Maybe it’s time to drop the picket signs and pick up a copy of The Road to Serfdom [Reader Post]


It was with great interest that I watched Facebook catch fire with support of the calls for picketing and sick-outs at Wal-Ma

rt stores across the country on Black Friday. From what I could tell, most of those supporting the calls were liberals who attacked the company with claims that it doesn’t pay “a living wage”, “exploits” its workers, or owes its workers health care. I even saw one fantastical claim that a majority of Wal-Mart employees are on food stamps. The suggestion was that Wal-Mart should be forced (via government itself or indirectly via unions) to change completely how it deals with its employees in terms of salary and benefits.

To set the record straight, according to Business Insider, Wal-Mart pays its workers an average of $11.75 per hour, just slightly below retail’s national average of $12.04 and well above the federal minimum wage of $7.25. The company itself states that the average non-manager employee earns between $10 & $12 per hour.

Those wages are at least sufficient to make Wal-Mart the largest employer in the country, with a current headcount of over 1.4 million employees. And no one forced those employees to take those jobs. One of the beauties of freedom is that employees are free to work at Wal-Mart or they can take their labor and sell it to someone else… or better yet, they could start their own businesses.

I couldn’t help but think back to the nonsensical Occupy Wall Street protests of a year ago. Many of the participants were carrying around signs decrying Wall Street for its profit mongering and the harm big businesses were inflicting on small businesses and the little guy. Of course their solution of choice was more regulation. Naturally.

Both of these instances reveal more about the protesters than it does about the companies being pilloried. The very regulations they seek are one of the reasons big businesses are so successful verses small businesses in the first place.

It’s a simple example of liberals either not knowing or ignoring basic economics. Take economies of scale. One of its benefits is that you can spread fixed costs out over a larger volume. It works for rent as well as for regulations. Let’s imagine there are two widget stores operating next to one another with identical rents of $10,000 per month. With everything else being equal, the store selling 2,000 widgets a month can build a $5 cost per widget into his prices, whereas the store selling only 1,000 widgets per month has to build in a rent cost of $10 per widget. As such, the store selling more widgets will likely be more profitable, successful and eventually may be able to buy out the second widget store and start its journey to becoming a hated big business.

The same holds true for regulations. Frequently large businesses not only influence regulations to their benefit, but they can also absorb the costs of such regulations far more easily than can their smaller brethren, even if they were unable to influence their writing. Take the tax code for example. At 75,000 pages, a five billion dollar company can easily afford to hire a phalanx of lawyers to find ways to reduce its taxes or lobby for changes. Such luxuries are rarely feasible for small businesses.

According to the Small Business Administration, big businesses with more than 500 employees pay about $7,755 per employee to comply with federal rules each year, while small businesses with fewer than 20 employees pay $10,585 per employee. That is almost 50% more that small businesses have to pay per employee than do large businesses. All because of regulation.

This push for regulation is simply another example of the left using the cover of populism to disguise its real agenda: more government control over business. Whether using the fig leaf of environmentalism to further the nonsensical, inflation causing ethanol mandates or the lie of “the rich don’t pay their fair share” to push for higher taxes, the left rarely lets facts get in the way of their pursuit of a socialist, statist agenda.

Which brings us back to the Wal-Mart protests of Black Friday. The real goal of liberals is not to improve the lot of Wal-Mart employees, it’s control of the company via unions and their government enablers. In doing so they would be able to use government regulations to not only take money out of the pockets of Wal-Mart workers, but more ominously, they could harness the power of the NLRB to impose a wide range of costs, controls and dictates on the company.

To put a cherry on top, take Wal-Mart’s misguided and calculating support of Obamacare – calculating that it would impose greater costs on its small competitors – that has now resulted in the company itself dropping healthcare coverage for many employees while drastically raising the premium costs for others. By pushing such utopian, economically illiterate regulations as Obamacare, the Community Reinvestment Act, ethanol mandates and higher taxes for the rich, liberals not only fail in their stated objectives, but they also invite a wide range of unintended consequences, none of which ever seem to be good. Maybe it’s time to drop the picket signs and pick up a copy of The Road to Serfdom.

