Green Room

In defense of Wal-Mart

posted at 12:38 pm on November 24, 2012 by

Interesting stuff from Reason’s Peter Suderman, currently making the rounds in the conservative Twittersphere. As with America, so too with Wal-Mart: There’s simply not enough money held by the rich to pay for what progressives want. The money will have to come from the middle class. Or, in Wal-Mart’s case, the lower class.

Here’s Suderman on this morning’s “Up with Chris Hayes” trying to get a word in edgewise to make this same point.

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If the price of low prices is a workforce without health care, paid sick leave, or a livable wage, what is the point?

ernesto on November 24, 2012 at 12:41 PM

If the price of low prices is a workforce without health care, paid sick leave, or a livable wage, what is the point?

ernesto on November 24, 2012 at 12:41 PM

Raise the prices to cover the increased labor costs, and WM loses customers who can’t afford higher prices, then the fewer customers lead to layoffs because business is down, and the workforce to be “helped” is now unemployed.

Wethal on November 24, 2012 at 12:53 PM

If the price of low prices is a workforce without health care, paid sick leave, or a livable wage, what is the point?

ernesto on November 24, 2012 at 12:41 PM

The point isn’t about what Walmart doesn’t provide. These jobs should be stepping stones to other jobs or stop-gaps for those that need part-time employment (think of other “stay-at-home moms” like me who need the extra money to help the family but can’t afford a full-time job).

The question to ask is why we are losing so many good-paying jobs? Why are so many businesses going under? Why don’t we see more start-ups? Why do so many businesses have hiring freezes or lay-offs?

Laura in Maryland on November 24, 2012 at 1:10 PM

For heaven’s sake, enough with the “pity the poor Walmart worker” crap already!
People choose to work for Walmart. No one holds a gun to their heads and forces them to work there. The fact that they turn over about half their employees every year (a BLS statistic) proves that. They know when they apply what the salary and benefits are. If or when they need a bigger paycheck, they either promote within the company or they quit and go somewhere else.
It’s simple. They run a business, not a charity.

n0doz on November 24, 2012 at 1:19 PM

If the price of low prices is a workforce without health care, paid sick leave, or a livable wage, what is the point?

ernesto on November 24, 2012 at 12:41 PM

Funny, most of the guys that do the work I do, have wives that happily work at Walmart for the health care benefit. Being a contractor, you do not get health care benefits. Walmart is everywhere, and it is easy to transfer with your husband to a new Walmart.

astonerii on November 24, 2012 at 1:24 PM

The type of work at these sort of retailers is more suited for the skills of high school and college students and isn’t really meant to be something to support a family or live on.

Imrahil on November 24, 2012 at 1:24 PM

Hatred of Wal-Mart is class snobbery. You see it on the People of Wal-Mart website.

thebrokenrattle on November 24, 2012 at 1:25 PM

The question to ask is why we are losing so many good-paying jobs? Why are so many businesses going under? Why don’t we see more start-ups? Why do so many businesses have hiring freezes or lay-offs?

bho/team/taxes going through the roof/bhocare/union thugs/and lazy people who think they need to be paid top wage for doing nothing/having to help pay of millions upon millions getting ‘free stuff’!

NO business, at least not many, can survive having to deal with the above mentioned. Businesses are in business to make money, not have to pay to lose money.
L

letget on November 24, 2012 at 1:29 PM

Higher prices at Walmart also hurts lower and middle class shoppers who can’t afford to shop at Whole Foods and Macys.

hopeful on November 24, 2012 at 1:32 PM

whatsa ‘livable wage’?

tom daschle concerned on November 24, 2012 at 1:33 PM

If the price of low prices is a workforce without health care, paid sick leave, or a livable wage, what is the point?

ernesto

When liberals just make sh*t up as they go along, what’s the point of facts?

xblade on November 24, 2012 at 1:34 PM

ernesto on November 24, 2012 at 12:41 PM

You seem to forget that the employee is also a consumer.

