Monday, August 28, 2006

Perhaps He's On Wal-Mart's Payroll?

Sebastian Mallaby again leaps to the defense of Wal-Mart, castigating Democrats who he claims are aligned with anti-Wal-Mart movements. I have previously noted that Mallaby's thinking on Wal-Mart is muddled. While he is consistent in his message that it's wrong to oppose Wal-Mart, he hasn't otherwise improved his arguments in favor of Wal-Mart. He's changed his source for his argument that WalMart cuts family food bills to one not available online, but which appears to better support his point in relation to poor families. Yet despite this change, he hasn't altered his speculation that Wal-Mart saves shoppers more than $200 billion per year, nor his absurd economic model by which this is the equivalent of a welfare program larger than the food stamp program.

At the tail end of my prior critique of Mallaby, I noted,
All of that said, my objections to Mallaby's idiocy do not mean that I hate WalMart. WalMart wishes to open a store in an armpit of a small town north of Detroit, where despite its wages it will be one of the better paying employers in town, and will provide jobs in an area of high unemployment. If it opens it will cause some local businesses to close, including a small, dismal, run-down K-Mart, the owner of which is putting a lot more energy into fighting WalMart than into measures which might make his business more viable. It will also probably cause the local grocery store to close, but they sold out to a regional chain a number of years ago, and many locals already travel out of town for the better prices and selection available at larger grocery stores in nearby towns. On the whole the net impact on the town and surrounding community will likely be positive.
That small town is about as politically "red" as a town can be - and it is not liberal activists who seek to block Wal-Mart, but several of the leaders of the local business community. The Wal-Mart in my wife's home town wishes to expand its store and be open 24 hours - with its proposal strongly opposed by that politically "red" community, as was its original construction. But perhaps Mallaby doesn't see the same "betrayal of principles" when Republicans oppose and seek to block Wal-Mart stores, as he does with Democrats. But then, what principles does he ascribe to Republican opponents?

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