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If you want an example of the way Walmart has ruined small businesses and forced jobs and manufacturing overseas here is the truth.Walmart,began wooing American businesses to put products in Walmart due to its large number of stores, once they got 80% of that companies business,then when it came to contract negotiation ,if the company was getting 5.00 a unit,Walmart would say we are going to pay you 1.60 and since we have control of your business,your choice is take it or go bankrupt.Many local businesses,back when they claimed they bought American ,were wooed this way and bankrupted.But then they went after brand name American products.Enter Bill Clinton,whose wifey Hillary was on Walmarts board of directors.Clinton signed NAFTA, allowing foods and products as well as manufacturing to use cheap labor from Mexico ,and further erode job selection in small towns across America,by reducing business cost for labor at a significantly reduced cost per unit .Why pay an American worker 9.00 an hr. when you can pay a Mexican worker 1.50(maybe) .It also allowed Mexican produce to enter our market.Then we started Indonesian trade agreements,enter the cheap labor costs that benefit Walmart and destroyed more American jobs .Then we get the trade agreement with China and Ba-Bing the manufacturers that were threatened with bankruptcy can tap into even cheaper Chinese labor.Add into this ,planned obsolesence for product life and voila a consumer driven cash cow.The Chinese trade agreement was yet another load of Clinton crap with promise of big returns for the US ,which have resulted in a huge deficit,in other words we buy more Chinese than we sell to the Chinese…beneficiary once again Walmart.
Now,that small towns have no decent paying jobs because they have been put out of business or the manufacturers moved overseas,along comes Walmart the great job savior.Oh,we’ll move to your town ,but only if we get huge tax breaks and incentives for x number of years,because you know we bring jobs and help the local economies (wink,wink). Then they come to town and if there is any businesses that are in competition with them,they will attempt to undercut them long enough to put them out of business,or at least marginalize them.So then ,with jobs scarce and job sources scarce ,Walmart comes to town ,so with no choice ,and a labor market hungry for jobs,where to work…Walmart or maybe Walmart or you know…there’s always Walmart.Then you get 39 hrs. a week,so they don’t have to pay the touted benefits,then if you are lucky enough to make manager,they jerk you around where ever they want,producing a carrot but never delivering.
So don’t come to the aid of this bloated business predator,they have used the above model for years .They are the best example of predator capitalism,all nice and legal,but it helps when the president makes trade agreements that benefit you by killing your competition and reducing your product cost by 1000-2000%.
As to those who cry faux on these facts,this is all based on life experiences from friends who have worked for,work for,to the owners of businesses killed by Walmart,to having lived in small towns “blessed ” by the invasion of Walmart.Walmart wants all the business in an area ,and they don’t care who they step on.Don’t believe me,just step inside and look at all the former name brands that are in China and Mexico,whose products used to last for decades ,and now can be measured in months,or if you are lucky ,years.
As for the Walmart model of incentive packages,and tax breaks for businesses providing jobs,due to the decimation of our manufacturing base ,we now have bidding wars to woo manufacturers,the winners
usually being the companies offering the carrot of jobs,but bought with promises of perks,and under the table promises and incentives.This also happened to me.A candy company was promised a two square mile re- zoning to light industrial if they located here,all under the table.I live in a housing addition a half mile away,and when this leaked the sh** hit the fan.The rezoning would effect agricultural property as well as school districts.It didn’t happen the way it was supposed to.But this is part of the trickle down effect of policies started with Walmart.

@Old Gringo: I don’t know why you’d say such a thing about me, Old Gringo, unless it was in jest? I’m certainly not a Progressive let alone one of the highest order. In fact, I’m so Conservative that I need to point the Hubble telescope LEFT and bring it to full power to see Tea Partiers, Libertarians, or Constitutionalists. And, the likes of plain vanilla Republicans are beyond the event horizon!


The name of the game? COMPETITION. If you can’t compete, then you don’t need someone (i.e. the government/unions) propping up a business that will eventually fail anyway.

But there is one fact that you don’t address in your post: quality control. You see, when Wal-Mart, or any major retailer, purchases from companies in China and India, they take what is shipped to them. In both China and India, the products have to be paid for before they are shipped. But there is no guarantee that the quality is going to be good and there is a good possibility that Wal-Mart will receive 5,000 shirts, with nothing but left sleeves. Oooops, too bad. They are already paid for and good luck getting their money back.

