Some people love to demonize Wal-Mart for allegedly underpaying their employees and not providing enough benefits, among other things. I’m not saying Wal-Mart is perfect or beyond criticism by any means. I just find that the bashers display the typical covetous attitude of those who think God is doing a lousy job of distributing wealth and that He needs their help to fix the problem. And they usually appear to have a disdain for those who shop at Wal-Mart.
Democratic leaders believe Wal-Mart bashing is a great strategy for them. Of course, there are no Wal-Mart stores in New York City, Hollywood or Washington, D.C., so they may not realize just how many people like Wal-Mart. A Pew poll showed that even 62% of liberal Democrats think Wal-Mart is a “good place to shop.”
I do think Wal-Mart’s partnering with Gay and lesbian groups was bad for several reasons, but I don’t think it requires government intervention.
Here’s the solution for the bashers: Start up a business near a Wal-Mart and pay slightly higher wages and benefits. It will be a triple win: Your business will be successful because you hired some the best and brightest Wal-Mart employees, their standard of living will increase and you’ll be sticking it to your enemy. It is called capitalism. It has some hard edges at times, but it has done more to reduce poverty and increase standards of living than any other -ism every invented.
If you think their suppliers use child labor, then use a Consumer Reports-type approach and offer some type of seal of approval that ethical companies can apply for. You don’t need a lot of government intervention. Then steer your flock to only purchase goods from approved vendors.
Disclosure: I don’t own stock in Wal-Mart (unless indirectly via a mutual fund) and I don’t work there. I did audit their financial statements back in the late 80’s, so I know a bit about them. They have always been relentless about using technology and best practices to offer lower prices. They have made many of their employees very wealthy through their profit sharing program. Mainly we just shop there for good deals.
George Will had a good column on Democrats Vs. Wal-Mart.