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Wal-Mart, Goodness, and Liberal Insanity


I frequently agree with George Will.  There are times that I do not, for example, his gloom/doom over Iraq.  I write today because I could not agree more with George Willís latest piece.  Mr. Will has, in The Washington Post, come to Wal-Martís defense.  His article was inspired by the recent Chicago big-box ordinance, its veto by Mayor Daley, and the underlying reasons for the ordinance.  I heard Georgeís article recited on Rushís show on Thursday, and then decided to reread for myself.  You can do so here.  Georgeís points cannot be overstated:  1) Wal-Mart is a force for good in America; 2) Leftists never consider the possibility that could be wrong about anything; and 3) Leftists, as a group, are condescending, judgmental snobs who think that all who dissent from their values and outlook are idiots.  Letís analyze, shall we?

Wal-Mart is a Force for Good.

George makes the point that Wal-Mart is probably just as much of a control on inflation as the Federal Reserve.  If you think about it, and as Rush pointed out, Wal-Martís salutary effect on lower-income Americans exceeds the combined effect of all of the failed "Great Society" programs combined.  This is no idle talk.Wal-Mart saves its shoppers over two hundred billion dollars ($200,000,000,000.00) -- per year.  That is gigantic!  That number is mind-boggling!

Liberals attempt to portray Wal-Mart as a force for evil, because it has managed to keep itself from being unionized.  However, this is the Leftís normal tendency to demonize all who are not sycophants to its philosophy.  A philosophy that George Will, bitingly yet pinpoint-accurately, refers to in his article as "Liberalism as condescension."  What is evil about Wal-Mart?  The fact that limited-income people, and others, save metric tons of money every day?  The fact that almost one and a half million people work for the company, who is the largest retailer on Earth, and largest private employer in the United States (perhaps, the world)? 

If Wal-Mart is so evil, and treats its employees as slaves, why were there 77 applicants for each of the 325 jobs in Wal-Martís Evergreen Park, Illinois super-store?  This begs the Chicago ordinance, which was tailored, to the point of Constitutional infirmity, to punish Wal-Mart, by requiring a minimum wage of $10 per hour plus $3 per hour in benefits.  George Will skirts around the issue of why the unions "are yanking on the Democratic Partyís leash."  I wonít dance around the issue at all.  The unions, who are firmly ensconced in Dominickís and Jewel Food Stores, the cityís largest grocers, know that their gravy train is doomed if Wal-Mart comes in, offers the exact same products (and Wal-Martís meats tend to be fresher than Jewel, and almost as good as Dominickís), at 17% less, and merges the groceries with other items, from apparel to toys.  They donít really care about the rank and file; they care about the dues that those employees pay.  So they seek legislative aid to force Wal-Mart to be less competitive.  Before that, they threw up vicious protests when Wal-Mart sought to build inside the city limits.  The unions, in order to protect their leadersí fat paychecks, waged total war on Wal-Mart.

But what about the union workers who would lose their jobs?  As George points out, Wal-Mart leaves two jobs in the wake of every lost one.  Are they both overpaid as in the union shops (there is no way a 16-year-old stock boy deserves $10 per hour plus massive benefits for his first job)?  No.  But the two jobs together equal more money into the economy than the one union job, and the money is not diverted to the pockets of rich union bosses.  The wage earners get the money directly.  As George noted, the notion of self-reliance is anathema to leftists: "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."

What did Wal-Mart do?  They located just outside the city limits of Chicago.  Their Evergreen Park superstore is literally across the street from the border with Chicagoís Beverly neighborhood, where I spent my teenage years.  Almost all of its customers come from the city, where they get cheaper prices, lower sales taxes, and great service.  All of those revenues could be going into a neighborhood in need, like Roseland, Englewood or the like.  Evergreen Park is a small suburb, which hosts Americas first-ever shopping mall, Evergreen Plaza, literally one block south of the Wal-Mart.  That suburb is reaping a gigantic windfall, in the millions of dollars, from Wal-Martís sales taxes.  The money from that store alone would go a long way to curing Chicagoís budget woes.  But, the Chicago Aldermen, beholden to labor unions like legislators nowhere else in America, shot their own city in the foot to preserve union dues.

Georgeís article makes it clear that even those who are bitter about being in the 76 of 77 applicants not hired by that store shop there.  Those prices make it easier for them to make ends meet.  That is the exact same stated goal of the Great Society.  Yet Wal-Mart is effective.  Were it not for the amoral greed of union bosses, Wal-Mart would be in the city closer to those who travel to shop.  Those people would save even more on fuel and even bus fare (yes, they take buses to shop at Wal-Mart), but theyíre being forced to spend more by these fat cats.

In their minds, the Left can do no wrong.

Letís examine this.  Are just short of two-thirds of Chicagoís aldermen so evil that they willingly collaborate with union leaders to do that which they know is wrong?  Or are they so myopic that they cannot understand the effects of their actions, and so arrogant that they refuse to consider differing viewpoints?  I believe it is the latter.  For example, when the "big box" ordinance passed, and before Mayor Daleyís wise veto, leftist congresswoman Jan Schakowski was interviewed, and said that she simply refused to believe that Wal-Mart would pass up a lucrative business opportunity because they city council tried to help the downtrodden.  Well, Mrs. Schakowski, they did not pass up the opportunity.  They merely found border communities who love the idea of hundreds of new jobs and millions in new taxes, and built there.  And now, they dance the happy dance in Evergreen Park, while Chicago fights budget deficits and considers tax hikes.  Near Mrs. Schakowskiís north-side Rogers Park area, there are Evanston, Skokie and other places whose sensible governments will welcome Wal-Mart with open arms.

