Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Greenhouse gas

Oh, good lord.

The NYTimes now prints all the news that's fit to slant.

A Wall-Mart screed, by Steven Greenhouse.


Frances Browning, for example, once earned $15 a hour, but now at Wal-Mart, where she is a cashier in Roswell, Ga., she is paid $9.43. She says she is happy to have the job.

"I was unemployed for two and a half years before I found my job at Wal-Mart," Ms. Browning, 57, said. "Like everybody else I'd love to make a lot more, but I have to be realistic."

But Jason Mrkwa, 27, a high school graduate who stocks frozen food at a Wal-Mart in Independence, Kan., maintains that he is underpaid. "I make $8.53, even though every one of my evaluations has been above standard," Mr. Mrkwa (pronounced MARK-wah) said. "You can't really live on this."

Labor groups and their allies are focusing on Wal-Mart because they say that the campaign will not just benefit its workers but also reduce the existing pressure on unionized competitors to reduce their own wages and benefits.

"Wal-Mart should pay people at a minimum enough to go above the U.S. poverty line," said Andrew Grossman, executive director of Wal-Mart Watch, the coalition of community, environmental and labor groups running the series of ads criticizing Wal-Mart. "A company this big and this wealthy has the ability to pay higher wages."

Now, I disagree with the "rich should pay more" progressive taxes bit, but at least it is not illogical.

The claim that Wal-Mart should pay higher wages because it is "rich", however, violates even the standard of logic you would expect from the bed-wetters and hand-wringers that do their partying at Wal-Mart Watch. The company got big, and rich, paying lower costs and providing high quality, low-price goods to consumers. One of those costs is labor.

Sure, lots of college profs think Wal-Mart workers are exploited, because they think that anyone who has to work is exploited. When you went to a private school, have daddy's trust fund, and have never met a minority who wasn't carrying a mop, how could you think anything else.

Maybe Pol Pot had it right. We need to send the intellectuals out to work camps, so they know what it is like to work. Instead of making up fake causes about highly successful companies exploiting workers by paying them higher wages than they can obtain in any other activity.

(nod to JP)


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