Recently I saw two movies that attacked the controversial Wal-mart department store. A PBS documentary called Is Wal-Mart good for America? And Wal-Mart the high cost of low price an independent movie about Wal-mart and the Walton family. I also visited wakeupwalmart.com for more info this article is a refutation on most of the BS that appeared on the two documentaries. First of all we need to ask ourselves why "Wal-Mart is under ferocious attack by the left?" Wal-Mart delivers well on its promise of low prices to Americans. Being a resident of one of the poorest and liberal states in the nation, my family and I bank on Wal-Mart to save money. Many other families including those most down and out also bank on Wal-Mart and many also depend on Wal-Mart for income. Living in the least friendly business economy in the nation, Wal-Mart is a sure bet for some income and employment? Many of Wal-Mart’s employees would otherwise have no job were it not for the giant retail. Many of its employees also have barriers that keep them out of most other jobs. Wal-Mart provides relief from poverty for those most in need so just why is the left in an uproar? There are some legitimate concerns that are being brought up, such as Wal-Mart’s dealings with communist China, the threat to small businesses, forcing employees to work of the clock, purchasing from factories with sweatshop labor ETC. but according to media watchdog times watchhttp://www.timeswatch.org/articles/2008/20080605145300.aspx The New York Slimes rag reveals that the main culprits behind the attack are union bosses. Democrats and their Union allies have for many years tried to crack the retail giant to set up unions but in vain. Many anti-Wal-Mart sites including wake up Wal-Mart are behind the attack on Wal-Mart and are run by union activists. Of course the other reason is to promote Marxism. Wal-Mart is the epitome of the success of the free market capitalist system and Marxist Democrats are whipping up the masses to tear it down at all costs using arguments which as I shall demonstrate are as flawed as the failed system Wal-Mart’s worst enemies want to impose on us...
One of the first arguments used and the most common is that Wal-Mart destroys small businesses and drives down land values whenever it builds in a small community. We've seen in happen in a lot of places. Why is it that whenever Wal-Mart builds a new store Main street USA goes to hell in a hand basket? Most of the problem has very little to do with the retail giant coming to town and more to do with economic policies in the city and state that have a profound effect on small businesses as opposed to a mega conglomerate. A good example of this is found in the city of Skowhegan Maine. In the early nineties, Skowhegan Maine was a struggling paper mill town located in Somerset County. The economy like most small towns in Maine struggled under the tyranny of Democrats. Heavy taxes and regulations had taken their toll. Businesses could barely stay afloat that and the town was recovering from a recent recession. Then it came. Wal-Mart began to open its first department stores in Maine including one in Skowhegan. Wal-Mart had no problem absorbing the cost of liberalism while marketing low prices while appealing to the town’s impoverished underclass. Under communism and a post-recession economy, mom and pop could no longer compete it was not a fair fight. Only a couple months after opening, virtually every store in town went out of business. Wal-Mart then began to suffer and raised the cost of its goods to keep up. This prompted outrage, a boycott and intervention by the city to keep costs down. Since most of Skowhegan’s residents were taking their money elsewhere Wal-Mart brought its prices down.But does this have anything to do with Wal-Mart? Only a little.
You see for over twenty years Maine has been notorious as being the meanest to small business. Maine liberals care more for the welfare of spotted owls rats and birds and trees then family stores and its customers and they care more about lazy irresponsible welfare queens than responsible taxpayers. That is bound to catch up and it has only gotten worse with time. Small businesses on the verge of collapsing were standing on a teetering house of cars. Another tax hike plus the addition of a big retail that could take the beating was all it took. The local paper mill also began laying off workers and many of the residents left. It was not Wal-Mart’s fault that small businesses failed but the fault of Maine's liberal politicians who passed a system of taxation and regulation that pressed hardest on those least able to pay. They simply could not afford the cost.
This brings up another attack, that Wal-Mart jacks the prices up after driving out competition. The Maine economy's effects caught up on big business so Wal-Mart passed that cost on the consumer. A boycott and that people took their money elsewhere encouraged them to bring down the price. It wasn't just Wal-Mart, the local McDonalds restaurant also went under and a local Hannaford’s also almost followed suit. But the town did recover thanks in large to Wal-Mart. After tax revenues began to pour in Skowhegan and other communities were able to set up business incentives to help the little guy compete and ease the burdens. With Wal-Mart other big stores made their way to Maine. Skowhegan now has several mini malls as well as a Best Buy and a Sam's Club. Wal-Mart may as well saved the town of Skowhegan and much of Maine from bankruptcy but that's gratitude for you.
