Another Bad Idea From A Socialist

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about Senator Bernie Sanders’ latest great idea–he wants to put all sorts of restrictions on Walmart until they start paying all of their employees $15 an hour.

The editorial states:

With typical Sanders subtlety, his new legislative proposal is called the “Stop WALMART act.”

Under it, big employers like Walmart would be banned from buying back shares in their own company unless they paid all their workers at least $15 an hour. They’d also have to cap CEO pay at 150 times the median employee pay, and provide seven days of paid sick leave. (Why Sanders doesn’t also include free lunches and bus tokens in his list of demands isn’t clear.)

Sanders says he’s building on the success of his Stop BEZOS act, which would have dictated that large companies “pay back” the cost of any government benefits received by any of their workers.

The editorial reminds us:

This is a company that employs 1.5 million people across the country. Some may not make what Sanders deems appropriate. But it’s good enough for many unskilled workers, who if they had a better offer would have taken it.

What’s more, Walmart’s relentless pursuit of lower prices not only helps middle class families stretch their hard-earned dollars further, but has helped hold down inflation economywide, according to economists who’ve studied the “Walmart effect.” That benefits everyone.

…If Sanders really wants to help Walmart workers, two proven things work. Cut taxes and deregulate the economy.

In the wake of the Trump tax cuts — which Sanders vehemently opposed — Walmart boosted its starting wage to $11 an hour, up from $9. It also handed out bonuses that started at $250 and climbed to $1,000 depending on years of service.

Meanwhile, the economic boom under Trump’s economic policies has cut the unemployment rate to 50-year lows. It’s also drawn millions back into the workforce, and sparked the fastest wage growth in a decade.

No mandates. No threats or browbeating. No central planning needed.

Walmart is probably not the ideal career for everyone. However, I personally know someone who was able to support himself at college by working there part time. They hired a young kid out of high school and helped him get an education. He didn’t make it a career, but it helped move him toward the career he wanted.

Since when does the American government have the right to target a specific company and tell them what they must pay their employees?

Pay Raises Happen Naturally In A Healthy Economy

In a healthy economy, incomes will rise. If the economy is not growing, artificially forcing companies to raise wages only creates problems. Some recent events at WalMart reinforce this concept.

Investor’s Business Daily posted an article about Walmart’s story today:

The Benton, Arkansas-based mega-retailer has tried hard to be a good corporate citizen but has been met with angry opposition every time it tries to open a store. More recently, it announced raises for 1.2 million employees next month to a $10 per hour minimum, with senior workers getting a hike to $15 an hour, from $13 currently. But these wage hikes were made for the worst possible reason: political pressure.

Not coincidentally, Wal-Mart recently announced it was closing 154 stores. Those are mostly stores that, operating on Wal-Mart’s razor-thin 3% profit margin, can no longer make money at higher wages. That’s precisely why Wal-Mart won’t build the two stores in D.C. it said it would. As a result, local minority youths will lose out on hundreds of decently-paying entry-level jobs.

During a healthy economy (or an economic recovery), family income increases.

This is a picture of what has happened to household income since 1985:

http://www.rightwinggranny.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/640px-us_real_household_median_income_thru_2014.png

As you can see, when the economy is healthy household income rises, when the economy falters, incomes fall or remain the same. This is a basic economic concept. When the government interferes in this process, companies lose money and are forced to cut their loses.

The article concludes:

In the five-year period between January 2010 and December 2014, DC restaurants were hiring an average of 187 new food workers every month,” wrote economist Mark J. Perry on his Carpe Diem blog at the American Enterprise Institute. “Last year though, restaurant hiring stalled out, likely due to rising labor costs, and the city’s food jobs fell by an average 21 every month in 2015 (through November).” By the way, job growth for restaurants remains healthy in surrounding areas just outside D.C.

This is what happens when you raise the minimum wage, even with the best of intentions. Perry estimates that just by raising the minimum wage to $10.50 in D.C, with another hike to $11.50 slated for July of this year, some 2,000 jobs already have been lost.

Sorry, but forcing employers of unskilled, largely untrained labor to pay higher prices for their labor is a recipe for automation, layoffs and no job creation. It punishes the poor, unskilled and uneducated most of all. The leftist demagogues who push this nonsense should be ashamed.

This Is Ridiculoous

I realize that there is a small group of people in America who oppose the Second Amendment. Some of them understand it, but don’t understand the reasoning behind it, and some simply have no idea why it is there. Occasionally it is somewhat amusing to watch the gyrations of the people who oppose guns.Today Hot Air posted a really good example of people going over the edge on the subject.