Competition has nothing to do with it when the deck is stacked and you are the dealer .As to your assertion on quality control ,maybe in the beginning,but then American manufacturing started sending their own quality control teams and the products are better but don’t hold a candle to what they used to be,built with inferior componentry and the accepted percentage of allowed fails.
And let me be perfectly clear,I don’t want govt. interfering and I have a disdain for unions.What you don’t address in my post is how govt. actually assisted Walmart and killed American businesses,drove them if they wanted to survive,overseas and destroyed manufacturing jobs that had supported families for generations.

@retire05, #49:

Greggie, your movie reference was made by Robert Greenwald, a radical left winger who is nothing more than a Michael Moore-on wannabe. Of course, he is heralded by the NY Slimes, and, a wholly owned subsidiary of George Soros.

That seems to be how any evidence that does not conform to corporate America’s own totally self-centered world view is summarily dismissed. Anyone who levels thoughtful criticism at that view and backs it up with real world examples is instantly branded a socialist or a communist.

@babygirl825: I’m a true idiot!? You fail to see that outsourcing jobs IS THE PROBLEM!!! All so you can catch a sale. Due to your form of Ad hominem rhetoric, I will no longer address you. Enjoy the rest of your evening.


Competition has everything to do with it. Why do you think we no longer have large buggy manufacturers or companies that make top hats? Competition, and the value to the customer, changes everything. Using your logic, people should have continued to buy buggy whips, typewriters and kerosene lanterns so those companies would not have gone out of business.

We live in a changing world, except the unions never change. The trick is for American entrepreneurship to be able to keep up with the changing world. We haven’t. When there is a downside to change, it seems the nation that put a man on the moon can no longer adapt. If we are to compete with foreign labor charges, then we have to come up with a cheaper, faster, better way of producing goods. We haven’t. Markets change but we haven’t kept up with that change.

So to blame Wal-Mart for exactly what Home Depot, Lowe’s, Target, or any big box retail chain does is a big much, don’t you think? What those chains did was allow people to have more “luxury” items at an affordable price. And you think that is a bad thing?


Greggie, I pay no more attention to radical left wingers as I do to any Socialist/Marxist/Communist who lives in a tony neighborhood but would deny poorer people some of the things they possess. That is the maker of your movie.

Retire 05, sorry,you don’t get it.You side step the issue. Who is the beneficiary of govt.regulation.Duh,the big box stores.Why,because the small stores or independents ,that offer a better product or servicability can’t afford it.Why does this benefit the big box stores? Duh,they can absorb the loss,write it off on taxes AND eliminate competition.Who has lobbyists in Washington pushing for these small business Killing regs.Duh,the big box stores. Who said,” You call it monopoly,I call it free enterprise?” What choice do you have if all you have is one choice???

I used to have a family owned grocery business for years. It was very hard work but I loved it. Then I had to get out and sell because we had too much competition. That happens. It is called life. I miss the grocery business, but I put my trust in YeHoWah (YHVH in Hebrew) to take me to the next level or purpose in my life. I pray that YeHoWah’s perfect will be done in my life every day. I am still prospering and loving life. Praise God.

All liberals are willfully and unquestionably following the obamessiah over that fiscal cliff. Remember this bit of information for future reference. Facts enrage liberals. Us Conservatives can beat liberals about the head and shoulders all day long with facts and they will inevitably become enraged, scream you down and revert back to the old argument: Conservatives are angry money hungry, selfish hastards because they don’t want to be FORCED to hand over ( libtards word: “share” ) what little money they make to all the professional welfare collectors in the U.S.

Yeah… Conservatives are angry?? LMAO

As far as unions go… Union workers are slackers. They want a ton of money while working as little as possible for it. Unions help them be lazy, unproductive members of society, much like professional welfare collectors.


No, Dman, you don’t get it. We no longer live in a world where people have to walk to the grocers and buy only what they can carry home or to pay to have it delivered. We no longer need a land line to call our mothers or have to send mail by snail mail (the USPS). We don’t have to buy a newspaper to know what is going on in the world. The doctor no longer makes house calls, and cars don’t last 25 years. The world, as well as the world of commerce, has changed.

