Wal-Mart and Minimum Wage Chicken Hawks [Reader Post]



Job killing leftists have chalked up another victory. Wal-Mart was looking to build three stores in Washington, DC, but the prostitutes serving Big Labor, aka the DC City Council, voted 8-5 to chase them away. What this came in the form of was a “Living Wage Bill”, which was actually specifically targeted toward Wal-Mart. The bill forces retailers with over $1 billion in sales and stores occupying over 75,000 feet of pave to pay $12.50 per hour, as opposed to the $8.25 Washington, DC minimum wage. The Washington Post reported 

“The question here is a living wage; it’s not whether Wal-Mart comes or stays,” said council member Vincent B. Orange (D-At Large), a lead backer of the legislation, who added that the city did not need to kowtow to threats. “We’re at a point where we don’t need retailers. Retailers need us.”

What? Exactly what point is it that you feel the need to chase businesses away from a city that has 8.5% unemployment? We could also give Messr, Orange a basic lesson on economics that wages get determined by what you’re worth, not what makes leftists happy. Entry level jobs pay less for a reason. And we could also point out that when a city suffers from high unemployment it’s nothing to celebrate over when you shut down someone who is willing to risk their own money in your neighborhood to create jobs. $8.25 per hour is actually an exponentially better wage than the amount of zero that comes from not working. Fox News added that Wal-mart scrapped it’s plans as a result, and also noted how this bill singled out Wal-Mart: 

Unionized businesses are exempt from the measure. Large stores that already have a presence in D.C., including Target (TGT) and Macy’s (M), have four years to comply.

That last part can be translated as an exemption that Macy’s and Target will be allowed to keep in perpetuity provided they shovel enough money to the appropriate community groups dedicated to re-electing the DC council members.

One doesn’t have to go far to see examples of leftists’ selective outrage, whether it’s in the privately owned Newseum’s layoffs while their executives are paid quite well, or anti-Capitalist Senator Elizabeth Warren (D – Cherokee Nation) who pays her own interns a living wage of… zero.

Here is where I go back to my original “Chicken Hawk” argument. If all of you lefties truly support a living wage, then try something crazy and radical – go out and support a living wage yourself. Let’s start with Councilman Orange – if $12.50 is the lowest wage needed to survive in Washington DC, raise the minimum wage to that level for all residents, not just those that may be employed by an organization that the radical left has to hate. I urge Councilman Orange to take it a step further – going forward he should refuse campaign contributions from any organization whose lowest paid employee makes less than $12.50 an hour.

The easiest way is for you to use your own income to start a company that pays $12.50 an hour for entry level work. Chances are, if you’re living in the Washington DC area you probably have some money put away that you can afford to do so. Knock yourself out – if you feel so strongly about paying a living wage, then do it yourself. Or find a group of friends to pool your money if you can’t afford this on your own. Or maybe this is too much trouble for you – fair enough. Then I call on you to show that you are serious by boycotting all of your local favorites that don’t pay at least $12.50 per hour to all of their employees. Do Ben’s Chili Bowl, Ray’s The Third (Hell Burger), or the Old Ebbitt Grill pay every employee, from their managers down to the cleaning crew a living wage? If they don’t then stop eating at them. Take it to all of your everyday purchases – if you’re looking for a good deal on a TV or if you need a new refrigerator steer clear of Best Buy and HH Gregg until you’ve confirmed that the wages they pay meet whatever your personal morality dictates for them to earn your business. You don’t want to come off as ignorant like John Edwards, do you?. I have no idea how much each of these organizations pay, and I really don’t care. How much each employee is compensated is between them an the employer so long as no laws are being broken.

Or don’t. I really don’t care what choices you make with your own money. If you like to spend less and want to support the people who work for Wal-Mart then shop there. Or don’t shop at Wal-Mart and seek a store that pays its employees higher wages and gives you the opportunity to support that effort by paying more. But stop pretending that your focused ire toward Walmart is out of compassion for the poor rather than a product of the interest groups telling you who to hate this week.

Cross posted from Brother Bob’s Blog

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It’s been going on for a long time; mom and pop stores oppose WalMart because WalMart will buy in big enough quantity to undercut their prices.
Either they go out of business because their prices seem too high OR they cut prices and thus profits to a point where it is too much trouble to bother staying in business for so little.
And then there’s labor.
Most competitive stores used to be non-union, but when that changed WalMart was the clear winner in that paying less (although enough to attract plenty of workers) gave WalMart wiggle room to keep prices lower than unionized stores.

