Friday, May 13, 2005

Bull Shit Alert

Catching up on the paper last night after getting in from the airport and I happened upon an article in the AJC by one Thomas Sowell on why you shouldn't be bad mouthing Wal-Mart for low wages and employment practices. Evidently he is also published on Townhall and if you want to read the whole article you can find it yourself as I won't lower myself to link to those kinds of sites. I've quoted a chunk below so that you can get the drift of his so-called argument. It is the biggest piece of crap I have read in many a moon. He talks about market driven wages but fails to mention that a recent study by the Bureau of Labor shows that Wal-Mart pays on average much less than the average retail worker gets in this country. The average retail hourly wage is $12.28 and Wal-Mart's is $9.68. Don't miss also that competitor CostCo's average wage is $16.00 per hour. He also fails to mention that only about half of Wal-Mart's employees are covered by health insurance and that a great majority rely on Medicaid for healthcare. He also skips over the predatory pricing and the union busting as well. I wonder how often Sowell even shops at Wal-Mart? Do you think he wheels his SUV or maybe his Lexus into the parking lot a couple of times a week to refresh his supply of Cheetohs and RC? Then maybe he just goes by savor the soul numbing, life force sucking ambience.
If perchance you are stupid enough to believe the Wal-Mart myth about always low prices you might be surprised if you would do some actual comparisons with Target or Costco. With the exception of what are known as "loss leaders" you will find the prices at both of the other stores competitive if not cheaper on name brands. The quality of the sore brands at the other stores is much better as well and also competitively priced. Not only that, you will find that shopping at someplace that actually pays a living wage a whole lot more rewarding when you realize that the person stocking the shelves and checking you out is probably able to to afford health insurance and food for their family.

Should people be paid according to what they "need" instead of according to what their work is worth? Should they decide how big a family they want and then put the cost of paying to support that family on somebody else?

If their work is not worth enough to pay for what they want, is it up to others to make up the difference, rather than up to them to upgrade their skills in order to earn what they want?

Are they supposed to be subsidized by Wal-Mart's customers through higher prices or subsidized by Wal-Mart's stockholders through lower earnings? After all, much of the stock in even a rich company is often owned by pension funds belonging to teachers, policemen and others who are far from rich.

Why should other people have to retire on less money, in order that Wal-Mart employees can be paid what the New York Times wants them paid, instead of what their labor is worth in the marketplace? After all, they wouldn't be working for Wal-Mart if someone else valued their labor more.

Nor are they confined to Wal-Mart for life. For many, entry-level jobs are a stepping-stone, whether within a given company or as experience that gets them a better job with another company.

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