We have not kept up with the changes and that is strictly due to a lack of innovation by Americans. You cannot tell me that just because China and India have cheap labor we can’t compete knowing what is produced in the U.S. is not subject to import taxes, which all of us pay in the retail cost of a product. Why can Whirlpool make all their products (or at least most of them) in Kentucy and Michigan and still be competitive with other brands like GE which is all made in China? Why can I buy a Toyota, parts made in the U.S. and assembled in Texas, and pay the same thing as I would for a GM product, or actually, less?

Yes, large companies hold sway in government. So what? Do you think they are trying to get laws passed that would reinstate slave labor? Or is it to keep the regulations down to prevent the government from strangling them to death?

Who said “You call it a monopoly. I call it enterprise.”? John Rockafeller when the followers of William Jennings Bryan were trying to rake him over the coals. But it backfired. After the government busted up Standard Oil, old J.D. made more money than ever. The so-called “robber barons” get a bad rap and no one ever talks about how they helped make the U.S. the most dynamic nation in the history of mankind. But I suppose you would disagree with the advances they made that allowed ALL Americans to live better and safer.

You will never have just “one” choice. Wal-Mart has strong competition (Target, et al) and always will. You want to go back to the horse and buggy days where there really was only ONE choice.

what more can I say following your comment,
you’re brilliant, and said it better than I would,
and many other also
keep them at bay,
you are right , and many would like to have a job,
if they could find one, a person cannot start by being a president of a company,
he must clime the mountain first, and many did go far up the ladder by first take the interest of the company, who where notice as excellent person that they could trust,, and where lift up higher, because they deserved it,
best to you

“Idiot”…. “Libatard” … Has Flopping Aces jumped the shark? There was a time when actual debates could happen here. Very sad.

all this was debates, by both sides,
why are you so angry,
you won your side and the other won their own.
don’t you want to know what the other side is debating?
take care, this is only one POST of hundreds and more,
this is what it’s all about, when the PEOPLE DECIDE TO EXPRESS THEIR INNER THOUGHTS,
and it’s fantastic to see the FREEDOM at work here at FLOPPING ACES,

I’m not angry at all, bees. I’ve said what I have to say. If people want to resort to name calling, then they’re free to enjoy themselves in their little vacuum. Ive always come here and found intelligent discussions, even if i disagreed. This kind of stuff is just a waste of my time. Have a great night!

never leave angry, you know, we care for your smart comments,
now, admit you had some real debates,

@retire05: Agreed. The Democratic found a knock-out combination: exploit the widespread ignorance regarding business, finance, and commerce to get votes, convince us all that we live in a time of modern “robber barons,” cash that hatred in as votes, and skate on to install yourself as the only party in town.

In the old days they had a word for this: Tyranny.

First Obama wins elections he shouldn’t because he’s found a way to subvert the electoral system, then Reid and rest try to dismantle the checks and balances (Filibuster).
Next come the United States of the Democratic Party. All the while they say it’s “the will of the people.”

How are we going to undo all this damage and, as they say Guy Ritchie movies, “Crack on”?

thank you for the INTERESTING POST,

Oh, this was a great debate until the word “idiot” came in, then it went totally downhill. I’m not angry at all, I just refuse to engage in that sort of thing. See you next time.

I have seen worse on other place,
so it’s a form of expression you find on a regular base,
not frequent here, bye

That’s why I don’t go to other places, bees. I come here. That’s beneath the caliber of Flopping Aces. Good night.

@Nathan Blue:

The only thing I can tell you is that the pendulum never stops and once it swings so far to one side, it swings even farther to the other.

When we first thought about becoming a nation, back in the days of the really great American thinkers who had educated themselves on Cicero, Thomas Aquinas, et al, only about 30% of the colonists were in support of separating from Great Britain with the other 70% being Loyalists. Yet, that 30% gave us the nation we now love.
You see, eventually, the minority (the taxpayers) get sick of footing the bill for those who contribute nothing, and that is when things start to get dicey. Do I think we will see another revolutionary war? No, but I have no doubt that unless the reins are pulled in, we will see a legal insurrection. You can push Americans only so far until they say “Enough” and start to buck the system.