Cindy Munford on November 24, 2012 at 1:41 PM

This is how logic on the left often goes. They see a problem, misidentify the cause of the problem and demand a fix that either doesn’t fix the problem or makes the problem worse. If people are working at a minimum wage job the root of the problem is why can they only get that kind of job. Maybe they are students or seniors making a few extra bucks. If they are supporting a family and that’s the best job they can get then why? Did they finish high school? Did they get any post high school training/degrees? Why not? That is the issue, not that Walmart isn’t paying some imagines “livable wage.”

hopeful on November 24, 2012 at 1:43 PM

I remember when I was first conscripted to labor at walmart at an unlivable wage…man those times were tough, but you know what? I learned to vote democrat to fix all my problems.

tom daschle concerned on November 24, 2012 at 1:44 PM

imagined

hopeful on November 24, 2012 at 1:44 PM

So the object of a union is to raise wages enough to pay union dues. Depending on your hours and wages you need a raise of 3-7% just to pay the dues at $40 per month, which is an after tax expense. And the upside for the employee is.

BullShooterAsInElk on November 24, 2012 at 1:49 PM

One of the more interesting observations about lefty dislike of WalMart was that it enabled those below the middle class to live a middle class lifestyle.

While the goods might not be the same quality as a department store, the goods were still similar (clothes, household goods, electronics) enough to imitate the middle class lifestyle.

And why would lefties dislike this? Because it was social mobility of a sort that was achieved without any big government program.

It is an article of faith to many lefties that the poor can only raised up with government intervention. The free market is not supposed to do it.

Wethal on November 24, 2012 at 1:56 PM

WalMart will stop being a target for the Left five minutes after they unionize.

WalMart has something like 1.6 million U.S. employees. Multiply that by the $20 to $60 a month each employee pays in union dues, and you’re looking at between $384 million and $1.1 billion a year funneled to the unions, with a nice cut of that going to the Democratic Party, and only the Democratic Party.

Follow the money.

tbrosz on November 24, 2012 at 2:01 PM

If the cost of living is more than any given employer can afford to pay their employees, whose fault is it?
If the cost of a “mandated standard of provision” upon employers causes joblessness, whose fault is it?
.
.

If the price of low prices is a workforce without health care, paid sick leave, or a livable wage, what is the point?

ernesto

.
When liberals just make sh*t up as they go along, what’s the point of facts?

xblade on November 24, 2012 at 1:34 PM

.
Ernie’, how (expletive) stupid can you be?

xblade wins !

listens2glenn on November 24, 2012 at 2:43 PM

One of the more interesting observations about lefty dislike of WalMart was that it enabled those below the middle class to live a middle class lifestyle.

While the goods might not be the same quality as a department store, the goods were still similar (clothes, household goods, electronics) enough to imitate the middle class lifestyle.

And why would lefties dislike this? Because it was social mobility of a sort that was achieved without any big government program.

It is an article of faith to many lefties that the poor can only raised up with government intervention. The free market is not supposed to do it.

Wethal on November 24, 2012 at 1:56 PM

There may be great truth in this.

But, on the other hand, just because the left dislikes Wal-mart so much doesn’t mean that the right has to support it so fervently.

I have alternatives to Wal-mart where I live, so I shop there. I do understand that not all people have this luxury. Wal-mart is a massive rent-seeker and is responsible, in part, for most of the governmental decisions to raise the minimum wage. See, Wal-mart fervently opposes any minimum wage increases–except when they support them. When AT&T sees competitors gaining ground in certain regions, they leverage their lobbying power to disadvantage those competitors by getting the minimum wage increased, or to have environmental safety standards imposed that will cut into Wal-mart’s overhead, but will also cut into a competitor’s overhead, hurting them more than it would Wal-mart. That kind of behavior is odious and antithetical to free-market capitalism, and conservatives should not support it. Wal-mart has learned to use its influence to operate effectively in a crony capitalist system, which puts it among government lapdogs like GE, GM, and AT&T.

mintycrys on November 24, 2012 at 4:47 PM

There may be great truth in this.