The article reports:

Three dozen online retailers will no longer be able to sell realistic-looking toy guns, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Tuesday.

Schneiderman reached a settlement with 30 online toy gun retailers who sell their products through Amazon.com. The third-party retailers have sold over 5,000 imitation toy guns in New York, and they are illegal because they did not meet state safety standards, he said.

“When toy guns are mistaken for real guns, there can be tragic consequences,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “New York state law prohibits the sale of imitation weapons that closely resemble real guns.”

…We may not be able to put the actual criminals in jail at a reasonable rate, but by golly we’re going to stick it to those toy retailers. The 30 or so retailers are paying fines which total more than $27K. (That’s on top of his move back in August when he nailed Amazon, Kmart, Sears, Wal-Mart and ACTA for $300K, so if nothing else the state coffers are getting fatter.) If these scofflaws want to peddle their dangerous wares in the Empire State in the future they will have to be colored “white or bright red, orange, yellow, green, blue, pink or purple.”

I realize that occasionally mistakes are made, but I refuse to believe that toy guns are a major part of any gun problem. However, you notice that this new law will provide money for the state. The law serves two purposes–it pleases a certain political group and it provides money for the state. Unfortunately, it does nothing to deal with criminals with guns.

An Infrequently Reported Example Of Bullying

This was written by a friend on Facebook:

Against Bullying? Start with Walmart

By: Christine Morabito – July, 2014

After years of harassment by special interest groups, Walmart is fighting back. As with most bullies, the claims they make have less to do with reality than with bolstering the tormentor’s self-esteem.

This was evident in Timothy Egan’s New York Times op-ed, June 19, 2014, entitled “The Corporate Daddy,” where Egan accused the company of paying “humiliating wages.” He claimed, “Working at Walmart may not make you poor, but it certainly keeps you poor.”

Responding to the NYT hit piece, Walmart’s David Tovar, Director of Corporate Communications, reposted Egan’s article, complete with snarky, red-inked edits in the margins. He began, “Thanks for sharing your first draft.” Tovar proceeded to dispute claim after baseless claim. It reminded me of the triumphant scene in “Napoleon Dynamite,” where the relentlessly mistreated protagonist earns a standing ovation for his dance moves.

With 2.2 million employees worldwide, Walmart is also the largest U.S. employer. The average full-time associate earns around $12 an hour, well above minimum wage. In 2013, the corporation was praised by First Lady Michelle Obama for announcing plans to hire 100,000 veterans. Last year they donated more than $1 billion to charity globally. They also offer education assistance and help associates who have been affected by catastrophic life events such as fire, divorce, death, etc. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the retailer sent truckloads of goods to help victims. Yet, their reputation is under constant attack.

The Washington Examiner reported that Walmart’s health insurance is not only more affordable than Obamacare, but it also offers better coverage, minus the income, age or gender restrictions. The retailer revolutionized the pharmacy industry by offering inexpensive prescription drugs with little to no co-pays for their employees. Still, nothing satisfies the bullies, intent on pushing Walmart down and taking their lunch money.

Walmart is known for their entry level positions. But starting wages are rarely static. According to their website, “About 75% of our store management teams started as hourly associates, and they earn between $50,000 and $170,000 a year … Last year, Walmart promoted about 170,000 people to jobs with more responsibility and higher pay.” This is a key point lost on the Walmart bashers — as people gain knowledge and experience they climb the economic ladder.

It is clear the Walmart smear campaign is a pastime mostly enjoyed by far left activists, unions, angered by the superstore’s refusal to unionize, and the politicians beholden to such groups. To protest the opening of Walmart stores in cities, like Brooklyn, New York and Boston, is to deprive consumers of a wide variety of quality goods at low prices. A 2011 NYT poll showed 62 percent of New Yorkers wanted a store in their neighborhood. In her blog, “Ghetto Economics & the Politics of Poverty,” Stephanie Davis writes: “In essence, Boston’s political class has turned its city limits into a type of food dessert or island in which the cost of goods is higher because of limited supply or lack of competition.”

Today’s trend is to be obsessed with the gap between the highest paid worker and the lowest. Of course there’s an income gap! But, we must also take into account the gap in initiative, experience and in some cases, education (all of which can be rectified). These things being equal, we could legitimately criticize the income disparity. If career politicians and intellectual elites had even a smidgen of experience in the private sector, they might understand how this works. Until then, they shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near economic policy.

