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Tilting at Windmills

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March 15, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

EVERYDAY LOW VICES....Wal-Mart is obviously not a model employer, but how does it really stack up against its competitors? After all, big box retailing is not exactly an industry famous for high wages and great benefits. In the current issue of the Monthly, T.A. Frank takes a look at three specific allegations against Wal-Mart off-the-clock work, discrimination against women, and union busting and concludes that, yes, Wal-Mart really is worse than its peers. Here's his conclusion on gender discrimination, for example:

Is Wal-Mart really any different from its competitors when it comes to treating its female employees fairly? An extensive search of cases against Target doesn't turn up any similar accusations, and while Costco does face a gender discrimination class action, it involves hundreds of women, not millions. Brad Seligman, who is lead counsel on the gender discrimination cases against both Wal-Mart and Costco, stresses that, even accounting for differences in size, Wal-Mart is exceptional. I'm the first to concede that the Costco case is nowhere in the same league as the Wal-Mart case, says Seligman. I've done 50 class actions in my time, and Wal-Mart stands out above all of them, both in terms of the depth and pattern of discrimination and in their reaction to the charges.

Read the rest here.

Kevin Drum 2:36 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (98)

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Comments

Comparing Costco to Wal-Mart is like comparing Saks to Macy's. The similarity between the two is that they use large buildings.

Costco pays much better wages and caters to a different clientel than Wal-Mart. In broadest brush strokes, Wal-Mart is mostly for hicks, and Costco isn't.

Posted by: Jeff II on March 15, 2006 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Everything I've heard about Costco says that part of their business model is treating their employees fairly to reduce turn over.

Posted by: tree@agserd.com on March 15, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Well if the lead counsel in a class action lawsuit against Wal-Mart says it, it must be true!

Posted by: thisisjustsad on March 15, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

I read not long ago that the percentage of Wal-Mart employees who receive health insurance benefits is *higher* than for all retailers. True, it's lower than for employers in general, but that can be attributed to the fact that many retailing - and Wal-Mart - employees get health coverage from other sources, e.g. married women on their husbands' plans, teenagers on their parents' plans, retirees on Medicare.

Posted by: Peter on March 15, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

And remember kids, Wal-Mart is doing everything it can to branch out into banking next.

Posted by: Keith G on March 15, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Liberals, stay here with Kevin. For God's sake, DON'T READ GREENWALD!

Posted by: Freedom Phukher on March 15, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Brad Seligman, who is lead counsel on the gender discrimination cases against both Wal-Mart and Costco, stresses that, even accounting for differences in size, Wal-Mart is exceptional.

How do we know Costco and Target aren't discriminating against men by affirmative action and that's why there are less suits against them as opposed to Walmart - because affirmative action is legal? It might be that Walmart does not discriminate on the basis of sex, and they have less women working in management positions because men are just naturally better managers. Costco and Target however discriminate against men by affirmative action and that's why they have less men as managers even though men are better managers.

Posted by: Al on March 15, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Al, that type of thinking is not allowed.

Posted by: Homer on March 15, 2006 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

Wal Mart does not have adequate health insurance for it's employees. Go to wfpjournal.blogspot.com to learn more about how Wal Mart treats its employees and what's being done in NY to change that.

Posted by: mymble on March 15, 2006 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

(n'yuk n'yuk) Al - I hope you never leave.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on March 15, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

"Wal Mart does not have adequate health insurance for it's employees. Go to wfpjournal.blogspot.com to learn more about how Wal Mart treats its employees and what's being done in NY to change that."

Will the law compel Wal-Mart employees to go work at Costco so they can get adequate health insurance?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 15, 2006 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

rock on parody Al.

Posted by: cleek on March 15, 2006 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Al, that type of thinking is not allowed.

Was that "thinking"?

Posted by: craigie on March 15, 2006 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

"Brad Seligman, who is lead counsel on the gender discrimination cases against both Wal-Mart and Costco, ..."

Ha ha ha. As we all know, lawyers representing plaintiffs in multi-million-dollar lawsuits can always be relied on to give a fair and impartial presentation of the facts....

Posted by: Jason on March 15, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Well if the lead counsel in a class action lawsuit against Wal-Mart says it, it must be true!

As we all know, lawyers representing plaintiffs in multi-million-dollar lawsuits can always be relied on to give a fair and impartial presentation of the facts....