But, on the other hand, just because the left dislikes Wal-mart so much doesn’t mean that the right has to support it so fervently.

I have alternatives to Wal-mart where I live, so I shop there. I do understand that not all people have this luxury. Wal-mart is a massive rent-seeker and is responsible, in part, for most of the governmental decisions to raise the minimum wage. See, Wal-mart fervently opposes any minimum wage increases–except when they support them. When AT&T sees competitors gaining ground in certain regions, they leverage their lobbying power to disadvantage those competitors by getting the minimum wage increased, or to have environmental safety standards imposed that will cut into Wal-mart’s overhead, but will also cut into a competitor’s overhead, hurting them more than it would Wal-mart. That kind of behavior is odious and antithetical to free-market capitalism, and conservatives should not support it. Wal-mart has learned to use its influence to operate effectively in a crony capitalist system, which puts it among government lapdogs like GE, GM, and AT&T.

mintycrys on November 24, 2012 at 4:47 PM

So whose fault is that? Walmart’s, or the government that exercises power such that rent seeking is possible, and maybe even necessary to do business in this environment?

I say the same thing to “conservatives” that complain about overseas outsourcing: If you want businesses to stay, or even come back, it is up to government to make the environment as hospitable for them as possible. At this point, government does the opposite and makes the business environment here as hostile as possible. This is the framework in which Walmart along with every other American corporation must function.

gryphon202 on November 24, 2012 at 5:40 PM

So whose fault is that? Walmart’s, or the government that exercises power such that rent seeking is possible, and maybe even necessary to do business in this environment?

Who says we can’t blame both? We can, and should, hold both responsible for their actions. Leviathan is doing what Leviathan does, and Wal-mart is more than happy to play the game. Wal-mart doesn’t have to disadvantage smaller competitors to remain on top. Plenty of businesses do fine without leveraging the power of big government to get a bigger piece of the pie rather than baking more pies.

mintycrys on November 24, 2012 at 5:51 PM

Who says we can’t blame both? We can, and should, hold both responsible for their actions. Leviathan is doing what Leviathan does, and Wal-mart is more than happy to play the game. Wal-mart doesn’t have to disadvantage smaller competitors to remain on top. Plenty of businesses do fine without leveraging the power of big government to get a bigger piece of the pie rather than baking more pies.

mintycrys on November 24, 2012 at 5:51 PM

Take care of tyrannical government, and the rest will necessarily take care of itself. Easier said than done, I know, but as I am so fond of mentioning in these comments, solving a problem first requires an accurate diagnosis.

gryphon202 on November 24, 2012 at 6:02 PM

Wal-mart doesn’t have to disadvantage smaller competitors to remain on top. Plenty of businesses do fine without leveraging the power of big government to get a bigger piece of the pie rather than baking more pies.

mintycrys on November 24, 2012 at 5:51 PM

Oh grow up!

Vince on November 24, 2012 at 6:14 PM

Take care of tyrannical government, and the rest will necessarily take care of itself. Easier said than done, I know, but as I am so fond of mentioning in these comments, solving a problem first requires an accurate diagnosis.

gryphon202 on November 24, 2012 at 6:02 PM

A shame that enough of the electorate that voted doesn’t view government as increasingly restrictive on its freedom per unit size, but as a kindly old gentleman willing to help any and all with the humility to ask. Try enlisting people to dial back a giant with a PR arm that can pull off that kind of image rehabilitation.

If you find my tail, be a pal and help me pin it back on.

mintycrys on November 24, 2012 at 6:21 PM

Chris Hayes sets the record for the highest recorded Word/Content ratio.

aquaviva on November 24, 2012 at 7:13 PM

There seem to be an awful lot of people who consider Wal-mart wages to be “livable.”

mbs on November 24, 2012 at 7:26 PM

So every employer should provide comprehensive healthcare, a “living” wage and retirement benefits?
In other words you want it to be impossible to employ large swaths of the population including those in high school or going to colleg. Thomas Sowell has spoken often of the damage the minimum wage has done to young black people (and other poor people) looking for work. If you make it to expensive to pay someone for the labor you need you find a way not to need it or stretch the labor of those you do hire.

