Day By Day

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Will on Wal-Mart

George Will has a terrific column today on what is wrong with liberal prescriptions for America.

Here's the setup:

The median household income of Wal-Mart shoppers is under $40,000. Wal-Mart, the most prodigious job-creator in the history of the private sector in this galaxy, has almost as many employees (1.3 million) as the U.S. military has uniformed personnel. A McKinsey company study concluded that Wal-Mart accounted for 13 percent of the nation's productivity gains in the second half of the 1990s, which probably made Wal-Mart about as important as the Federal Reserve in holding down inflation. By lowering consumer prices, Wal-Mart costs about 50 retail jobs among competitors for every 100 jobs Wal-Mart creates. Wal-Mart and its effects save shoppers more than $200 billion a year, dwarfing such government programs as food stamps ($28.6 billion) and the earned-income tax credit ($34.6 billion).

People who buy their groceries from Wal-Mart - it has one-fifth of the nation's grocery business - save at least 17 percent. But because unions are strong in many grocery stores trying to compete with Wal-Mart, unions are yanking on the Democrats' leash, demanding laws to force Wal-Mart to pay wages and benefits higher than those that already are high enough to attract 77 times more applicants than there were jobs at this store.

And here's the payoff:

Liberals think their campaign against Wal-Mart is a way of introducing the subject of class into America's political argument, and they are more correct than they understand. Their campaign is liberalism as condescension. It is a philosophic repugnance toward markets because consumer sovereignty results in the masses making messes. Liberals, aghast, see the choices Americans make with their dollars and their ballots, and announce - yes, announce - that Americans are sorely in need of more supervision by . . . liberals.
Walmart, McDonalds, now Coca-Cola..... all have found themselves to be in the liberals' cross-hairs. All are enormously productive companies whose activities benefit and satisfy the demands of the very people whom liberals claim to represent.

And now the snarky, but devastating conclusion:
When liberals' presidential nominees consistently fail to carry Kansas, liberals do not rush to read a book titled "What's the Matter With Liberals' Nominees?" No, the book they turned into a best-seller is titled "What's the Matter With Kansas?" Notice a pattern?

Read the whole thing here.

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