I have had progressives (liberals) tell me that they, and their ways, are the future of the nation. I remind them that they are aborting themselves out of the majority.

don’t wait too long


There has been no dispute of facts on this thread, only on the interpretations and opinions of them. As for union workers, feel free to contact me by clicking on my name at the heading on this comment, and I’ll give you my employer references. You can also contact the cancer charity I’ve helped raise more half a million dollars for this past year and tell them about how I’m not a productive member of society. Once you’ve done those things, I’ll gladly swallow your insult and go dig myself a hole to crawl in.


Thanks Bees, always a pleasure.


I’d say that by many of the comments on your topic, there isn’t many people who truly understand what Hayek was saying in his The Road to Serfdom. And that is truly unfortunate, given the current state of the country and the world in general.

Take the union issue, for instance. Not many people would realize that the various unions, particularly of the manufacturing industry, have acted as catalysts for their own demise, while they continue to strive to protect themselves against it. The harder they push, the quicker their demise becomes, assuming, of course, that the central planners leave themselves out of it (which, of course, they have not).

The unions, by insisting on pushing their power above and beyond worker safety and fair, equitable pay, to the point that they generally point to the direction a company moves, and require compensation above which a business can sustain, hasten the point at which the company closes it’s doors, unable to compete in the market place. Many companies who have come under this type of attack have opted to simply move operations outside our borders, or, in some cases like the automobile industry, have opted to have parts brought in from overseas. This has destroyed large sectors in manufacturing within the US itself, meaning these unions have basically eaten themselves out of house and home. They have bitten the hand that feeds them. Is there any wonder that the pushback from companies can sometimes exhibit the extreme opposite of what they have experienced at the hands of the unions?

And what about Walmart? When I was younger, Walmart was a relief to many people who had been experiencing the escalating prices from the local retailers. At that time, Walmart offered mainly the same conglomeration of products, mostly made in the US, at a much, much cheaper price than the locals, and hence, took the locals business away. It wasn’t an “evil plan” meant to destroy the little guys. Rather, it was a vision of the founder of the company so that people could enjoy paying less for the items they wanted, or needed, to buy.

But what caused this situation that allowed stores like Walmart to thrive?

Much of it was due to the increasing prices the manufacturers were charging, what they had to charge in order to remain profitable, because of the influence the unions themselves were wielding. The little guy stores, who would only purchase so many of a product, were left to pay these higher prices, and in turn charge their customers more for them, in order to survive.

Enter Walmart, where the company could negotiate much lower prices per product, due to buying them in such bulk. Is it any wonder that people flocked to Walmarts across the country to buy these items? Eventually, Walmart became big business and the investors clamored for more profit, leading to buying overseas made junk(although, in the case of some products), that’s where any store had to go to buy products to sell).

Economic freedom no longer truly exists in this country. At some point(and for most products, many points) during the journey a product takes, it is subjected to an artificial influence that adds cost on to the price an object eventually sells for. High taxation, heavy regulation, and union wage demands, are just a few of these points. As such, companies like Walmart, who can bypass as many of these as possible to obtain the greatest profit possible, will go overseas for the products they sell. Other companies, like the auto industry, will obtain parts contained within the final product, from overseas.

So, how do you solve this?

One way I know of is to remove those points a product encounters during it’s journey of idea to your hands.
-Taxation, for example, can have an incredible influence on a products pricing. If the Fairtax was adopted, for example, then a company, or business, would have no tax burden on itself(other than it’s own end-use products it uses), and thus, the US would become the mecca for manufacturing again. Companies currently making their products overseas would flock back to the US to make them again.

-Regulation can also have an incredible influence on a product’s pricing. But this is trickier to attack. Many regulations are in place in order to make workplaces safer, and the products they make safer for consumers and the environment. Others, though, are obstacles with no benefit that have been put in place by people unrelated to the industries themselves. Wading through and deciding which are the good ones and which are the bad ones wouldn’t be an easy task. But it should be done. Bad regulations can be identified, reconsidered, and thrown out if they are deemed useless, or have minimal impact(there are a lot more of these regulations than you might realize that result in unnecessary increased cost to the consumers).

