Skip to comments.Blocking Walmart From Washington, D.C. Would Hurt Poor
Posted on 07/20/2013 4:22:25 AM PDT by Kaslin
Why, when capitalism has created wealth and eradicated poverty, do left-wing politicians hate it so much? After all, it's supposed to be the left that cares about the poor.
The latest chapter in this ongoing saga of economic perversity is playing out in Washington, D.C., as the district attempts to prevent Wal-Mart Stores Inc. from opening outlets there.
The district's city council has passed a bill, awaiting signature of Mayor Vincent Gray, specifically targeted to block the company. It raises the district's minimum wage to $12.50 per hour only for stores with more than $1 billion in sales and store size of more the 75,000 square feet.
Unionized stores in the district with these characteristics are exempt. In other words, the bill protects special interests and blocks entities politicos don't want: Walmart stores.
The company promptly announced that if the mayor signs the bill into law, it will cancel plans to open three of six planned stores, each of which would create around 300 new jobs.
The chain's "low prices every day" business strategy is one of the greatest success stories in American history. Since opening its first store in 1962, the company has grown exponentially. Today, it has sales of almost a half-trillion dollars, putting it first on the Fortune 500 list for highest revenue.
According to corporate officials, the company has more 10,000 stores around the world, employs 2.2 million people and serves 200 million customers per week.
Is anyone forced to shop there? Of course not. Is anyone forced to work at a Walmart? Of course not.
This mind-boggling growth happened as a result of freedom. The chain's huge success is the result of delivering products that people freely choose to buy.
Critics claim that the company doesn't pay enough. The company responds that its pay is at or above the industry average.
But the real issue is: Why is what the company pays the business of politicians? Unlike government -- that fines you or jails you if you don't do what lawmakers want -- people work at Walmarts because they choose to do so.
The company says it gets anywhere from 10,000 to 25,000 applications for 300 to 400 job openings when it opens a store. That's more than 25 applicants per job.
It doesn't appear to me that the chain has trouble convincing people to work there.
The population of Washington, D.C., is more than 50 percent African-American. The unemployment rate is above the national average. The poverty rate is above the national average. Yet politicians would rather have no new jobs at $12.50 per hour than 900 new jobs at $10 per hour.
Some claim that big discount stores displace small businesses. This is a claim. There is no definitive study that proves this claim.
But again, even if true, it would only be true because free people choose it to be so. What business is it of politicians to tell free people where to shop? What business is it of politicians to deprive people the freedom to go to a store that sells them products at the lowest prices they can find?
Low-income earners -- those whom the left-wing politicos supposedly care about -- happen to appreciate Walmart stores' low prices.
One thing I particularly appreciate about Walmart, where I certainly shop, is the greeters. They are often disabled and other difficult-to-employ individuals. The company gives them a chance to work.
Capitalism has been a great success because it rewards creativity and hard work. Socialism has been a failure because it deprives freedom, stifles creativity, encourages envy and rewards sloth and corruption.
American success is about the miracle of freedom. When freedom is displaced by political power, everyone suffers. In this case in Washington, D.C., where politicians are blocking Walmart, those who will suffer the most are the poor.
It is truly amazing that some folks cannot accept the opportunities offered to them.
My mentally disabled cousin has worked for Wal-Mart for 40 years plus. I’m so proud of him.
It has always been my understanding that the Walmart type, low level jobs, ‘Associates’, were meant to be a supplemental income. Not as a primary income to support a family. By raising the base pay, IMO, will raise the cost of their products. Pls correct me if I am wrong.
First I will question where does a city government get the authority to set wages for private entities.
Second I will question where the federal government gets the authority to set wages for private entities. I can think of no where in the constitution where this power is delegated to the federal government.
“It is truly amazing that some folks cannot accept the opportunities offered to them.”
Frankly, it’s the DC politicians who would rather keep these people on the Plantation and in slavery to the federal government who are against this. No telling what might happen if people could get jobs and work /earn their way to success. They just might become conservatives who would rather keep their own money.
More demise of America.
How much longer will the country last? That is a serious question.
Very well said
Walmart would encourage those who want to come out of bondage of the rat entitlement trap to a better brighter outlook. Walmart is the rat poison
Walmart is better off staying out of the District.
If they are smart they will get out now.
Washington DC is not like other places Walmart puts their stores.The labor force in DC is unlike any other.
Those who do not have Gubmint affirmative action jobs or haven’t got an SEIU job are unemployable.,
I get so tired of this.
Yes, the store will have 300 jobs that did not exist prior to the opening.
No, it will not lead to 300 more jobs being available in the retail sales field in the city. Since the sales of the new store will largely come from a reduction in sales by existing stores, the "new" jobs will be offset by loss of jobs elsewhere.
Since WalMart is by definition more efficient at selling, with greater sales per employee than most other stores, there might over the first year or so be an actual reduction in total retail sector jobs.
