Thursday, December 13, 2012

Is Wal-Mart to Blame for the Growing Use of Food Stamps?

As the regulatory welfare state increasingly depresses the economy, the statists are ramping up their attacks on the shrinking productive private sector.

Is Wal-Mart to blame for the growing ranks of people receiving food stamps? Yes, according to Charles Wowkanech, president of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO:

Rather than pretending to live on food stamps for a week, shouldn't Mayor Cory Booker be taking a hard-line stance against Wal-Mart, which is trying to open a store in the heart of Newark?
Wal-Mart is the No. 1 driver behind the growing use of food stamps in the United States. As many as 80 percent of workers in Wal-Mart stores are forced to depend on food stamps. If Booker was serious about helping families on food stamps, he should be paying more attention to the root cause that drives the need for food stamps — poverty-level wages offered by America’s wealthiest corporations. It is time for the mayor to break his silence on this issue and bring to Newark companies that pay sustainable living wages and uplift the community.

Here are a couple of good comments:

So let me get this right. My fellow New Jerseyans in Middlesex, Union, and Hudson county have the convenience of access to Walmart in their communities. But because I live in Newark, I should be shut out from the opportunity to shop at Walmart? Newark needs more shopping diversity, housing diversity, and more jobs of any sort. I'd love to be able to walk or bus locally to Walmart, than to drive across county lines like I have to do now. 

Why wouldn't opening a new store in Newark, which would lead to employing Newark residents reduce the cost to taxpayers? It's not likely that someone who currently earns more than $8.81 an hour would leave their job to go work at Walmart, so you would most likely be employing people who are currently earning less and on public assistance.

Followed by Mine:

Great points, NevarKaJ and Cringle10. No one has a right to stop Wal-Mart (or any merchant) from opening a store in any town, or consumers from voluntarily shopping Wal-Mart and employees from voluntarily taking a job there, thus bettering their lives. What right does this special-interest cabal of "Newark residents" posturing as the "community" have to stand in the way of Wal-Mart, its employees, and its customers from voluntarily contracting with each other to mutual advantage? Those who don't like Wal-Mart can simply refuse to patronize the store, or work there. That's the civil way for community members to co-exist.

This innovative retailing pioneer has raised the standard of living of Americans--particularly lower income Americans--by lowering the cost of consumer goods, not just at its own stores, but throughout the retailing industry through competition. That is why it is successful. Wal-Mart should be lauded as a great productive American success story, not demonized.

As to food stamps, that is a government program funded by forcibly seized earnings. It has nothing to do with Wal-Mart. It has everything to do with the immorality of forced wealth redistribution, an improper government undertaking. 

Statists never tire of the fantasy that the laws of economics can be suspended on their whim--such as the imposition of arbitrarily determined "sustainable living wages." If that is so easy to do, why doesn't Wowkanech and his ilk take a job actually running companies rather than a labor union? Then he can pay whatever wages his little heart desires. Then, if successful, they will raise the "poverty-level wages offered by America’s wealthiest corporations" through competition as workers flock to their companies. 

Wages are set objectively, through the market, which--over time--rewards rising productivity with higher pay. Voluntary labor unions, as part of a free market, can play a hand in this process provided they are not arbitrarily empowered by laws granting them special "rights." Productivity comes from labor-saving devices and techniques provided by innovative businesses and individuals, and from the personal character of individual employees--the whims of the Wowkanech's of the world notwithstanding.

Related Reading:

Booker's "Humble" Food stamp Campaign Highlights the Immorality of the Food Stamp Program

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