Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Foolishness of Wal-Mart Bashing

If you want to understand why it is foolish for (mostly) Democrats to bash Wal-Mart, read George Will's column, "Democrats versus Wal-Mart," in today's Washington Post. It is filled with facts and figures concerning how much Wal-Mart's low prices save consumers and I won't repeat them. Here's just one: "Wal-Mart and its effects save shoppers more than $200 billion a year, dwarfing such government programs as food stamps ($28.6 billion) and the earned-income tax credit ($34.6 billion)." Oh well, here's one more: "A Mckinsey company study concluded that Wal-Mart accounted for 13percent of the nation's productivity gains in the second half of the 1990s...."

Will's column is mostly about the war being waged against Wal-Mart by the Democrats at the national level. But the Democrat-controlled Maryland General Assembly can lay claim to some of the earliest and most irrational Wal-Mart bashing, passing a bill, since held unlawful by a federal court, singling Wal-Mart out for a mandatory increase in health benefits.

Regardless of party, let's hope the politicians begin to understand that wages and benefit levels are better left to marketplace regulation than government dictates. And they should understand that the consumers they purport to represent benefit from--and value--Wal-Mart's low prices.