Of course, Wal-Mart is free to provide an alternate set of facts, but for some reason chooses not to.

Now, trolls, rather than sneering about the source, do you have any information that the information they presented is incorrect? Put up or shut up.

Posted by: Gregory on March 15, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

do you have any information that the information they presented is incorrect?
Easily done. In a free market, WalMart gets people to work for them.

In fact, what was that around Chicago, 15,000 people applied. Ya, potential employees must think WalMarts sucks in relation to other employers.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on March 15, 2006 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

There's an Associated Press story by Jeffrey Gold in my local paper under the headline:

Wal-Mart abuses N.J. health care -- Union report says retailer has more workers on state insurance system than any other employer.

You can read all about it at:

http://www.c-n.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060315/NEWS03/603150315/1007

Posted by: xtalguy on March 15, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

I would not jump to any conclusions regarding Wal-Mart's failure to respond to Seligman's public claims. Management might very well be figuring that any public statements will be turned against the company ("self-serving denial!"), and therefore they'll fight Seligman's case in court rather than in the press. I can't say that I would do otherwise.

Posted by: Peter on March 15, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

I have the perfect solution every liberal will love.

Universal Retailer. No more Wal-Marts, no more Targets, no more injustices, and no more inequities. We will have one national retailer controlled by the government where fair wages and benefits can be had by all retail employees. Perfect, no?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 15, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Easily done. In a free market, WalMart gets people to work for them.

Well, no, that fact doesn't prove that WalMart doesn't engage in the practices the lawyers claim, but thanks for playing.

potential employees must think WalMarts sucks in relation to other employers.

Since the lawsuits contend that actual employees encounter illegal labor practices once they're hired, again you have no point.

Posted by: Gregory on March 15, 2006 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

How will Wal-Mart work in a region of less than 100,000 people with 5 Wal-Mart stores within 50 miles?

Posted by: evilwalmart on March 15, 2006 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

"Of course, Wal-Mart is free to provide an alternate set of facts, but for some reason chooses not to."

On the contrary, Wal-Mart is vigorously defending itself against the discrimination charge.

Posted by: Jason on March 15, 2006 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

I would not jump to any conclusions regarding Wal-Mart's failure to respond to Seligman's public claims.

Neither would I, just as one shouldn't jumpt to conclusions about the claims made by plaintiff's lawyers.

On the other hand...

Management might very well be figuring that any public statements will be turned against the company ("self-serving denial!"), and therefore they'll fight Seligman's case in court rather than in the press.

That's certainly possible, altough to presume so would also be jumping to a conclusion. It's also possible that Wal-Mart's labor figures don't actually allow for a public rebuttal to the lawsuit's claims, to the extent that the company's PR folks are willing to endure the possible perception of wrongdoing that a "no comment" might create. Which scenario seems more plausible is up to the individual.

Posted by: Gregory on March 15, 2006 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

In fact, what was that around Chicago, 15,000 people applied. Ya, potential employees must think WalMarts sucks in relation to other employers.
Posted by: conspiracy nut

All that shows is how under-reported the unemployment rate is. No one really wants to work for Wal-Mart.

Posted by: Jeff II on March 15, 2006 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

On the contrary, Wal-Mart is vigorously defending itself against the discrimination charge.

On the contrary, Wal-Mart is defending itself in court, but not defending itself at all in articles such as this. Wal-Mart declines to present exculpatory information to the public -- again, even at the risk of incurring a negative perception for doing so. It's far from an unreasonable deduction that releasing the information is perceived as more damaging than not commenting to the press.

Posted by: Gregory on March 15, 2006 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Ya Gregory, I'm certain that 15,000 people lined up to work at a WalMart because of the awful working conditions, low wages, and poor benefits.

Gosh, they probably passed up all kinds of good jobs at reputable, high paying positions to be able to work for a discriminatory, wage cheating, union busting bunch of jerks.

You are clearly a great thinker.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on March 15, 2006 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

"I have the perfect solution every liberal will love.