But now, recently, the City Counsels are getting involved.
Yes, the cities need the taxes collected.
BUT no, the more Leftist cities don’t want WalMart’s taxes….and you’re correct, it isn’t out of compassion for the poor. It is because the city leaders want more unionization.

When I was in CA I couldn’t stand shopping at WalMart.
It was too crowded and there were too few workers to help you.
That’s all different in Utah where the minimum wage is substantially lower than in CA.
There were plenty of workers, therefore no long lines and people to point the way to various products.

Apparently some huge WalMart hub is located in Utah, too.
They are constantly advertising for truck drivers and warehouse workers.
They pay far above Utah’s minimum wage, too.
Even though they are not being forced to.

Dig deeper! The minimum wage issues sound plausible but I bet there is something else. We are talking the DC City Council, here!
I’m betting that the minimum wage issue was raised as a counter-threat after the Walmart executive refused to agree that the Councilman’s son-in-law would be the second shift store manager, be immune from discipline, and have sole authority to hire the shift. Maybe, the Council demanded that theft charges against members of the local community ALL be handled the the local kangaroo court of Reverend/Councilman What’s-His-Name.
There has to be more than just the hourly rate of pay.

Walmart has essentially put American workers, American factories, and American small business owners in direct competition with foreign labor happy to work for less per month than an American worker requires just to live for a week. It’s been calculated that a new Walmart store on average costs each local economy 3 jobs for every 2 it creates.

People will predictably attack the article linked below on sight. The website is decidedly liberal. Have at it. Bear in mind, however, that the facts are the facts. If you find any of the 10 points not to be true, feel free to point it out:

Not Made in America: Top 10 Ways Walmart Destroys U.S. Manufacturing Jobs.

Walmart is exactly what is wrong with this county and fools who support the destruction of the middle class will eventually pay in the end.

No problem for Walmart. The District of Columbia is not an island. The line between it and the neighboring states is nothing more than a line on a map. I see it now: Walmart builds three stores just outside the D.C boundary line and they are overwhelmed with business that will funnel the tax receipts to Virgina (don’t expect to see a store built in adjacent Merryland).

@Greg: You said it much more succinctly than that article.
It states and restates this same thing in at least 8 of it’s 10 ”top ten…..

Walmart has essentially put American workers, American factories, and American small business owners in direct competition with foreign labor…

But no matter how you state it, succinctly or not, you and your article omit a major factor in why the USA has been and will continue to lose manufacturing jobs: its tax codes.
Our tax code is both expensive and extremely complicated.
It takes special employees or departments or outside advisers just to figure it out each year.
That alone is expensive.
For example, capital expenses must be depreciated over a 5 year period.
This means that if the manufacturer (like our printing company) has to upgrade their facilities every year in order to stay competitive, that company STILL must pay taxes on 80% of the money used in the capital expenditure!
The only reason we were able to be competitive was that printing is so time sensitive (we need it NOW!!!!) that foreign companies could not compete.
Other manufacturers are not so fortunate.

Obama is a demonizer.
WalMart was an easy target for him.
I have seen the same lady all over the country in anti-WalMart demonstrations.
In some interviews she has many children, in others only one.
Sometimes she is said to be a local WalMart employee in places over a thousand miles from her home!
She’s a paid shill for Obama’s anti-WalMart forces.

What DC is doing is making a silent tax less silent.
Obama at least uses the clever ruse of demonizing ”the rich” as he attempts to tax them into quitting business.

The agenda behind the living wage is two fold. First, by allowing enough illegal aliens to move into the country to depress wages liberals can ride to the rescue on their faux moral high horse. In typical liberal fashion, they create a problem to solve to get the credit for it.

Second, if you paid attention to the high single motherhood rate you would realize the government attempting to extract 25% of your gross salary for child support is of little practical value when your working for $8.25/hr. The working poor under this situation is better off being unemployed living on food stamps than paying child support. Or in jail for nonpayment where they get 3 hots and a cot instead of going hungry living on the street. So in the name of fixing the single mother financial problem of having no viable baby daddy to make an economic slave, the answer is to raise their wages so they can pay. The living wage agenda coincidentally appeared after Clinton’s welfare reform, part of which was to get the government out of subsidizing single motherhood by making the baby daddy pay his fair share. Single mothers were forced to name the baby daddy or risk loosing all their benefits. At that point the idiot politicians and bureaucracy realized they can’t get blood from a turnip and hence the liberal agenda of the living wage was born.

Thus we see the policies of dumb and dumber run at cross purposes to one another, illegal aliens needed to become new Democrat voters harm the other favored group, single mothers, the mainstay of the Democrat Party voting base.

