Friday, November 23, 2012

Walmart and the Free Market

Walmart has provided low wage jobs for hundreds of thousands of Americans.  None of those employees were promised a living wage, guaranteed health care, and a plethora of fringe benefits.  If an employee did not want the low wage job that was offered, they could look elsewhere.  That is still true.  Nothing has changed.

Now the big unions want a new deal.  The new deal is all about the living wage, health care coverage and host of other goodies not normally available to low-skilled, low wage employees.  So, now Walmart is the bad guy, in the eyes of the unions.

Walmart should be free to offer whatever jobs they want to offer and if people don't want those jobs, then they can work somewhere else.  This is an economic transaction, not a religious order.   Any Walmart employees, unhappy with existing working arrangements, can leave and work somewhere else.  That's what disgruntled employees of Walmart should do, instead of inconveniencing customers of Walmart with demonstrations.  The customers of Walmart are well serviced by a company that provides products to the great middle class at lower prices than were previously available.

Walmart is a triumph of capitalism, not an icon to be pilloried by the liberal establishment. Those who want higher pay should develop the skill set and the energy level that can lead to a job with a higher pay level.  Paying people more money than their skill set would justify will not encourage such people to develop the work ethic and skill set that would truly justify higher pay and all that goes with it.  Long term, the effort to gut the essence of free market economics will lead to a poorer society with fewer opportunities for those who would like a step-up on the ladder of life.

Once again, a peek into the future is right in front of our eyes.....Greece.