There were some places where Wal-Mart was demanded and welcomed even in Maine! One place was another mill town, Lincoln Maine. (The town is nicknamed stinkin Lincoln because of the paper mill.) In addition to having a mill, the town also boasted large real estate and tourism. Many visitors come to the nearby lake. Many of the customers at Wal-Mart are also tourists. So it's no surprise that many of them have been clamoring for years for a supercenter. Eventually they expanded and are in the process of expanding. By the way, Lincoln and many other communities that have a Wal-Mart store or supercenter (Waterville, Newport, Norway, Lewiston, Augusta, Portland, Saco, Biddeford, Presque Isle, Calais, Houlton, ETC.) still have small businesses. A good friend of mine from Maine now resides in Lubbock Texas told me that the city has at least ten box stores in town. Small business isn't hurt a bit. Part of the Reason is that Texas does not have communist government controls that Maine has. Keep this in mind next time you start hearing a bleeding heart Chicken Little liberal scream about Wal-Mart coming to your town.
Another strong argument is that Wal-Mart mistreats it's workforce by paying its employees very little money or benefits and even encourages its employees to go on welfare programs. Well first of all let's remember that the positions these people are being paid at are entry level positions. When I was growing up before there was a Wal-Mart I worked at a grocery store bagging and stocking and of course I got minimum wage. I was just starting out; I did very menial and simple labor. That's what goes on at Wal-Mart. It's not just them everyone else. But the PC crowd would rather go after Wal-Mart for hiring a single mother of 3 than if they hired a college student at mom and pop's place for peanuts too. That brings us to the people who get hired at these jobs. Some of the people who do get hired at Wal-Mart (Not all of them keep in mine) Some of them are low lifers with no education, with disabilities and who could not get hired at any other jobs because of their incompetence and their record of previous employment. Some of the employees are welfare recipients who are already grandparents at the age of 30 and some of them even have long rap sheets that would keep them out of even most menial jobs but what about the fact that Wal-Mart hires them anyway? What about how Wal-Mart is kind enough to hire those who have no jobs? In an economic wasteland like where I live where people are unable to move because they are too poor, too stupid, or too lazy where do you go to get a job? Leave it to Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is good for keeping unemployment down. As for wages, many who work either already work another job, some are also on the welfare rolls and are social security recipients so they are already making enough money to get by and support themselves and their families. Also after working for a long period of time, employees make up to 10.17 and hour. Let's ask another question, where are the fathers of these children of single Wal-Mart workers who still cant cut it? They have a litter of children, can't make enough money but we don't ask about where the father(s) of the kids are and why they aren't paying support?Many accuse the retail giant of mistreating its employees by making them work off the clock and not giving them health care benefits.
Others note how overnight employees are locked up and are even threatened with loss of employment if they use the fire exit without manager's permission. Then there are allegations of gender discrimination and Union busting.First concerning working off the clock, Wal-Mart has faced lawsuits throughout the country by employees alleging unpaid labor. Former managers have alleged that workers are not paid working for more than 40 hours a week. In the movie Wal-Mart High cost of Low price, an employee was required to stock several shirts in 30 minutes she had left in her shift but took her an hour. She chooses to say nothing since she feared losing her job. First let me say that this is wrong on many fronts. In America we believe that people should be paid for the work they do. However note that some employees who aren't able to meet that quota needed the extra time. In some businesses such employees are laid off.
Second concerning the controversy over fire exits, this is an outright hoax invented by the anti Wal-Mart crowd. It is true that employees are locked inside after hours but this is to prevent employees from stealing products and to prevent criminals outside from robbing the inside. Other stores and businesses have done the same practice. In the event of a fire federal law requires that employees use the fire exits. No one is going to fire you if you use a fire exit to escape a fire. The place is going to burn to the ground so there goes the job anyway. No use getting cooked yourself. Second no sane businessman would dare allow anything of the sort to happen. If Wal-Mart did so, the ACLU would be licking their chops at an opportunity. Unfortunately not all people are that smart. About twenty years ago in another department store chain, the owners did the same thing and chained the fire exit shut. The place caught on fire and the victims and their families sued the heck out of them. Wal-Mart managers aren't that dumb.
Concerning health care programs, many employees are already covered by local health care programs such as CHIP, Maine care, Medi Cal, Badger care, Medicare, ETC. Unfortunately like other health insurances Wal-Mart health care has been known to be inefficient and restrictive to who gets it. But this problem exists in other companies as well. Still, it is better than no health insurance despite criticism.