Walmart is also renowned for paying lower wages and keeping most employees on a part-time basis. Creating the possibility that the total city retail wages might go down.
This is offset by the probable fact that some people presently leave DC to shop at Walmarts elsewhere. So I agree it's complicated. I just disagree that a new retail store will add a net 300 jobs to the local economy.
Hard to believe that, in this day and age, folks still believe in the zero-sum fallacy.
“It has always been my understanding that the Walmart type, low level jobs,”
It is like ANY retail job. I do not know of any sales clerk
that supports a family from their wage.
Nobody forces one to work at Walmart or any other retail box store.
Frankly, I am sick of the leftist bashing Walmart, or any other box store.
“By raising the base pay, IMO, will raise the cost of their products. Pls correct me if I am wrong.”
You’re wrong, consider yourself corrected. The labor costs for a box store like wally world are not that significant a part of the cost of the products sold there. To wit, costco. They manage to sell stuff cheap and still treat their employees decently and pay a living wage. Also, Kroger has started to compete with wally world more directly. They’re a union shop and presumably pay their employees reasonably.
Oy. So get on the metro and go to VA or MD if you want to go to wally world.
Not saying that I agree with the DC government (I use that term very loosely). But if wally world is such a mecca for the poor that the authors make it out to be, it’s not like it’s cross country journey to go to one.
they should just shut it down and leave the district. It was a bad idea to go there because they will never be able to buy enough good press to win over the anti-capitalist left that dominates DC political life. These people keep electing Marion Barry for crying out loud.
Those stores will become targets for shoplifters, employee theft, race riots, flash mob actions, looters and union protests for as long as they stand. If they go through with the stores, they will probably some of the few Walmarts that close due to an inability to maintain profitability.
Imagine being the store manager. < shudder>
Washington DC is not like other places Walmart puts their stores.The labor force in DC is unlike any other.
Those who do not have Gubmint affirmative action jobs or havent got an SEIU job are unemployable.”,
...agreed. I go to DC every week and it’s rare to go into a retail outlet and be treated humanely. Walmart would lose in the long run. Also, DC could incorporate other laws that would hurt Walmart.
The very use of the phrase “living wage” is flawed at its premise. I understand what you are trying to say, but use of the phrase imbues your argument with an element that is loaded by its nature.
So how many stores does Kroger have in DC?
It bothers me that corporations that have the resources to take these usurpations of freedom to court and challenge these petty dictators never do.
Recall if you will, the reason a corporation exists is to make a profit, to make money. Spending money to fight the hustlers is a total waste and produces no profit.
If they have no Walmart, let them go to Macy’s
Not a fallacy, in this instance.
Let us assume Walmart sales average $100M per store in a year.
Three stores open in DC, with total annual sales of $300M.
Do you seriously contend that the city’s population suddenly spends $300M more than the previous year for toothpaste and T-shirts? Most, effectively all, of that $300M will come from other stores’ lost business.
You have just expressed a zero-sum fallacy fallacy.
The true zero-sum fallacy is that any one person or organization in the economy gaining business must result in a loss for someone else, that there is only so much wealth to go around.
What I am pointing out is that in any given market, while a zero-sum is not applicable, the total sales are quite inelastic. If McDonalds increases its sales by $10B, it generally means most of that is from reduced sales to other fast food outlets, not that the world suddenly decided to spend $10B on lousy hamburgers.
You assume that, magically, Wal-Mart will price its products at the exact same level as the other retailers.
So, let's say you originally spent $1.50 on toothpaste, and now spend $1.00 (on perhaps a larger tube). And to be fair, let's say you now spend $1.25 on eggs versus $1.00.
Where does your 0.25 savings go? Does it simply evaporate?
In the past at least Walmart did not see it that way.
When Walmart was trying to build in a city near me the city council fought them all the way, going to court more than once. Walmart ultimately succeeded after winning in court and making some compromises.
No, that’s one of the (many) complicating factors.
Let us assume that people save 10% when buying the same goods at WalMart as opposed to somewhere else.
They might very well spend the savings at WM for additional stuff, or they might save it, or they might possibly spend it somewhere else.
Few of them, however, will take that 10% to a WM competitor and spend it there.
My sole point is that WM moving into a community creates few if any net new jobs. If this were the case, then the 2M+ in WM employees would be on top of the retail employees that would have been around had WM never existed, which is obviously just not true.
I like WM, or used to, mostly because it pisses liberals off so much, including some family members.
Unfortunately, about a year ago they seem to have made a decision to cut way back on staffing levels and wait times to checkout have gotten very unpleasant.
I disagree. In all the cases I've seen a walmart open in smaller towns it created so much customer traffic that dozens of new businesses spring up around them.