-Unions are another trickier obstacle to tackle. The main thrust and purpose of the varied unions is still to ensure a worker’s workplace is safe and equitable for the worker. It’s the unmitigated greed, however, that needs to be addressed, and that greed is mainly by the national officers over the various unions. How this is addressed is beyond me, though, as it seems that an authoritarian overhaul of union management would be required, and that is precisely the opposite of what Hayek would recommend.

wow, you sure know the problem, and how to solve some critical issues, but the UNIONS ARE FOR THEMSELVES ONLY, they hide under their claim to protect their members, when they use them ,
and drive the COMPANIES TO DESPAIR, some don’t take their crap and forsee more breakages
so they just close out of anger to see their emplyees follow the UNION ,
THEY SEE IT as a treasonous action and rightfully so,
but ON ANOTHER POINT, I was thinking of that is high time to shut the importers of items which can be establish able to be manufacture in the good old USA, AS BEFORE WHERE MADE IN AMERICA WAS SO MUCH PRAISE BY FOR INSTANCE A COUNTY LIKE CANADA, AS OPPOSE TO CHINA OR JAPAN OR BANGLADESH OR INDIA OR OTHER, SOME ARE HATERS OF AMERICA AND YES AMERICA
that measure of closing the foreign imports would force the
how can a president don’t have the brain to see further than now and try to make other decide for him, and cover him for four more years of open borders welcoming illegals for the
four next years and like he promisses to change the real AMERICA INTO A MULTIPLE TOWER OF BABEL UNTIL A REVOLUTION EXPLODE

now OBAMA GOES to the public 0n the MEDIAS ant freak up the people by saying their tax will all go up,
because he did not get a deal,
now he make it look like it’s the fault of the GOPS,
OKAY NOW let the GOPS come and tell the people which one is on bad faith,
they will do the same game as OBAMA, right in front of the people, show OBAMA AS HE IS,
he is again putting the blame of his failures on someone else, as he has done in the last four years,
no other PRESIDENT ever put the blame on other for their mistakes



@Liberal1 (Objectivity): @bbartlog:
“those not capable of surviving in the market place dying in the streets of disease and injury (like a third-world country), if it weren’t for liberals. ”

I find the following statistic interest. Per capita, Conservatives give more to charity than Liberals.

Th point is there are other ways to take care of those needing help than TAKING the hard earned money from workers, giving it to the Government where a large portion of it is lost to overhead, mismanagement, and fraud, and giving it to people who may or may not really need it. That is to let people GIVE their money to others. I am sure that if Conservatives did not have so much of their money TAKEN from them, they would GIVE even more, and without the overhead, mismanagement and fraud rife in Government programs.

And now, if we could just get the Liberals to give as much as the Conservatives, I think the problem would be better handled than it is now.

still operating in AMERICA, they provide jobs, they pay as their budget allow them,
and they don’t break any arms to get workers, they can leave and try somewhere else anytime
if they are not happy with their pay,
if the UNIONS force themselves in, it will mean less worker, will be hired ,
if you don’t work, you have nothing, you are force to be on welfare,
it’s better to have less than nothing, it’s better to choose a job than to take from the taxpayers if you are able to work, it’s an open door to prove who you are even on a humble job, and if you can prove you are taking the interest of the COMPANY instead of the UNION, then you have a chance to clime ladder faster,
what’s wrong with that?
forcing you to worse conditions.
check it up

THE DEMOCRATS are big yellar but no substance, just words,
they are the type to take from other and keep a share for them and give to charity only the crumbs,
and it doesn’t come from their own pocket either,
so they don’t deserve any respect from the voters, any time,,
but they keep the voter from knowing how cheap and classless they are.

Kalamawashington, I can tell you first hand that the UAW is directly helping various charitable organizations (United Way). In my community there are drives to feed the homeless and others less fortunate. At Christmas every year, the UAW makes sure a lot of disadvantaged children receive gifts, and I’m not talking about cheap stuff.

I have worked in non-union and union work places and I prefer union and working under the umbrella of a contract. My employer is making huge profits and I’m happy for that as it also provides job security as does our contract.

My next comment is a bit off topic here, but mark my words: We WILL unionize the automobile manufacturing transplants in TN, AL, and MS!