An excellent email from one of my readers in response to my post yesterday about Wal-Mart:
"Sometimes economic and logical ignorance and anti-capitalist bias just must be rebutted, even though it should be obvious to everyone. In regard to the February 2004 report by the Democratic Staff of the House Education and Workforce Committee concerning the "federal costs" to taxpayers of "Wal-Mart's success in holding employee compensation at low levels," the following observations:
First, where do they think Wal-Mart gets these apparently exploited and "badly paid" employees? From the ranks elsewhere of better-paid full-time employees with full benefit packages? I haven't heard about any Wal-Mart gangs shanghaiing people and forcing them to work for Wal-Mart, so Wal-Mart's employees must be there voluntarily, presumable because Wal-Mart offers them better employment opportunities than they had before.
Second, even if it is true (which I doubt) that most of these employees rely on government-provided or subsidized health care and government assistance paid for by "US taxpayers," is it not then likely these same people were also relying on government-provided or subsidized health care and assistance before they voluntarily chose to work for Wal-Mart? So Wal-Mart's employment of these people would, at worst, have no effect on the cost to taxpayers for these people's government-subsidized health care and other government assistance. More likely, at least some of these employees would now qualify for at least some employer-provided benefits and others would have improved their economic lot sufficiently to pay for at least some of their own maintenance and health care, rather than relying on government assistance.
In addition, since these employees must now have better employment opportunities than they had had before, presumably most of them are earning more than they did before, and paying more taxes! In fact, some of these employees may have had no employment before and been surviving entirely on welfare benefits. Therefore, when Wal-Mart employs these people, tax collections go up, use of government-subsidized health care goes down, and welfare benefit payments go down, which is a net benefit to everyone. The only logical conclusion one can draw is that rather than costing "federal taxpayers ... a total annual welfare bill of $2.5 billion for Wal-Mart's 1.2 million US employees," Wal-Mart's employment of these people reduces the welfare bill the US taxpayers otherwise would pay for these people.
When such obvious logic and facts are omitted from a "report" damning a successful business operation, it is clear the objective is not truth, but rather, to bash successful business and to attack our competitive capitalist system.
I can just see how this logic will play out in the Dems next report attacking not only Wal-Mart, but also all US businesses large and small, for employing anyone at all. Given the actuarial imbalance in the Social Security system, each new hire can be expected to add tens of thousands of dollars to the actuarial deficit. When summed across the entire economy, the deficit is not just a measly $2.5 billion, but rather tens of trillions of dollars! As a result, all these evil businesses in the US are shackling the US taxpayers with TRILLIONS in future tax liability by employing anyone!"
Blithering Bunny has some useful links on the Wal-Mart haters too.