Then there’s the big crux, unions. Wal-Mart has been notorious for being anti union but the workers at Wal-Mart are also to blame. Some of them know that many unions are known for being corrupt and extortionist and that rather than make the job easier would make it a nightmare. If unions did succeed, Wal-Mart would be forced to raise it's costs and reduce it's workforce.
One of the biggest lies being brought out is that Wal-Mart fosters racism and gender discrimination. Women according to anti Wal-Mart activists are discriminated on the job in wages and rank because they are woman. Yet in another anti Wal-Mart book called The Working Poor, a middle aged woman on welfare is interviewed complaining she is passed over at Wal-Mart because she is old and over weight. The people who are getting hired to management are younger women. Yes indeed you heard that right! Wal-Mart IS hiring Woman managers. Go to your local Wal-Mart and see for yourself who else is getting into management. The same is said for racism. In Wal-Mart High Cost Low Price, they base this on an interview with a black man who suffered racial bigotry from co workers while management did nothing. Racism exists in other stores and other businesses in America. Again, go to Wal-Mart in urban areas see all the minority managers.
Another lie that is made is that Wal-Mart opposes port security. Several years back it was alleged that Wal-Mart was putting it's profits before America's security to keep importing goods at fast pace. The Wal-Mart lobby demanded that but the truth is there never was any lobbying against tightening port security. Rather the lack of security is a lack of resources at our ports to inspect every ship coming ashore to a do nothing lazy congress that is as lax on port security as border security.One other problem we hear about is empty Wal-Mart stores that take up space and clutter the town. The Empty store is uselessly large and Wal-Mart’s interference to prevent competitors from moving in makes it useless.
This is not quite true. There are a lot of uses for the property. In Lubbock Texas for example, a friend of mine told me that a small shopping mall they have was once an empty Wal-Mart. In Portland Maine, Businesses like Lowe's have moved into empty Wal-Mart’s. The empty stores are often used and reused as shopping malls, mega churches, administration buildings ETC. Also they can just knock it down and build something else in it's place. While they might put a non compete clause in the contract, it has not stopped some stores to be put in good use.
Finally there are the allegations of Wal-Mart importing goods from overseas in sweatshops in places like China India and Mexico ETC. Listen up! Just about every company even small business does this! Still, if you look hard enough there are a few goods at places like Wal-Mart and Target that are sold that have been made in the USA. Just go to any business in America on Main Street and tell me that all mom and pop stores buy American! I’m not saying that's a good thing though but Wal-Mart is not the only guilty party.
Of course there are a few things about Wal-Mart that we should be concerned about. First is that it does receive subsidies from the government and a leg up against everyone else. In Wal-Mart High Cost Low Price, an IGA store went under after a super Wal-Mart opened. The store got 9 million dollars, IGA no money. Wal-Mart should not be getting corporate welfare. It makes companies less efficient, competitive and less innovative. Wal-Mart can still be the best at what it does without help from taxpayers. Second of all, Wal-Mart should do more to use American made goods which are better than the garbage made by third world Marxist slave labor. Third, Wal-Mart stores should hire more workers specifically baggers and they should use this to encourage the welfare recipients in this country to learn work ethics and Wal-Mart should gear their workers toward learning new skills. Fourth, Wal-Mart should do a better job of keeping illegal immigrants out of it's workforce. Several stores in America run by Wal-Mart have been hiring them. I once heard a story how a California Wal-Mart store had mostly immigrants from Mexico and Eastern Europe in it's work force. Most were not documented and sure enough, they were forming a union with the help of their communist allies. It was only then that they took action. They claimed they didn't know they were illegal. (Liars) They fired most of the striking workers and booted the illegal workers and hired the homeless from local shelters as well as welfare recipients to do the work. From what I heard it did the trick. Finally, Wal-Mart should stay out of politics. When they first tried to support gay rights and gay benefits, Wal-Mart lost money and continues to lose money. Best they just stay out of those things.
Despite complaints and criticisms, Wal-Mart INC is far more a boon than a bane for America. Wal-Mart department stores offer cheap solutions to help struggling families save money and stretch their budgets. Although the Walton's themselves may not be charitable (The Waltons have only given 1% of their wealth to charity it is alleged while Bill Gates gave 50% of his wealth) Wal-Mart stores do individually contribute to charities such as United Way, Salvation Army and other groups. They also employ and give hope and a future to those with no job or who cannot find work elsewhere. Working with local welfare agencies, Wal-Mart has successfully brought thousands out of the welfare trap, many of whom were considered unemployable and brought them into the work force. Tax monies from Wal-Mart stores go to funding local programs and helping cities and states in balancing their budget. Wal-Mart IS indeed good for America and at a low cost.