Tag Archives: Walmart

Real Living Wage And Other Stuff

Wanna know what raises wages? A healthy and competitive job and labor market.

Wanna know what’s wrong with efforts, like Seattle’s, to impose a so-called “living wage”? It’s a meddlesome attempt to gain the benefit of higher wages without the necessary hard work of building a healthy job market, and we all know what economic meddling does, and it ain’t pretty.

From The Daily Signal: Why One Walmart In North Dakota Is Paying $17.40 An Hour

If you’re going to participate in one of the increasingly popular crowd-funding programs out there, avoid Indiegogo. Accusations surrounding a project which claimed to be able to reliably measure blood sugar levels through the skin (no blood required) have shown at least one fact: Indiegogo values money more than honesty and transparency, and they will not investigate something that’s paying them.

From Pando.com: The Sordid History And Ongoing Drama Of the Healbe GoBe

Do Not Track is the internet equivalent of the Do Not Call registry. Your browser holds up a flag to any and all sites saying that you prefer not to be tracked across sites. Kinda like the Do Not Call list, not everybody obeys your request. Yahoo has just decided your preferences put too big a crimp on their advertising revenue, and so have decided to stop following users Do Not Track preferences. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a browser plugin that explicitly blocks tracking cookies and ads from sites that refuse to honor Do Not Track, including Yahoo now.

From The Verge: Starting Today Yahoo Will Not Honor Do Not Track Settings

Reason.com warns not to limit Cantor’s loss to his stance on Immigration. Faced with growing divergence with the Tea Party which has provided most of the energy for the party in recent years:

In other words, Cantor represents big government conservativism in its most fulsome manifestation. And it’s this package of B.S., not anything related to immigration, that has driven voter identification with the GOP down to 25 percent according to Gallup. Until Republicans understand that they cannot mix libertarianish rhetoric about reducing the size, scope, and spending of government with a massive buildup of spending and regulation and a buttinsky, intolerant attitude toward social issues, they will keep losing elections.

Democrats had better listen up too:

News flash: Voters dislike Republicans (and Democrats, too) not despite their policies and the way they wield power but because of their policies and the way they wield power.

From Reason.com: Hey Republicans: If You Reduce Cantor’s Loss to Immigration Reform, You Will Keep Losing

To wrap things up, because the World Cup is now officially on:

Walmart Calls Chicago

No Wal-Mart in Chicago
"No Wal-Mart in Chicago"

For y’all who don’t know, Chicagoans must deal with, among other things, a city hall in the pocket of labor unions. One of the results of this is that only very few Walmarts are allowed to be built within the city limits.

As noted before, Walmart saves money for people in neighborhoods nearby by creating pressure to lower prices in surrounding stores as well as allows people to choose healthier food options because of the greater strength of their dollars.

Despite Chicago’s efforts, though, Walmart continues to try to build more stores here, and city hall just decided they could get Walmart where it hurts while pretending to be for the “little guy”.

Responding to one of the latest applications, Chicago said Walmart could build their store if they paid an artificially inflated minimum wage higher than the minimum wage for the rest of the employers in Chicago.

Lesson one in hurting people: make it hard for employers to hire people.

Walmart called Chicago on their scheme, and one can’t help but grin at this call:

Rolando Rodriguez, vice president and regional general manager for Wal-Mart, said the company would be willing to swallow a Chicago wage mandate under certain conditions.

“If there is a minimum wage ordinance that applies to everybody, and every business in Chicago is held to that ordinance, then the answer would be yes,” Rodriguez said Thursday. “There’s no need for Wal-Mart to be singled out. Why is it all other retailers are allowed to build in Chicago and we are not?”

Answer that fat cats and charlatan pols in Chicago City Hall.

You raise the wage for all employers in the city and half of them will go out of business. The other half will hate your guts.

Nobody will higher full-time employees because there’s no way they’d agree to pay benefits and full-time taxes on top of that exorbitant wage.

Walmart And The Healthy Free Market

In case you had trouble guessing: I like businesses.

If there weren’t business there wouldn’t be internet, iphones, cars, bicycles, buildings, tents, sleeping bags, fresh produce in the middle of winter, heat and A/C, in cars too, hospitals, medication, surgery…

You get the picture.

We’ve had government since the beginning of time, and it hasn’t done a thing directly to benefit or develop beneficent products and services (except nuclear energy and other war-related items).

We’ve also had businesses since the first person decided he’d rather spread and grow his wealth instead of laboring over the same rows in the same farm for his own families sustenance.

Chipotle is an excellent example of a good business.

Our wealth allows us to pay premium price for food raised and prepared in a reasonably environmentally conscious and sustainable manner.

And it tastes good, too.

Walmart is not too different from Chipotle.

The monstrous store chain that’s easy to hate until we need cheap razer blades and jeans and socks and hand towels and garbage can liners. Then everybody loves it.