I worked at a UAW shop in NW Ohio for 32 years and then went to a “Big Three” union shop in Toledo, Ohio. I found that the “union” had deteriorated over 35 years to a protection racket for minorities who didn’t want to show up and work……… and that’s the way it is……….

Unfortunately, the USA is not profitable to do business in anymore- especially manufacturing business. The reasons are multifactorial with the tax codes high on the list. However, it’s just the tip of the iceberg- and the rest is a whole different discussion.

According to the DOL, as of 2012 unionized labor had been reduced to only 11.3% of the entire U.S. workforce. In the private sector, unionized labor represented only 7%. These are the lowest levels of unionized labor in the United States since 1932. It might be time to look for somebody besides union employees to blame for the overseas outsourcing of American jobs.

The United States is far down on the trade union density list, compared with other modern industrialized nations. Compare the U.S. percentage with other nations for 2010, the most recent year when all national statistics are available.

The reality of the situation just doesn’t match the anti-union rhetoric.

It might also be instructive to look at a chart of the comparative tax burdens for each of the 34 OECD nations, to see where the U.S. actually fits in. I’ll save anyone who doesn’t want to click the trouble: As of 2010, the United States was 3rd from the bottom.

And it was only after his [Sam Walton] death, after Wal-Mart’s downhome founder was no longer its public face, that the country began to understand what his company had done. Over the years, America had become more like Wal-Mart. It had gotten cheap. Prices were lower, and wages were lower. There were fewer union factory jobs, and more part-time jobs as store greeters. The small towns where Mr. Sam had seen his opportunity were getting poorer, which meant that consumers there depended more and more on everyday low prices, and made every last purchase at Wal-Mart, and maybe had to work there, too. The hollowing out of the heartland was good for the company’s bottom line. And in parts of the country that were getting richer, on the coasts and in some big cities, many consumers regarded Wal-Mart and its vast aisles full of crappy, if not dangerous, Chinese-made goods with horror, and instead purchased their shoes and meat in expensive boutiques as if overpaying might inoculate them against the spread of cheapness, while stores like Macy’s, the bastions of a former middle-class economy, faded out, and America began to look once more like the country Mr. Sam had grown up in.

George Packer The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America

“Walmart has essentially put American workers, American factories, and American small business owners in direct competition with foreign labor…”. but allowing illegals to continue to work here isn’t putting out people in direct competition for jobs?

@Rob in Katy: #13 BINGO!! But a Lib will never admit it.
Wal Mart is Bottom skill work, WHY SHOULD they pay HIGH WAGES for it?? Want AMERICAN GOODS to be more Competitive?? TARIFF imports, and CUT COSTS and RED TAPE to MANUFACTURE HERE!! like we USED TO DO!
Otherwise, we’re finished.

@Greg: #11.. well, maybe it’s because TOYOTA, as an example, produced a BETTER CAR for LESS!! UNIONIZED DETROIT, killed itself… with over priced plastic filled recall heavy crappy rust buckets…

Just so you know GREG… I’ve had a Toyota truck.. was great. Drive a Nissan 97 PU.. it’s great. I had a 85 ford PU.. ok… my 1975 Chevy C10 Heavy Half….. (restored in 2000) is TWICE the truck the 85 could ever hope to be! Use it for heavy trailer towing even now! It’s a FACT.. they “don’t make em like they used to!” and THAT is why we lost Market share… and the JOBS that went with it.

Maybe I should repeat a couple of points mentioned in #11 again:

The American workforce has the lowest percentage of union jobs that has existed at any time since 1932. Only 11.3% of all American jobs—including both the private and public sectors—are union. That’s a much lower percentage than most other industrialized countries.

Of the 34 OECD nations, the percentage of the U.S. tax burden is third from the lowest.

It’s hard to believe unionization and high taxes are the main drags on economic growth.

@Tom: Your quote seems to be making a false causal relationship between things that are NOT directly related.
George Packer says….”what his company [WalMart] had done.”
Then goes into a laundry list of things that WalMart had nothing to do with!
You could make the exact same set of claims but use ”illegal immigrants,” instead of WalMart as the ”cause,” and be just as off.

Perhaps if the unions also supported Republican candidates and office holders, they might do better. Some corporations will throw support behind both candidates in an election, in a classic tactic called “playing both sides against the middle”.

And the unions are now all in for the Presidents version of immigration reform. Which will lower wages and make it harder for native Americans to find entry level jobs. The unions want essentially amnesty for illegals because they see a chance to unionize a new group of workers and get more money for themselves, not the workers they represent. That’s what it’s about in the end for unions…MONEY..