Call me old-fashioned, but I miss the days when we valued hard work and success in this country. Young people today are encouraged to vilify those who have more. It seems to me a childish and selfish way to view the world.

In my youth, I had many low paying jobs. When I got tired of being broke, I applied for student loans, studied hard and became a nurse. If I wanted more money, I could go back to school and become a nurse manager or even a surgeon. Here’s the thing: I don’t want to. I’d rather not put forth the effort or incur the associated expense. Do I resent doctors because they make more than me? Not at all. Do I march in the streets and demand the same salary as a physician? That would be absurd.

Instead of browbeating Walmart and coveting thy neighbor’s paycheck, maybe we should be inspiring people to educate and market themselves so they have skills employers need. I learned early in life that no one is going to pay me to sit around looking pretty.

Correcting The Lies

This is a link to an article at The Blaze. The article shows a letter written by David Tovar, Walmart’s VP of corporate communications for Walmart to New York Times columnist Timothy Egan after Mr. Egan posted an article that attempted to smear Walmart.

Please follow the link to read the reply. It is an example of the correct way to respond to a smear attack.

 

 

Jobs For The Unemployed

Today’s Washington Examiner is reporting that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has approved the practice of unions paying protesters to protest. The case involved union members being paid to protest against WalMart.

The article reports:

In a Nov. 15 memorandum from the NLRB’s general counsel office regarding the so-called “Black Friday” protests staged by United Food and Commercial Workers against the nonunion retailer last year, the NLRB lawyers determined that the UFCW’s offer of $50 gift cards to anyone who showed up to protest “was a non-excessive strike benefit.”

The lawyers said there was “no evidence to indicate that the gift card was meant to buy support for OUR Walmart” since the card was available not just to the retailer’s employees but to anyone who showed up at the unions’ protests.

CORRECTION:

The article incorrectly stated that OUR Walmart’s $50 gift cards were available to “to anyone who showed up to protest” implying that non-Walmart employees could get them. The NLRB document only states that the cards were available to “anyone who struck, not just members of OUR Walmart” indicating they were limited to Walmart employees.

The article also points out that very few of the people protesting WalMart actually work for WalMart. There is another interesting aspect of this story. Most people who shop at WalMart shop there because of the low prices. One of the reasons for those low prices is the fact that it is a non-union shop and the company does not have to negotiate with unions, cater to unions, and sometimes sacrifice  good business practices to appease union leaders. Many union members are not particularly wealthy, and by unionizing WalMart, they will lose a good source of inexpensive food and other goods. If the union members support the unionization of WalMart, they are also supporting something that will make their own lives more difficult.

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Why Federal Programs Need Eligibility Verification

One of the current problems with ObamaCare is that there is no way to verify a person’s income when they ask for a government subsidy to help pay for their health insurance. One aspect of the negotiations currently taking place in Washington is making sure that the people applying for subsidies are actually entitled to them. Generally speaking, can we trust people to take only what they are entitled to? Well, recent events indicate that we need to verify.

Yesterday MSN Money reported that there had been a computer glitch in the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) transfer card system and that stores had no way of reading the balance on the cards. The article reports what happened at one Wal-Mart.

The article reports:

Lynd explained the cards weren’t showing limits and they called corporate Wal-Mart, whose spokesman said to let the people use the cards anyway. From 7 to 9 p.m., people were loading up their carts, but when the cards began showing limits again around 9, one woman was detained because she rang up a bill of $700 and only had .49 on her card. She was held by police until corporate Wal-Mart said they wouldn’t press charges if she left the food.

 Lynd (Springhill Louisiana Police Chief Will Lynd) says at 9 p.m., when the cards came back online and it was announced over the loud speaker, people just left their carts full of food in the aisles and left.”

Unfortunately there are people among us who have no problem taking something they are not entitled to. To put a government program in place that promises benefits without checking eligibility is simply stupid. There will always be people trying to game the system, we don’t have to make it too easy!

 

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The Story Behind The Story

NBC Washington reports that even though the D.C. Council has passed a law that will not allow Walmart to locate there unless it pays an ‘living wage‘ of $12.50 per hour, the D. C. government pays its employees less than that.

The battle over Walmart has less to do with wages than it does with unions. On Friday, NewsBusters posted an article explaining exactly what is going on.

NewsBusters reports:

On Thursday, my colleague Jeffrey Meyer noted how the Washington Post‘s Mike DeBonis failed to explain to readers how unionized retail outlets would benefit from an exemption in the cynically-titled Large Retailer Accountability Act, the D.C. Council bill that would require large retail chains like Walmart to pay employees at least $12.50/hour.

