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Old 11-22-2005, 10:43 PM   #31
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Why is neccessary to point out WalMart? Hell, there are hundreds of chain stores that fall into this category. Why is it more important for a mom and pop operation to succeed than walmart? Mome and pop can't afford to pay a substantial wage anymore than walmart wants to. Economics is economics. People pretty much earn what they're worth. Regardless of how much you think you should earn. Simple supply and demand.

U2DMfan, I absolutely agree with your argument. WalMart is not the big bad wolf anymore than McDonalds, Pottery Barn, or Old Navy. Sure it would be great to be able to shop at exclusive stores, but sometimes I just want to save a few bucks on a DVD. Why should I feel Bad about it?
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Old 11-22-2005, 10:43 PM   #32
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Originally posted by VertigoGal
I'm willing to bet the thousands of people getting laid off from the GM plant a few miles from here will be shopping at Wal-Mart for a while.
And I'm sure GM will still end up in bankruptcy court someday. After all, selling people ugly gas guzzlers isn't the ticket to profitability. That's not the union workers fault, since they just build whatever they're told to build, but the executives. And I'm sure the bankruptcy court judge will reward its overpaid, inept management with multi-million dollar bonuses as a reward for driving the company into the ground (as is standard with most bankruptcies of major corporations). The only thing it's workers get is an unemployment check.

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melon, would the Wal-Mart employees on food stamps and welfare magically have no need for social programs if they didn't even have the Wal-Mart job? (I mean, you could argue they'd be in a better position at some quaint Mom & Pop Shop if Wal-Mart never existed in the first place, but what's done is done and all that...)
That's not the point. These people are working. Now if you believe that only college-educated people deserve a reasonable wage, just say so. Then we'll have to figure what to do with the 75% of the U.S. population that doesn't have a college degree, and then wonder why our crime rate keeps on going up, and why our economy collapses because nobody is spending. And then you'll wonder why you're unemployed too when your company has to layoff half its labor force to make up for the lack of revenue.

Prior to 1986, across the board, we had something called the "Windfall Profits Tax." Whether one believes it to have been applied rather repressively or extremely is up for debate, but what it was intended to do was to force large corporations to duck the tax by reinvesting "excessive profits" either into the business or its labor. In practice, it achieved both. Once the tax was repealed, all the benefits of the tax ended. Blue-collar wages started to get slashed and businesses started to become more unstable. With less cash on-hand and more dependency on stock investment, you then ended up with companies declaring bankruptcy when a rumor destroyed their stock value.

For reference's sake, those $10 billion in Wal-Mart profits are $1 billion more than Exxon's profits this year from the high oil prices. We also happen to have a system where health coverage is dependent on the employer providing it. Now if you'd like to change that system, you'd have my support. We are inevitably careening towards nationalized healthcare. GM, prior to laying off 30,000 jobs here, mentioned that Canada is very desirable to them for growth. Their labor is all well-paid union labor like in America, but there's one difference: with Canada's national healthcare, GMs labor costs are slashed. If we are to be competitive, we are going to have to go to national healthcare. Period.

But since we have pea-brained Republicans running the show, let's get down to the hard facts. When Wal-Mart's employees are on welfare, your money is paying for it. When Wal-Mart's employees don't contribute to the health insurance superstructure, your health care premiums go up, because there are less people contributing. Wal-Mart has $10 billion in profit, and you're paying for their employees' basic needs.

Now if corporations have no responsibilities to their employees, fine. But our current economic system is predicated on the premise that corporations will, indeed, pay their employees living wages, and that corporations will, indeed, provide their full-time employees with adequate benefits. And Wal-Mart is not living up to its end of the bargain, while raking in more profits than price-gouging oil companies.

Goddamn it...why can't the Democratic Party publically say this when we need them?

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Old 11-22-2005, 10:52 PM   #33
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Why is neccessary to point out WalMart?
Because they are consistant with these shady practices. I never dealt with these practices with any other large chain.

But it's easy to turn a blind eye, when you are saving a couple of bucks.
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Old 11-22-2005, 10:56 PM   #34
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I don't believe only college-educated people deserve decent pay. What I'm saying is that someone who is on welfare while working at Wal-Mart would be even more of a burden if they were just unemployed. Now that I understand your point, that doesn't seem relevant, but just thought I'd clear that up...

Our crime rate is going up?