Look to Europe – especially France – for what happens when you follow ernesto’s lead: high youth unemployment, stagnant economy and companies afraid to hire people even when times are good.

gwelf on November 24, 2012 at 8:25 PM

If the price of low prices Obamacare is a workforce without health care, paid sick leave, or a livable wage, what is the point?

FIFY, since that’s what ChoomCare is forcing employers to do.

RoadRunner on November 24, 2012 at 8:35 PM

Oh grow up!

Vince on November 24, 2012 at 6:14 PM

That’s basic economics you wingnut crybaby, grow up yourself! Or at least it USED to be until crony capitalists subverted things. How do you think businesses used to grow before Uncle Sugar cut them special breaks by the hundred???

MelonCollie on November 24, 2012 at 9:08 PM

If the price of low prices is a workforce without health care, paid sick leave, or a livable wage, what is the point?

ernesto on November 24, 2012 at 12:41 PM

Um, full-time hourly associates are entitled to the same benefits options that are available to salaried associates. That includes paid vacation and health insurance. The average hourly wage for store associates in the United States is nearly $13/hr — that’s well above minimum wage and is actually liveable in many parts of the country. I know you find this difficult to believe, but there *IS* life outside Manhattan.

NoLeftTurn on November 24, 2012 at 9:11 PM

Hatred of Wal-Mart is class snobbery. You see it on the People of Wal-Mart website.

thebrokenrattle on November 24, 2012 at 1:25 PM

No, it’s hatred of bad taste and tackiness. You don’t have to be rich to find clothing that covers one’s butt or fits appropriately or doesn’t make someone look like a circus clown.

Now why a good portion of the tacky and tasteless congregate to Walmart so the POW site has easy pickings? Dunno.

kim roy on November 24, 2012 at 9:25 PM

Now why a good portion of the tacky and tasteless congregate to Walmart so the POW site has easy pickings? Dunno.

kim roy on November 24, 2012 at 9:25 PM

.
The “tacky and tasteless” like low prices, as much as the rest of us.

listens2glenn on November 25, 2012 at 1:57 AM

I’m headin’ to my Wally job in about 20 minutes. I’m a produce clerk-not a rocket scientist. I like my salary, I like the extras, I get insurance through my husband’s job, I like Wal-Mart. May of my fellow associates agree. Leave us alone.

annoyinglittletwerp on November 25, 2012 at 5:53 AM

Many.

annoyinglittletwerp on November 25, 2012 at 5:54 AM

No, it’s hatred of bad taste and tackiness. You don’t have to be rich to find clothing that covers one’s butt or fits appropriately or doesn’t make someone look like a circus clown.

Now why a good portion of the tacky and tasteless congregate to Walmart so the POW site has easy pickings? Dunno.

kim roy on November 24, 2012 at 9:25 PM

Complaining about “tackiness” is the very definition of snobbery.

Count to 10 on November 25, 2012 at 7:56 AM

Don’t like Walmart? Don’t work or shop there. In fact, start your own department chain. You may have a little trouble moving your 50 dollar Chinese T-shirts, but at least you’ll have something else to think about besides your self-righteousness.

S. D. on November 25, 2012 at 9:54 AM

In one of the many aspects of my job, I price-check certain items at various stores. Walmart isn’t as good as it used to be, but their prices are usually much better on the exact same groceries as in more upscale stores. While I would never go in any store on Black Friday, when I visit, Walmart stores are usually clean and well-stocked. I am getting a little tired of Target’s pretentious nature. They are getting more and more difficult to work with, too.

Fallon on November 25, 2012 at 10:26 AM

I tihnk the tacky and tasteless is so much more easily found at Walmart because so many more people shop there. Leave it to the libs and pseudoconservatives to demonize success.

gryphon202 on November 25, 2012 at 10:48 AM

I think the tacky and tasteless is so much more easily found at Walmart because so many more people shop there. Leave it to the libs and pseudoconservatives to demonize success.

gryphon202 on November 25, 2012 at 10:48 AM

I think tacky, tasteless and gruesome can be found more often in Beverly Hills.