Notice the union exemption. So what does that mean? An employee in a union store makes less than what Walmart is required to pay and is required to pay union dues out of the smaller salary he receives. In what universe does that make sense?

NewsBusters reports:

So it’s fine and dandy to labor union activists and liberal Democratic councilmen for a retail employee in Washington, D.C., to get paid less than $12.50/hour “living wage” under the bill, just so long as it’s through a union labor-derived collective bargaining agreement, which naturally means joining a union and paying dues to the same.

The law in question expressly forbids and declares null and void any personal arrangements and negotiations an employee could arrive at with his employer. The rights of contract of both the worker and the employer are infringed by the law, but the Post fails to see how the little guy can be a victim in all this.

If the voters in Washington D.C. re-elect the Council members who came up with this law, they deserve what they get. Walmart is not a perfect retailer, but it brings jobs and lower priced goods into an area, increasing the tax base, lowering the unemployment level, and increasing the spending power of the residents of that area. To pass a law specifically aimed at one company because they are not unionized will hurt the residents of the area–not help them.

 

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The End Of An Institution

English: A picture of the inside of a remodele...

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One of the family jokes in our household has always been that when my computer-geek husband finally retires, he wants to be a Wal-Mart greeter. There might be some problems with that in that he is a native New York City person, and I am not sure greeting is the first thing you think of when speaking of native New Yorkers. He is, however, a very friendly person and would do a very good job as a Wal-Mart greeter. Alas, his hopes for a second career have been dashed.

A website called Patch.com is reporting that the Wal-Mart greeters will no longer be at the front of the store greeting you.

The article reports:

This week, news is spreading throughout business circles about Wal-Mart’s greeters being phased out. Patch spoke Tuesday to a longtime greeter at the Walmart Supercenter in Eureka, who said the good news is that greeters will not lose their jobs. Instead they will be repositioned at other locations inside the store, he said.

I have no idea how that will work, but it is an interesting concept. It is also good to know that the greeters will not be losing their jobs.

I was intrigued by the closing paragraph of the article:

An article about this topic in Huffington Post on Wednesday stated Walton first stumbled onto a greeter at a small Walmart in Louisiana in 1980. The greeter explained to Walton he had a “dual purpose: to make people feel good about coming in, and to make sure people weren’t walking back out the entrance with merchandise they hadn’t paid for.”

And all this time we thought they just wanted to be friends!

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I Think I Understand Free Speech–But This Is Not It

A picture of the inside of a remodeled Walmart...

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Yesterday Human Events posted a video and account of a flash mob that attacked (yes, that is the right word) Walmart in San Diego on Black Friday. Now, I can agree that Christmas is too commercial and that some of the Black Friday shoppers were nuts, but that is no excuse for bad behavior.

The article reports the actions of the San Diego Occupy Wall Street people:

Meanwhile, the San Diego occupiers stormed into a Wal-Mart, filled 75 carts with merchandise, disrupted shoppers by chanting their nonsense for several minutes at the cash registers, then fled the store leaving behind 75 full carts for the employees to put away.

Didn’t their parents teach them any manners?

This is a first-hand account of the incident reported at Human Events:

Their idea on the flash mob was that we’d all enter Walmart inconspicuously and shop for 30 minutes, filling up our carts as much as possible. Then we’d meet at the front to check out and the first person to get up to a checker calls asks the cashier to page their child (Michael Check) to the checkstand cause they’re ready to leave, and then right after the page: MIC CHECK! Citizens of Walmart!! Greetings and welcome back from the food coma!! In the spirit of holiday giving, we believe a discussion is in order about the meaning of value and low cost. For every low-priced product purchased at Walmart, your communities pay the difference. Every price drop represents mistreated workers who STILL cannot feed their families, STILL cannot afford their homes, and STILL cannot payoff their tuitions. Every sweet deal can be attributed to our jobs being outsourced from American communities. Each item on sale helps bankrupt small businesses. YOU, YOUR COMMUNITIES, AND YOUR WORKERS ARE BEING ABUSED!!

That really does not sound like the way free speech is supposed to work. I personally think that Occupy San Diego abused the workers–Walmart gave them jobs!

America is not perfect, but these people need to learn some manners. The people working at Walmart work hard enough without having to put away 75 baskets of merchandise collected by idiots. I’m sorry if that statement offends anyone, but it represents the way I feel. If these people want to truly make a difference, they need to start their own company, treat their workers the way they believe the workers should be treated and change the system from within. Making extra work for hard-working employees is just tacky.

 

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