It's a testament to our (speaking for the collective American people, rather than the collective here at OL&L) love of bandwagons that Wal-Mart bashing has spilled over even into such popular web networking sites as Facebook. Facebook's new option allowing for members to virtually support candidates and issues has taken this darling of a Democratic (big D) issue to the screens of student's computers. We love the angst filled "notes" (for entertainment purposes) populated with anti-Bush diatribes literally (click if you have a facebook account) parroted from Keith Olbermann, as much as the next guy. We do wish, however, he would have stuck with sports. Politics, it goes without saying, is not his forte.
This mixing of sports and politics is getting as bad as Hollywood and politics. It used to be that we could sit down and read our favorite sports blog without getting an earful about how much things suck in Iraq. Seriously. You'd think the Tuesday Morning Quarterback would stick to Tuesday's, mornings and for the love of football--quarterbacks. But he's not alone, everyone from Dr. Z to our favorite columnists at the Seattle PI and Times feel duty bound to weigh in on the evils of the Bush regime (right up there with Hitler and Stalin, or didn't you know?). If it doesn't say "Sports - Politics - Pop Culture - History - Literature" across the top of their blog or article, then they should stay away from anything that isn't exclusively sports. We read the sports page to escape politics. Heaven help us when we start doing it the other way around.
And of course they are all critical of Wal-Mart. Even Gregg Easterbrook, the aforementioned Tuesday Morning Quarterback got in a little jibe at Wal-Mart in one of his recent articles. This coming from a guy who prides himself on challenging the accepted wisdom, who writes off-the-wall articles that make sense because he backs them up with statistics and evidence. What evidence did he cite in abusing Wal-Mart? None.
Today, The Wall Street Journal outed the group responsible for most of the anti-Wal-Mart slander--unions. It really shouldn't come as a surprise. Wal-Mart is threatening the domain of a group that has become an ancient fixture in American politics. But like some other things ancient, unions deserve to go the way of the dinosaurs. As The Wall Street Journal explains, the two major and supposedly grass root, citizen led groups are actually born of an unholy affair between two major unions and are almost wholly funded by them. And their major source of "academic" material to support outlandish claims of economic damage by Wal-Mart? Why, a couple of unbiased bastions of academic ethics itself--the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and the University of California at Berkeley Labor Center. For their efforts they received at least $100,000 and $43,550 respectively from the involved unions.
We're sure there was no cooking of the books in these studies.
The truth, ma'am, is that as a study from Global Insight shows, Wal-Mart "saves American households an average of $2,300 a year through lower prices, or a $263 billion reduction in the cost of living. That compares with $33 billion savings for low-income families from the federal food stamp program."
So much for taking advantage of America's poor.
Bashing Wal-Mart is becoming as American as apple pie. But it shouldn't be. In addition to Democrats, unions, and Berkeley, we have some historians to blame. Their treatment of business throughout history has been less than favorable. For years, marxist influenced historians have been peddling stories about the "robber barons" of the early 20th Century who took advantage of Americans. These stories have filtered down to nearly every history textbook in every high school across America and are as accepted as the widely accepted notion that people thought the earth was flat when Columbus sailed (they didn't).
The implication is that historians, in taking an anti-business position on history, have contributed to anti-business sentiment in America. Popular memory tells us that business has always taken advantage of Americans and Wal-Mart is just the latest iteration of those 20th C robber barons. Of course, popular memory also tells us that America won the War of 1812. My British professors are quick to squash that misconception.
If they are leftists, who don't like capitalism, and write history, is it possible they might have an anti-business bent to their writing?
We are unapologetically pro-business and generally pro-Wal-Mart. When we visit Mexico with our family, and crave good old American foods like Peanut M&M's, we have no problem asking the locals for directions to "Wal-Mart-O," where we know we'll get good quality at a good price.