If companies should be obligated to provide certain services or if we need windfall taxes or nat'l healthcare (which I'm not so sure about in either case)...then we need to turn to the gov't for that. Wal-Mart is a business and their primary aim is to make money.

And honestly, looking at the price of food around here at Wal-Mart compared to other stores, the money that my family saves on food each year seems to far outweigh whatever portion of our taxes goes to welfare and food stamps for the guy at the checkout.
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Old 11-22-2005, 11:06 PM   #35
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Originally posted by VertigoGal
Our crime rate is going up?
It will, if you have mass amounts of indefinitely unemployed people. American culture, in general, is predicated on greed, and as long as the money keeps on coming in, Americans are complacent and cohesive. Once the money runs out, they degenerate into madness.

If the Palestinian Territories didn't have a 75%+ unemployment rate, I'm sure they wouldn't be so cranky all the time either.

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If companies should be obligated to provide certain services or if we need windfall taxes or nat'l healthcare (which I'm not so sure about in either case)...then we need to turn to the gov't for that. Wal-Mart is a business and their primary aim is to make money.
And who funds the government? Individual and business tax revenue. If individuals are unemployed or underpaid, their tax contributions will be less.

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And honestly, looking at the price of food around here at Wal-Mart compared to other stores, the money that my family saves on food each year seems to far outweigh whatever portion of our taxes goes to welfare and food stamps for the guy at the checkout.
There's two large store chains I like: Kroger and Costco. Kroger is the largest grocery chain in the U.S.--and it's labor is unionized. Like Wal-Mart, Kroger is so large that it suppresses grocery prices by negotiating bulk purchases, and tends to drive the competition out of business. But, with it's labor being well-paid with good benefits compared to the competition, why would I complain?

The CEO of Costco infuriates its investors by paying its labor very handsomely. And he doesn't care. He knows enough that investors are only out for greed, but believes that a well-paid workforce is an important priority.

If I need things like electronics or DVDs or music or whatever, I buy off of Amazon.com. Not sure what its business climate is like for its workforce, so I can't really comment on whether they're a "good" alternative, but the point is that Wal-Mart isn't the end all of good deals. And, at least with Kroger and Costco, it also shows that you don't have to cheat your workforce to be highly profitable and successful. Both stores continue to grow handsomely.

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Old 11-22-2005, 11:09 PM   #36
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Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar
But it's easy to turn a blind eye, when you are saving a couple of bucks.
And, yet, people continue digging their own graves in the process.

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Old 11-22-2005, 11:12 PM   #37
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This is called Capitalism people. The only reason Wal-Mart is succeeding is because they are offering something that people want at a price people are willing to pay. If it weren't so, they would fail.
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Old 11-22-2005, 11:15 PM   #38
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This is called Capitalism people. The only reason Wal-Mart is succeeding is because they are offering something that people want at a price people are willing to pay. If it weren't so, they would fail.


so unfettered capitalism is an unquestionably good thing? we are to let it control us, no questions asked?

i always find it interesting when people think capitalism is an organism, or a diety.

capitalism doesn't just happen. there are a lot of very, very smart men in washington dc and new york who are constantly tweaking the system, turning knobs, and pulling strings in order to make it work. it's a human construct, not a natural law.
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Old 11-22-2005, 11:16 PM   #39
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Yeah, Kroger is a pretty good deal...their gas stations are always a few cents cheaper too. (I tried to get a summer job though, with no success...I should sue for ageism.)

Sorry, I know you're trying to point to a long-term trend, but isn't our employment around 5%? Hardly enough to spark an Intifada of any sort...

I guess I just have trouble blaming a company for paying just above minimum wage when it seems that is sort of the norm in the local service industry (and globalization doesn't help I'd guess). And I have trouble blaming people for shopping at the cheapest store even if it's a big bad corporation.
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Old 11-22-2005, 11:19 PM   #40
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This is called Capitalism people. The only reason Wal-Mart is succeeding is because they are offering something that people want at a price people are willing to pay. If it weren't so, they would fail.
Corporations are greedy and will take as much as they are allowed (sometimes more, considering the accounting scandals of the last few years). That's why we had something called "regulations." You have to set ground rules, or, otherwise, business would be perfectly happy to go back to the 19th century when millions were living in slum tenements working seven days a week, 16 hour days for little pay.