@Brother Bob: Nothing new — I haven’t seen a shirt made in the US for the last 40 years — I knew a guy in 1977 who was ecstatic over getting in on the ground floor of importing stock and custom sails for sailboats — from Taiwan.

@Greg: Boy — you have a classic cart vs horse problem. The reason there are a low number of private union jobs is because the dopes put their companies out of business. No business — no jobs — duh!

@Mully: Right — and not really for the ‘workers’

@Greg: #37.. the COST of Unions helped DRIVE AWAY labor, to CHEAPER regions. And TAX rates, and REGULATORY COSTS drove in the Final nail.

GREG, throw your POLITICAL side away for one minute.. YOU are now making DVD players. You can make them in two locations. ONE will cost you 12.00 an hour labor, the other 5.00 an hour, BOTH offer similar quality, WHICH would you choose? ALSO, one will cost you approx 40% in taxes, and regulatory compliance, the other less than HALF that amount, bearing in mind, you have STOCKHOLDERS to worry about, WHERE do you move to??

ANSWER these HONESTLY, and you might get a clue WHY things have shifted to what they now are. THEN, add OBAMA CARE COSTS.. ON TOP of the above… and you HAVE to see, the JOB situation will only GET WORSE…..

@Budvarakbar: #22… BINGO!! YOU sir see clearly!

@Mully: #20.. true, and in DOING SO it will CUT WAGES for CURRENT UNION MEMBERS, as well as the AVAILABILITY of jobs FOR THEM!! OOOOPS!!

@Budvarakbar, #22:

Unions and high taxes are part of the republican cover story. The actual reason millions of U.S. jobs have gone overseas is because billions of dollars could made by sending them there, by people who don’t actually give a damn about the long-term damage this does to American workers, other American businesses, or the national economy in general.

It’s all about one thing and one thing alone: higher profits for me, with no concern about the consequences for thee. One of the main functions of the latter-day GOP is to facilitate such wealth-building processes, while covering up any dysfunctional realities that might be involved.

@Greg: Your contempt is a bit ill conceived. Years ago New England was full of textile plants. Later those plants moved to the southern states as labor was cheaper there. Then those jobs went overseas partly for again cheaper labor. This is nothing new. Profit is a motive in business as it should be. You apparently are one of those who hates profit, if someone else is making it. Well take a look at Wall Street, it’s full of DEMOCRATS seeking profits. And just what do they produce? 9 out the 10 richest zip codes in the US are Democrat strongholds. Even Obama cozies up to them for campaign cash and you swallow all of it and never complain about the taste.
As you weep your crocodile tears for the common man’s need for jobs here, just tell me why the UNION’s which you seem to love so much want 11 million illegal’s made legal in this country? Which if you think about it is what you are complaining about in reverse. Instead of shipping jobs overseas to for cheaper labor, Obama and his minions want to flood us with an import of cheaper labor here. Which will hurt American born workers, the ones you claim to care about.

@Mully, #28:

Obama and his minions?

The huge influx of illegal immigrants didn’t occur on Obama’s watch, nor during a time when democrats had control of Congress. From 2000 through 2008 the undocumented alien population increased from around 8 million to around 12 million, with some estimates running as high as 20 million. Who chiefly profited from that enormous pool of cheap labor? And who saw their wages suppressed as a consequence of that competition?

The Obama administration has simply been left to deal with the consequences.

Unions want to legitimize that labor pool for one reason and one reason only—once legally able to work, they cease being so easily exploited and come to expect better pay. Their presence—which is already an established fact—then puts American workers at less of a competitive disadvantage.

@Greg: I simply cannot help someone who choose to ingnore the main arguments and decides to answer on the periphery that which suits him. I feel sad for folks like yourself.

Your words.
Unions want to legitimize that labor pool for one reason and one reason only—once legally able to work, they cease being so easily exploited and come to expect better pay.

This is not true.. For anyone else reading this Greg’s has no clue what he’s talking about. Unions are about money and getting more of it. I know this from personal experience. I’ve been there.

@Mully, #30:

Of course it’s true. Do you really imagine illegal aliens working off the books for cash are generally paid the same as properly documented workers? They’re working for far less. On top of which, their employer is paying no other costs related to legal employment situations.

This sort of arrangement puts legal workers at an enormous competitive disadvantage. Is a shady contractor as likely to pay fully documented roofing laborers $13 each an hour, plus related expenses, when he can get away with a total cost of $50 to $60 per day per illegal worker?

That sort of situation has existed in every job category where undocumented laborers have been utilized. It’s not so easy to get away with, when unionized workers are on the job.

Unions are about money and getting more of it.

