Wal-Mart

I’ve been meaning to blog about Wal-Mart lately. We have a new one that opened up near our house. I usually despise Wal-Mart, but this one is quite a plesant place to shop.

Though I dislike shopping at Wal-Mart, I think it is a phenomenal company that does miracles for cash strapped shoppers.

I will now not blog about Wal-Mart. With a hat tip to Econopundit, I refer you
here to City Journal. Here is an excerpt. Please read the whole thing. It is well worth it.

Here is a story you’re unlikely to read in the spate of press attacks on Wal-Mart these days:

When Hartford, Connecticut, tore down a blighted housing project, city officials hatched an innovative plan to redevelop the land: lure Wal-Mart there, entice other retailers with the promise of being near the discount giant, and then use the development’s revenues to build new housing. Wal-Mart, after some convincing, agreed, and city officials and neighborhood residents celebrated a big win — better shopping, more jobs, and new housing in one of America’s poorest cities.

But then, out of nowhere, outsiders claiming to represent the local community began protesting. Astonished city leaders and local residents quickly discovered the forces fueling the campaign: a Connecticut chapter of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union; and ACORN, the radical community group. Outraged residents fought back, denouncing outside interference, but opponents persisted, filing three separate lawsuits that have delayed construction, including a ludicrous suit claiming that the development would destroy unique vegetation that has sprouted since the housing project came down. “These people looked for every possible reason to stop a project that the community wants,”says Jackie Fongemie, a frustrated community activist who has fought for the store. “Where were the environmentalists when rats were running wild around this place?”

Though Wal-Mart has encountered opposition for years from anti-sprawl activists or small-town merchants worried about the competition, the Hartford drama exemplifies a brand-new kind of opposition, a coordinated effort of the Left, in which unions, activist groups like ACORN and the National Organization for Women, environmentalist groups, even plaintiffs’ attorneys work together in effective alliances. They are fighting the giant retailer not only store by store, but in statehouses, city halls, and courts. They have already managed to make Wal-Mart an issue in the presidential campaign: several Democratic hopefuls indicted the American shopper’s favorite store as unfriendly to working people.

This new war on Wal-Mart is more than just a skirmish over store sites or union-organizing efforts. It is an attack on a company that embodies the dynamic, productivity-driven, customer-oriented U.S. economy that emerged in the 1990s by opponents who advocate a different economics. Arguing that there is a hidden cost to business’s increasing emphasis on low prices and high employee output, these opponents seek government edicts to force Wal-Mart and discounters like it to raise wages and offer workers more benefits. Wal-Mart’s opponents are rushing into battle just as the company and some of its imitators are expanding their brand of retailing to many underserved urban communities starved for the low prices, broad selection, and friendly service these stores offer, making the conflict a vital issue not just in Wal-Mart’s traditional rural and suburban markets but, increasingly, in American cities.

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Erick Erickson

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