Fallon on November 25, 2012 at 11:54 AM

Our daughter is an Archie engineer. She did a couple of stores for Walmart in Chitown. She was recruited by Harvard but turned them down because she was not only a top Merit Scholar, she was a top track star. As a new grad she was in demand.
It is easier to get admitted to Hawvud than get a Walmart job in Chitown..
One of the Chicago stores had 25,000 job applicants and another had 15,000 job applicants.

Harvard has 7% acceptance rate. Walmart closer to 1%.

seven on November 25, 2012 at 12:01 PM

Mr. Suderman claims to be a regular Walmart customer, but he must be the worst comparison shopper in the world. Their pricing is only low when you compare it to the full list price on name-brand items at other retailers — but that is an invalid comparison, as competing chains such as Kroger’s and Safeway not only have their own generic brands, but also rotate the items on sale so that you can actually plan ahead, never pay full price, and save approximately 25% vs. always buying everything at Walmart.

HTL on November 25, 2012 at 2:10 PM

Mr. Suderman claims to be a regular Walmart customer, but he must be the worst comparison shopper in the world. Their pricing is only low when you compare it to the full list price on name-brand items at other retailers — but that is an invalid comparison, as competing chains such as Kroger’s and Safeway not only have their own generic brands, but also rotate the items on sale so that you can actually plan ahead, never pay full price, and save approximately 25% vs. always buying everything at Walmart.

HTL on November 25, 2012 at 2:10 PM

Incidentally, it is for exactly that reason that I still shop at the two locally owned grocery stores here in addition to Walmart. They’ve all been forced to compete with each other now, which I don’t think is a bad thing, but shoppers still have to keep their ears to the ground to get the best deals — at Walmart or elsewhere.

gryphon202 on November 25, 2012 at 3:09 PM

I tihnk (sure you do) the tacky and tasteless is so much more easily found at Walmart because so many more people shop there.

No dimbulb, it’s because Walmart’s constant refrain of lowest prices, coupled with their fondness of wooing the welfare class, attracts shoppers from the most tacky/tasteless parts of society.

Leave it to the libs and pseudoconservatives to demonize success.

gryphon202 on November 25, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Your labels are laughable; stuff a sock in it.

MelonCollie on November 25, 2012 at 3:14 PM

Your labels are laughable; stuff a sock in it.

MelonCollie on November 25, 2012 at 3:14 PM

And your argument by assertion would get you eaten alive at the Oxford Club, MelonHead.

Anyhow, I dunno why you’d take such exception to my characterizing libs and pseudoconservatives as demonizing success. Surely you can’t argue with the substance of that assertion, can you?

gryphon202 on November 25, 2012 at 3:45 PM

MelonCollie on November 25, 2012 at 3:14 PM

Do you really think Walmart shoppers are more tacky and tasteless looking than Michael Jackson (was), Donatello Versace, Carrot Top, Kathy Griffin, that cat woman or Bruce Jenner?

Everyone looks like a drag queen or a stripper in Cali. It’s a freak show compared to Walmart shoppers.

Fallon on November 25, 2012 at 4:13 PM

If the price of low prices is a workforce without health care, paid sick leave, or a livable wage, what is the point?

ernesto on November 24, 2012 at 12:41 PM

I don’t know what you folks are talking about.

My son and daughter both work for Wal-Mart. Neither of them in Management.

They both have a better Health Care plan than I do and get Larger Bonuses than I do. (Quarterly Bonuses I might add.)

jaydee_007 on November 25, 2012 at 5:56 PM

They both have a better Health Care plan than I do and get Larger Bonuses than I do. (Quarterly Bonuses I might add.)

jaydee_007 on November 25, 2012 at 5:56 PM

Quarterly cash bonuses — pretty much just for showing up. That can’t be repeated enough.

gryphon202 on November 25, 2012 at 6:03 PM

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