The Electric Commentary

Saturday, January 01, 2005

It's the first of the month

Middle class Republican families want to have their Wal-Mart brand cake and eat it too. They want the low, low prices offered by discount retailers and food service operations, but they don’t support social welfare. The problem is that one of the major reasons the aforementioned businesses can offer reasonable prices is that they squeeze out labor costs. By paying wages that do not constitute a livable wage, they can sell you the products you want cheaper. A person would have to make over $17 per hour in Minneapolis to afford a two-bedroom apartment, but who is going to pay an unskilled laborer $17 an hour? A person may then turn to an HUD housing subsidy or welfare to subsidize their meager wages, saving a bundle for your local retailer. So in a way, almost all welfare is corporate welfare, so all you righties should support it.


  • "A person would have to make over $17 per hour in Minneapolis to afford a two-bedroom apartment, but who is going to pay an unskilled laborer $17 an hour?"

    What makes you think that an unskilled laborer is entitled to a two bedroom apartment in Minneapolis? And more generally, why does every job need to pay a "livable wage?" Walmart hires a lot of kids that still live with their parents and retired people that just want something to do. It seems to me that if I were an unskilled laborer and I wanted a two bedroom apartment in Minneapolis, I would learn a skill.

    By Blogger DannyNoonan, at 11:33 PM  

  • And how would you go about learning a skill if say you had a family? Would you have time to go to school and work, and spend time with your wife/girlfriend and kids? Could you afford to go to school?

    By Blogger RyanSimatic, at 3:02 PM  

  • "And how would you go about learning a skill if say you had a family?"

    I wouldn't have a family until I had a skill. And a job. And some money saved. To start a family before I was ready would be very irresponsible.

    By Blogger DannyNoonan, at 3:07 PM  

  • Shit happens. Should a person be damned to the lower class for their entire life because they made a bad decision (or had bad luck) when they were young?

    By Blogger RyanSimatic, at 3:14 PM  

  • Should people be encouraged to act irresponsibly? Should we tell them that they can do whatever they want because even if they screw up, Uncle Sam will bail them out? Is it fair that those that do act resposible have to supplement the income of those that do not?

    By Blogger DannyNoonan, at 3:21 PM  

  • Why don't we just require people to pay a minimum wage of $100/hour. That way we'll all be rich! It's easy to stop Walmart from keeping their labor practices as is: Don't shop there. For all the crap they get for being staunchly anti-union, those who try to organize Wal-mart should get their fair share (after all, isn't that in keeping with their own world view?) They trespass, they lie, they attempt to change the ideology of a private business through force. (As this is the case, and I've been led to believe that force is not a valid way to change someone's opinion, all lefties should support walmart).

    My bottom line: Attempting to stop a certain retailer from succeeding through the political process when it is possible to do so through simple competition (as Target, Amazon, and many other retailers did this holiday season) is totalitarian and should be looked upon with disdain.

    If you simply don't want to shop there, fine. As Walmart helps poor people much more than it hurts them, those who patronize the establishment are on the side of angels.

    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 8:24 AM  

  • This post actualyl advocates not shoping there though, so I suppose I should state my pro-walmart case more clearly. This argument is simple, and it basically comes down to what helps people more, high wages or low prices. I nearly always select low prices.

    This is a supplyand demand issue. Raising wages causes unemployment, and price increases. Lowering prices causes cost cutting, and generally, either lower wages or worker displacement. Why worker displacement and not the uglier "unemployment?" Because Unemployment is not the same.

    When wages are artifically raised, there are some sunk costs. Part of the economy is destroyed. The same productivity takes place, but at a higher cost. When costs are lowered, the same amount of productivity takes place, but with a lower cost. This leaves excess, and will lead to another job getting more, or another job being created.

    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 9:27 AM  

  • My post had nothing to do with criticising Wal-Mart's modus operandi; however, I do feel that programs like Social Security and Welfare allow them (not just them, but a host of others too) to push their wages to artificially low levels because the workers are then subsidzed by the state.

    By Blogger RyanSimatic, at 12:17 PM  

  • Hmmm. Question: Would Wal-mart raise wages if Welfare/foodstamps/WIC ceased to exist?

    I would argue that that the answer is no (although wages in general might increase in this scenario). If that is the case, then Walmart is not capitalizing on anything. In fact, they are alleviating some of the government's burden by employing poor workers, not taking advantage of it. As Welfare does exist, every employee of Walmart, far from subsidized by Walmart, is subsidizing the government.

    It sounded to me like you were making a point about Walmart's practices. Either that, or you think there is too much welfare...

    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 1:16 PM  

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