced to pay them 12-15 an hour plus health care. If Service Employees International union was allowed to represent them in Hotel chains and X’s
 
Written By: C. Ford
URL: http://
Umm, I hate to break it to you folks but you can’t actually buy EVERYTHING at Wal-Mart. Suppose Wal-Mart unionizes, wages go up, Wal-Mart provides decent health care coverage to all employees, and their prices go up. Will that really hurt the working class? No, because Wal-Mart employees would have more money to spend on other things like gas, heat, electricity, food and other things you don’t actually get at Wal-Mart. Oh, and they’d have more money to spend on those Wal-Mart products. Meanwhile, with competitive wages higher, other workers would have more money to spend too. The idea that supporting cheap labor stores is somehow good for working-class people takes us back to the days before Henry Ford discovered the amazing power of high wages on productivity and consumer spending. If wage and price hikes at Wal-Mart causes an inflationary spiral across the whole economy than our economy is much weaker than I thought.
 
Written By: Elrod
URL: http://
OK, I found the "forbidden word"!

It is that word for place that exists on many Indian Reservations and tourist destinations where people bet - where Stern of Service Employees International Union organized with NO JOB LOSS and workers got 30-45% more pay plus healthcare, and expenses to host communities for subsidizing the "X’s" parasitic employment practices plummeted.

The same argument is being made about WalMart and others foisting the costs of low-pay no benefit immigrants it brings in on the Host Community are being challenged, for any number of good reasons.
 
Written By: C. Ford
URL: http://
C.Ford when a job generates $20 in income and it costs $19.00-$21.00 the job will disappear. Now if you think that it’s WRONG for hotels and restaurants to "exploit" folks at less than $15 an hour and benfits, OK. But do expect to see these jobs disappear. Or you can expect to pay a LOT more for a hotel room and a meal.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
If there is a serious and widening gap between rich and poor, why is there so much concern about paying low-wage people higher wages? If it’s across the board, the market will adjust. All this Cassandra talk about spiraling inflation and a collapsing economy in the event of unionization at Wal-Mart is just silly. Is our nation’s wealth so fragile that it can’t handle wage increases at the bottom? I know that the libertarians here are opposed, in principle, to minimum wage laws. Fine. Why not allow workers to bargain collectively? If they don’t want to then fine. But I bet they wouldn’t mind a shot at it.
 
Written By: Elrod
URL: http://
Why not allow workers to bargain collectively? If they don’t want to then fine. But I bet they wouldn’t mind a shot at it.
Exactly. I don’t get what’s so wrong about the concept. Employees have interests too...

Besides, if the WalMart model is so fragile that the slightest pay raise would make it collapse, then wouldn’t the proper response be "eh, I guess WalMart can’t hack it in the market"? Last time I checked, labor didn’t operate by a different set of rules. Forcing them by law to pay more is ridiculous, I agree there. However, there is a lot of space between "the government should not be involved" and "unionizers are a bunch of commies".

BTW: there’s a libertarian reason to criticize Wal-Mart. Specifically, the use of eminent domain to make room for new stores by kicking people out of their homes.
 
Written By: anon E. Mouse
URL: http://
Besides, if the WalMart model is so fragile that the slightest pay raise would make it collapse, then wouldn’t the proper response be "eh, I guess WalMart can’t hack it in the market"?
Besides, if the mom & pop model is so fragile that competing with WalMart would make it collapse, then wouldn’t the proper response be "eh, I guess mom & pop can’t hack it in the market"? My Rainbow hippie son likes to point out that it wasn’t WalMart that killed the mom & pop stores, it was Zayre.

When the plan to build the first WalMart in Milwaukee was announced, the usual suspects proclaimed that the community didn’t want it; they wanted small independent specialty stores. Funny thing. The site in question was a failed shopping center where nobody went to shop at the small specialty stores. The last survivor there sold closeout sports fan paraphenalia.
 
Written By: triticale
URL: http://triticale.mu.nu
And they mocked Old GHW Bush because he didn’t know about grocery store bar code readers, and claimed he was wildly out of touch with the people.
As a matter of fact GHW’s amazement was that the new second-generation bar code readers, unlike the ones he was familiar with, could read the bar code quickly regardless of the angle at which it was presented.
 
Written By: triticale
URL: http://triticale.mu.nu
BTW: there’s a libertarian reason to criticize Wal-Mart. Specifically, the use of eminent domain to make room for new stores by kicking people out of their homes.
That’s a great criticism of government and the corrupt practice of eminent domain. Wal-mart is but one company that has taken advantage of this unfortunate government failure. In a way the Chicago city council has solved this probem since Wal-mart and Target won’t be building any more stores there, hence no need for eminent domain.
 
Written By: DS
URL: http://
"it wasn’t WalMart that killed the mom & pop stores, it was Zayre."

And 7-11, High’s, Exxon, Shell, Drug Fair, Safeway, ...etc. ad inf. Even McDonalds put its fair share of small restaurants out of business.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

 
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