J.P. Morgan's fortune, when adjusted for inflation, would have made him a trillionaire in today's dollars. So while he had more money than the government much of the time, most of the rest of the country was living in poverty. In fact, for most of you here, you can thank the prosperity of the 20th century on those regulations, which were instituted in the early 20th century and helped create a large middle class. But Americans aren't particularly noted for paying attention during history class, so we're just contented in repeating our mistakes. Enron's energy price gouging in California four years ago was a tactic out of the 1890s, thanks to deregulation.

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Old 11-22-2005, 11:23 PM   #41
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In fact, for most of you here, you can thank the prosperity of the 20th century on those regulations, which were instituted in the early 20th century and helped create a large middle class. But Americans aren't particularly noted for paying attention during history class, so we're just contented in repeating our mistakes.


but Melon, everyone in here got their internet connection and $$$ to buy U2 tickets through their own hard work, elbow grease, and gumption -- and the government just wants to take that away with things like the death tax and the marriage penalty.

it's amazing how many people born on third base think they hit a triple. and those that defend the system most vigorously are usually the most unaware of just how egregously the deck is stacked in their favor.
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Old 11-22-2005, 11:23 PM   #42
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I agree that some degree of regulation is needed. But if Wal-Mart is following these regulations (ie paying just over minimum wage etc), why should they be expected, required according to some people, to do more? Do we need to raise minimum wage? Is Wal-Mart violating any regulations that I'm not aware of?
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Old 11-22-2005, 11:24 PM   #43
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Sorry, I know you're trying to point to a long-term trend, but isn't our employment around 5%? Hardly enough to spark an Intifada of any sort...
Unemployment figure calculation was redefined in the 1980s. The long-term unemployed who no longer collect benefits are assumed to be employed. When I graduated from college and couldn't get a job for nearly a year, I was assumed to be employed.

Secondly, I'm not talking about the present as much as where we're heading. Auto workers contribute a lot to the economy and cutting out 30,000 of them will have a ripple effect on the local economies of these workers when they can no longer buy anything. Let's face it: if you want people to spend, you need to pay them. If you keep on slashing their wages, they will spend less and weaken the economy.

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I guess I just have trouble blaming a company for paying just above minimum wage when it seems that is sort of the norm in the local service industry (and globalization doesn't help I'd guess). And I have trouble blaming people for shopping at the cheapest store even if it's a big bad corporation.
Wal-Mart is an easy poster company for all that's wrong in corporate America, but it is certainly just the tip of the iceberg. Much needs to be changed.

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Old 11-22-2005, 11:29 PM   #44
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but Melon, everyone in here got their internet connection and $$$ to buy U2 tickets through their own hard work, elbow grease, and gumption -- and the government just wants to take that away with things like the death tax and the marriage penalty.

it's amazing how many people born on third base think they hit a triple. and those that defend the system most vigorously are usually the most unaware of just how egregously the deck is stacked in their favor.
You're right. The estate tax only affects those with $2 million or more in assets. The vast majority of people have never been subjected to it. Ever. Now maybe that exemption needed to be raised, particularly in places like New England and California, where real estate prices are becoming astronomical.

The end effect of ending the estate tax, however, is essentially creating a standing aristocracy. The estate tax forced people after about 4 or 5 generations later to start working again--or to, at least, aggressively invest their existing fortunes to increase it. But no longer: now once people get rich, they're family will be arrogantly rich forever, and then we'll be no better than a sultanate.

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Old 11-22-2005, 11:37 PM   #45
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it's amazing how many people born on third base think they hit a triple. and those that defend the system most vigorously are usually the most unaware of just how egregously the deck is stacked in their favor.
trust me, I do know what you mean. I know a whole lot of people with 4 cars and rich daddies who will vigorously defend completely unregulated capitalism. In particular, I remember a conversation where some rich kid's only argument against a NHS (which could have many legit arguments made against it) was that if poor people could afford medecine we'd have to wait longer in line!

melon: If a lot of things need to be changed, then what? Raising minimum wage? National healthcare? (which we might as well forget about if it'd be as much of a fucking disgrace as the VA) It seems like enforced regulations on where companies put their money would be the only things that would make a difference...you can't expect to change fundamental human character, which is to say greed.

(ps- sorry for asking stupid questions, I know this isn't the most intellectually stimulating conversation for the others of you, but I actually learn crap from these conversations...and children are the future...so...)
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