Yep. Unions are about helping workers achieve a higher reward for the services that they render. Considering the long-running pattern of real wage stagnation and benefit losses, when corporations are racking up record profits and wealth is rapidly being redistributed upward, I fail to see how that’s uncalled for. What the anti-union rhetoric is all about is distraction. It distracts from the fact that the middle and working classes are being shaken down for every nickel that can be extracted from them. Part of the distraction is turning one group against another.

I quit shopping at Wal-Mart maybe 3 or 4 years ago. I’ve come to learn they really weren’t as inexpensive as they proclaimed. Realistically, it’s that “one stop” convenience thing that I miss. I mean, where can you stop and while your wife shops, you can get your hair cut while you have your oil changed, even get your taxes done, have your eyes checked and fitted for glasses, and hell, dine there too if you like. But I’ve come to learn that they have a lot of folks conned on the prices. Shop around. And yes, everyone has their “leaders” to keep you coming back.

Another area where they have many conned is that while they’re grossly underpaying their employers, middle wage workers are picking up the tab because those workers are living in poverty. So, I’m sick and tired of my tax dollars paying for food, housing, and medical assistance for people who go out and work hard every day because their billionaire employees won’t pay them a living wage.

@Greg: You simply miss the point when I say it’s about money. Your trying to sell the unions are good for workers line. Which is ok by me if you want to believe that at any level. As I said I have experience in this so I know where where I speak. It’s not the cut and dried scenario you portray. You are naive at best. My argument is not anti union but pro real life, not sales talk from any group.
I guess if you were a unionized Hostess worker you would have been ok with losing your job for a reason that is beyond my comprehension. The rules they had were so anti-competitive the company could not survive, so the union made it’s choice and many of the affected workers were of such a mindset they went along with closing the plant and losing their jobs. I guess unemployment is not that uncomfortable a choice these days. These union workers chose that whether they believe that or not, they did in the end.
If the average American private sector union worker supports bringing in 11 million illegals and making them legal, which will LOWER wages for all who will now compete for those jobs these 11 million can perform, then they must be fools or brainwashed because I can’t imagine those American union workers supporting that. Also the immigration bill the president support excludes any illegal given legal status from being required to participate in Obamacare. Which means employers would save money by firing native American workers and hiring the newly legal immigrant.
The union leaders want it because the see a whole new crop of possible union dues payers. That’s the it’s about money part again. However since most of these workers will be entry level unionization will be hard as their labor will be easily replaced with wait for it, a whole new crop of illegals who will work off the books for less money.

So you go ahead a believe what you want. I’ve been where you are on this. Evolution may knock on your door yet.

In my opinion, unions are good for workers. I think the strongest argument might be what has been happening to the American working and middle class as union membership has dwindled to the lowest level since the 1930s.

Who’s going to look out for the worker’s interests, if they aren’t organized to do it themselves? Nobody. Labor’s share of the wealth their work creates will continue to decline. The reason is simple: The more their share drops, the more there is to distribute to somebody else.

Somebody else likes this arrangement. They will always arrange any situation to the greatest extent possible to maximize their own rewards. That’s their primary talent.

To be clear, I’m not talking about small business owners. The well being of small business owners is also of minimal consideration when the rules are being arranged to benefit society’s economic elite.

@Brother Bob:

I agree that it’s completely unfair for them to impose a high wage requirement specifically of Walmart while not imposing the same over other big chain employers.

While we are on the subject of exemptions, what about the D C Government? Do they pay a living wage to their employees?
Friends, this is hypocrisy. If the custodians at the District Building and the staff at the University of the District of Columbia are not paid $12.50 per hour, why should Wal-Mart?
Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

@mathman: An obvious conclusion would be to up the pay of University of the District of Columbia employees rather than use it for justification for Wal-Mart to continue their slave wages and employee manipulation practices.

@Ronald J. Ward:

So, only the Walmart and University workers should have a wage increase? You are totally missing the point of equal treatment under the law. Why demand only some employers raise worker wages without fairly applying the same min wage requirement of all employers, including Congress persons?

@Greg:You ridicule business for eliminating jobs, but have no problem when government does it through government over reach. If you really cared about small business, you would have opposed Obamacare. I know more than one small business owner who plans on cutting back because it.


Lenin, like you, also bashed capitalism, big business, and the rich (i.e. the “bourgeois”). Then when he and the Bolsheviks took power, they turned around and stuck it to the little guy worse than the “capitalists” did and they became the new “bourgeois”. The only way to implement what you desire is if government steps in and takes total control of our economy and wages. If you have another way to to do it, I’d love to hear it. There will always be different classes of people, even in a communist or socialist “utopia” that those on the left seem to desire so much. By the way, have you ever been in a union?