But, to liberals, this demonstrates their constituentsí stupidity.  The Left feels that they are right all of the time, with neither failure nor imperfection a possibility in their mindsets.  The city council members thought that they could slap an economically-disastrous condition on Wal-Mart, who had no choice but to kow-tow to their arrogant demands.  Before that, they thought that turning zoning hearings for proposed Wal-Mart stores within city limits into torture sessions would force the retailer to knuckle under and unionize, with the resulting 40% increase in cost-per-employee.  The Result?  Welcome to Wal-Mart in beautiful Evergreen Park!  Enjoy the low prices and giant selections!  The people still get the benefit of Wal-Martís good.  However, the city itself gets more blighted, because the revenues and jobs that would have revitalized the city are instead cutting suburban property ownerís tax bills and turning the suburbs into showcases.  But they did the right thing!  Gotta protect the "little man," even though our "protection" destroys his neighborhood!

Condescending Snobbery on Display -- All The Time

This entire episode is symptomatic of the underlying problem of the Left.  Liberalism is their religion, as Rush frequently but accurately notes.  Their viewpoint is the only valid one; their judgment is beyond criticism (which explains their wails whenever any conservative dares espouse a non-liberal viewpoint); their benificence is the only balm for all situations, worldwide, that they deem to be unjust.  This is a reason why most Leftists hate Christianity and speak of it in derisive terms:  It is a competing religion to them.  Moreover, it espouses personal freedom and dependence not on other men but on God Almighty.  But for the dependence of other men, liberals are nothing.  And this entire mindset is the most onerous form of snobbery.

John Kerry, during his thankfully-unsuccessful 2004 campaign for the Presidency, said, "Wal-Mart...is disgraceful...[it is]...whatís wrong with America."  In my opinion, Kerry honestly believed that line.  To him, Americans cannot function without the government -- specifically a left-controlled government -- telling Americans how to spend their money (remember Bill Clinton opposing tax cuts because "you [the people] might not spend it right!"), do business (what else are the anti-Wal-Mart ordinances but oppressive governmental control of business minutiae?)  and live their lives.  The idea that Wal-Mart keeps its costs down in order to give people huge savings is repulsive, especially when he considers the solution to be to force these same retailers to be unable to deliver those savings through forced high payrolls and onerous taxes.

The liberals believe that the solution to low incomes is to force, under penalty of law, companies to pay higher hourly wages.  They are so certain of their inherent rightness that they refuse to see the obvious problem:  Employers will hire fewer people, making the "solution" worse than the problem.  They also refuse to see that almost no family breadwinners make the minimum wage.  Are Leftists deluded?  Is the Bureau of Labor Statistics lying when it notes that the vast majority of minimum-wage workers are high-school kids working for weekend pocket money at McDonaldís?  To them, they are incapable of being incorrect, so they assume that those who oppose them, or those who demonstrate the fallacy of their logic are the chief architects of what is wrong in the world.  Hence Wal-Mart, a mind-numbing force for American self-reliance, and a significantly measurable economic benefit to the country as a whole, is unjustly demonized.

Leftists have a way of stating this condescension with a vicious sneer that reveals that theirs is a religion of hate, much like the jihadists who murder our innocents, yet who they strive to coddle.  After the 2004 Bush election, They derisively referred to the GOP states as "Jesusland" and "dumbf--kistan" [epithet redacted].  The UK Daily Guardian ran a headlilne asking how over 59,000,000 people, who voted for President Bush, "could be so dumb."  Numerous people in the "Blue States" spoke of applying for "refugee status" and moving to Canada (that is ironic considering that the conservatives are now in power in our Northerly Neighbor).  Others spoke of creating a separate country and seceding the blue states from the U.S.A.  Forget for a moment about the consummate immaturity that such statements display.  Think of the underlying attitude.

George Will said it best.  Kansas repeatedly rejects Democrats for Congress and the Presidency.  Instead of writing a book entitled "Whatís the matter with Liberal candidates?", liberal author Thomas Frank writes a book entitled "Whatís the matter with Kansas?"  Nothing is more illustrative.  Leftists cannot take criticism; they cannot admit when they are wrong; they cannot accept the concept that they could possibly be wrong.  See the attitude some more.  After getting walloped in 2002, the Left decided to move further to the left, to present a starker contrast to the GOP.  They got walloped even worse in 2004.  So did they learn their lesson?  No.  They moved so far to the left that they started to eat their own, and threaten others among the Democrats who got out of line.  And now, they think that 2006 is the year that they toss the GOP out of power and set up a socialist utopia, in what would then no longer be, the land of the free and the home of the brave.  I feel that they are in for the third straight rude awakening, as does Rush.

Insanity has been defined as doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.  Nothing more needs to be said.