Except the unions, who are never going to love Walmart until it caves to their regressive and stiflingly stupid and anti free market strong man tactics and effects.

I pray Walmart never does, and for good reason.

When Walmart enters an area, consumers win as the often cheaper prices at Walmart “encourage” the other stores to moderate their own prices.

The prices are not always better, but they are better enough of the time and for enough products to justify the crowds you normally find at these supercenters.

Does Walmart Save You Money? (read the comments, many people report savings in the $1000’s each year while others disagree with their perception of the business practices)

But enough about prices already, Walmart benefits your health!

Huh?

Indeed, studies are showing that people living near a Walmart or “club store” (Costco, Sam’s Club, etc) are lighter on average.

But don’t all the fat and ugly people shop at Walmart? No, it’s just the ugly people and me.

In an article published in Forbes Magazine, Art Carden, an Professor of Economics at Rhodes College in Memphis TN, reports on studies showing that the increased buying power people experience when benefiting from the Walmart effect has a direct and close correlation to the health of those people.

There are several reasons this may be, and the why or how is always a bit murkier than fact of correlation, but all of the possibilities enjoy sound economic sense.

Those benefiting most from the Walmart affect are…

…women, the poor, African-Americans and people who live in urban areas.

The arguments as to why and how and many, as I noted earlier, and some may find them difficult. Read it a few times if necessary.

Our evidence is indirect, but we think it shows that price changes can have subtle and sometimes hard-to-detect consequences. Any change in price results in two phenomena. The first is the substitution effect: a change in consumption mix due to a change in relative prices. If a bag of salad is $2 and a bag of potato chips is $1, then the price of salad in terms of chips is two bags and the price of a bag of chips is half a bag of salad. If a Wal-Mart opens and reduces the price of salad to $1 a bag and the price of chips to 75 cents a bag, the “salad price” of chips has risen (from 1TK2 bag to 3TK4 bag) and the “chip price” of salad has fallen from 2 bags to 4TK3 bags. In short, salad has become cheaper relative to chips.

This argument is based on basic price comparison. If the salad cost 2 times what chips cost before Walmart,  Jack and Jill are more likely to buy the salad now because it only costs 1.3 times more than the chips now.

Then there is the income effect:

If Wal-Mart sells food at lower prices–even if our incomes don’t change–every dollar can buy more. Therefore, we’re richer.

The crux of their findings is that people, when given a choice and a suitable price range, will purchase healthier foods.

Our data suggest that we buy healthier food when our purchasing power increases. There is a small increase in consumption of fruit and vegetables in places where Wal-Mart does a lot of business and a decrease–or smaller increase–in fatty food consumption relative to places where Wal-Mart doesn’t do business. That is, people might consume more fatty foods, but consumption of those unhealthy goods increases more slowly than it does for the rest of the population.

There are other facts, findings, and arguments in the article. I urge you to read the whole thing: Wal-Mart’s Weight Effect.

The point is, don’t be too quick to denigrate or disparage the current state of our free martket system.

It’s not always pretty, and it’s easy to find fault.

However, compared with any other system out there, capitalism and the free market are the best at providing escalating levels of service and product to the most people most equitably and with the least amount of downside.

It’s been proven time and again, yet we in America now are dangerously close to forgetting completely, if we haven’t already.

The free market and capitalism isn’t about the blind, mindless pursuit of money at all costs, that’s anarchy.

Free markets and capitalism are about working in tandem with those around us to maximize our return by providing the best service or product to others. It’s a mutually beneficial system.

And we’re in danger of throwing it away.

Balance, Transition, Change, Messiah

Monty captured the media’s paltry attempts at balance just right:

And Non Sequitur captured the spirit of the media coverage of Obama’s transition team:

Meanwhile, in the world that still travails under the weight of sin, current United States President George Bush’s policies dealing with AIDS are being praised as some of the most successful while remaining deferential to local support structures in affected locations. By working with churches and existing on-site humanitarian organizations the Bush Administration’s policies have sidestepped the bureaucratic bungling which destroyed the efficiency of other relief attempted while allowing the AIDS vaccines and treatments to reach the affected people much more quickly and cheaply.

So what does Obama plan to do? Change them of course. After all, we can’t expect those evolved animals to refrain from sex, can we?

After all, even some Americans are unable to even solve the moral equation containing Walmart deals and a horrific death.

Scanning the headlines on Google News this morning I was struck with how anxious the media are to cover the minutiae of every act of Obama as though he is their President already and worthy of the highest words of praise.

Instead of the sufficient and clear “Obama Selects Security Team”, the Washington Post writes this headline full of pathos and shining leadership “Obama Names Team To Face A Complex Security Picture“.

Bush was the bozo clown, the dimwit, the accidental accident.

Obama names his teams to face complex security pictures, he is brilliant and compelling.

Meanwhile, God is apparently Pro-Choice.