A small business that would never have would have opened anywhere due to ‘low traffic count’ now has a huge potential customer base to make opening a business viable.
When that customer base is spread out over a two county area nobody gets enough traffic to support a niche business.
The new jobs weren't stolen from anywhere else in the area because there was no business like it anywhere in the area!
None. Apparently Kroger is smart enough not to put any in the area.
Agreed, but the language does have it’s limits. I could use the term “fair” wage, but that has limits as well. “Fair” as determined by who?
Democrats doing what they do best — acting stupidly.
Yet another of the confounding factors.
But not much comfort to the many small businesses throughout that two-county area put out of business by WM.
The claim in the article is not that WM creates additional traffic allowing niche businesses to thrive, which is often true, but that the WM store itself creates 300 new (presumably net) jobs.
Someone has probably done a national analysis of whether WM has been good or bad for the economy as a whole, and its probably good. Mostly because the lower prices give people savings they can spend somewhere else, in the process creating new businesses and industries.
But I also suspect total retail jobs are fewer in number than they would have been without WM and its innovations, which other retailers have been forced to imitate.
WM is more efficient, which is to say productive, which is to say it gets more done with less. Part of the “less” is number of jobs for a given volume of retail sales.
Why, when capitalism has created wealth and eradicated poverty, do left-wing politicians hate it so much? After all, it's supposed to be the left that cares about the poor.Now wait just a minute -- how is the left supposed to foster dependence if they allow poor people to have jobs and cheap places to shop? Meanwhile, that lovely taxpayer-funded multi-state commuter train system will have to continue to carry to and from Walmart outside of DC.
I remember years ago when some Wal-Marts had meat departments. Where they actually had butchers cutting meat.
Well, guess what, those butchers tried to unionize. What did Wal-Mart do?
They closed ALL of their meat departments and told the unions to F**K OFF!
If only Wal-Mart had the balls to stop withholding and tell the IRS to stick it up their asses. Now THAT would be a dagger through the heart.
I guess you are stuck on the idea that there are only a fixed amount of jobs in the world.
shucks.... the image didn’t display in total. Here’s the link to it:
Click view document at the link and it’s the 2nd page.
The WDC pols are a laugh a minute. I lived there for 30+ years. If Americans knew what occurs there daily, there would be a run on pitchforks, tar and feathers. Even when they are indicted, convicted and jailed (which is frequent), the WDC pols are a laugh a minute. Your tax money at work.
Youre wrong, consider yourself corrected. The labor costs for a box store like wally world are not that significant a part of the cost of the products sold there.
Labor is a very significant cost to Wal-Mart, or any other retailer.
You can go to the store and easily see that for yourself.
First look for the 'double' packages of products, two aspirin bottles shrink wrapped together for example, and notice the price. Compare that to two separate bottles and youll find the double is lower, and often by a significant percentage.
The reason for that is the cost of labor. The single bottle is handled as often as the double package, all the way from the manufacturer to the shelving and the final checkout, but they only get to sell one, not two, and that second one is sold at a discount which reflects the lower cost of handling (labor).
Then go to the super large size section of a Wal-Mart store and compare the prices found there against the same product found the other part of the store where the normal sizes are kept.
By way of example, I buy a larger 63oz bottle of BBQ sauce for about $9, while the regular 24 oz size is $6. The difference again is labor. It costs Wal-Mart the same labor cost to put a 24oz bottle on the shelf as is does the 63oz bottle, and the lower price per oz for the large bottle reflects the lower cost of labor.
1. You are supporting stagnation in the community and are anti-growth and anti-competition. You are also anti-free market. You might want to deny this, but you have now written enough to prove the assertion.
2. You realize that most “mom ‘n pop” stores are over-charging their customers because of their limited buying power or because of simple lack of competition, right? How does this make the community better and why do you confer some kind of moral superiority to them over Wal-Mart?
3. DC government pays an average of $10.50/hour. I don’t get the feeling you have a problem with their hypocrisy in demanding that Wal-Mart pay more? Is the DC government morally corrupt for not paying a subjective “living wage?”
Unless they've changed greatly since my wife worked there they are a split tier shop. They have been gradually phasing out “full time union” employees and replacing them with part time.
The realities of excessive union demands and government edicts like obamacare are driving retailers and everyone else to dump full time employees.
Congratulations, they now have time to work several part time low skill jobs.
Who exactly is in charge of deciding what “reasonably” is?
Of course it hurts the poor; that’s the plan. The more they hurt the poor, the more powerful Progressives become.
Al? Albert Norman? Is that you?
I would not walk into the Kroger to shop if required to at gunpoint.
Higher prices, poor quality produce and disconnected employees.
W*M is my choice every time.
You're good SunkenCiv... that is the issue...
Walmart needs to follow the same model for the Washington, DC area — build its stores just outside the DC limits. If you build it there, the employees and customers will come.