Monday, May 16, 2005
On this day:

The Leftist Whipping Post: Walmart

Townhall: The latest liberal crusade by Thomas Sowell
According to the New York Times, Wal-Mart's average employee earns an income that is above the poverty line for a family of three but below the poverty line for a family of four. What are we supposed to conclude from this? The fashionable notion of "a living wage" is a wage that will support a family of four. And, sure enough, the New York Times finds a Wal-Mart employee who complains that he is not making "a living wage." How is he living, if he is not making a living wage? Should people be paid according to what they "need" instead of according to what their work is worth? Should they decide how big a family they want and then put the cost of paying to support that family on somebody else? If their work is not worth enough to pay for what they want, is it up to others to make up the difference, rather than up to them to upgrade their skills in order to earn what they want? Are they supposed to be subsidized by Wal-Mart's customers through higher prices or subsidized by Wal-Mart's stockholders through lower earnings? After all, much of the stock in even a rich company is often owned by pension funds belonging to teachers, policemen and others who are far from rich. Why should other people have to retire on less money, in order that Wal-Mart employees can be paid what the New York Times wants them paid, instead of what their labor is worth in the marketplace? After all, they wouldn't be working for Wal-Mart if someone else valued their labor more. Nor are they confined to Wal-Mart for life. For many, entry-level jobs are a stepping-stone, whether within a given company or as experience that gets them a better job with another company. Think about it: What the busybodies are saying is that third parties like themselves -- who are paying nothing to anybody -- should be determining how much somebody else should be paying those who work for them. It would be devastating to the egos of the intelligentsia to realize, much less admit, that businesses have done more to reduce poverty than all the intellectuals put together.