Universal Retailer. No more Wal-Marts, no more Targets, no more injustices, and no more inequities. We will have one national retailer controlled by the government where fair wages and benefits can be had by all retail employees. Perfect, no?"
Posted by: Freedom Fighter

Hate to tell ya, FF, but in many smaller cities across the midwest and south we basically already have this, without the fair wages and benefits, though. It's called Wal-Mart. They already dominate commerce so thoroughly in some places that they might as well be government-run, because for local governments to turn on them would be economic suicide.

Liberals don't want a government-run "universal retailer." We (most of us, anyway) can deal with the free market, as long as government has the balls to make sure the market doesn't become exploitative. Some small towns, Wal-Mart is basically the only option for EVERYTHING, including employment, and if you don't like it, TS. That strikes me as a little exploitative.

Posted by: mmy on March 15, 2006 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

Right on, Jeff. Stick with Gregory, he's making so much sense.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on March 15, 2006 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Unless the truth is damning beyond imagination, Wal-Mart's PR people could figure out a way to give it a positive spin. And very few things in life are totally one-sided. So I stand by my position, namely that one should not draw any conclusions from the company's public silence.

Posted by: Peter on March 15, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Conspiracy Nut,

What alternatives were available to the 15000 who lined up for the Wal-Mart jobs? If the choice is between working at Wal-Mart and not working most people would take working at Wal-Mart. Of course the same could be said for poor third world kids who work in sweatshops making fabrics for (insert name of over paid brain dead celebrity here.)

An unchecked race to the bottom is unhealthy for both the economy and the society.

Posted by: Ron Byers on March 15, 2006 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

Walmart has an extremely high turnover rate - far higher than Costco.
See

http://reclaimdemocracy.org/articles_2004/costco_employee_benefits_walmart.html

I think that tells you a whole lot more about what kind of place it is to work at than a factoid about how many people applied for jobs at one store. Note also the irony of the &**#&
Wall Street analysts who think that Costco needs to slash employee benefits and pay to "reward" shareholders.

Posted by: Marc on March 15, 2006 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

Gosh, they probably passed up all kinds of good jobs at reputable, high paying positions to be able to work for a discriminatory, wage cheating, union busting bunch of jerks.

This is an excellent point, but not the one you think you are making.

Posted by: craigie on March 15, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

I'm certain that 15,000 people lined up to work at a WalMart because of the awful working conditions, low wages, and poor benefits.

The word you're looking for is "despite."

And, of course, you totally fail to address the point that the suits are brought by people who were confronted with Wal-mart's alleged unfair practices after they were employed. Here's a clue, nut: You can't be discriminated against for a promotion unless you already work there.

Posted by: Gregory on March 15, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

"How will Wal-Mart work in a region of less than 100,000 people with 5 Wal-Mart stores within 50 miles?"

Well, the way it usually works is that after Walmart has killed off all the local retailers in an area and become the only game in town, they will build a really big Walmart in some central location and shut down the other ones. With the local retailers gone- and not likely to come back- the residents get to drive 25 miles to get their groceries.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on March 15, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

"Note also the irony of the &**#&
Wall Street analysts who think that Costco needs to slash employee benefits and pay to "reward" shareholders."

I wouldn't call that an irony. There is bound to be a lot of overlap between "Wall Street analysts" and "shareholders".

Posted by: MJ Memphis on March 15, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Unless the truth is damning beyond imagination,

You're getting warmer...

Wal-Mart's PR people could figure out a way to give it a positive spin.

You're asserting a fact not in evidence, here.

And very few things in life are totally one-sided.

Except the information about Wal-Mart's employment policies that's in the public domain, of course.

So I stand by my position, namely that one should not draw any conclusions from the company's public silence.

Frm that fact alone, perhaps not. From the fact that -- even though, as you claim, Wal-Mart's PR people could give a "positive spin" to any information that isn't "damning," and yet they choose not to, instead accepting the risk that Wal-Mart's public image might be tainted by its perceived silence -- well, as I said, one is free to draw what inferences one will.

The bottom line is, Peter, that someone at Wal-Mart has decided that it's less damaging to Wal-Mart's public image to remain silent, even though it might be perceived as hiding something, than to release information to support the company. From that fact -- not the fact of the silence itself -- once could draw inference.

Posted by: Gregory on March 15, 2006 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

What alternatives were available to the 15000 who lined up for the Wal-Mart jobs?
That many people in a Chicago suburb? It was no doubt a choice between WalMart or starvation. Ya, that's the ticket. I suspect WalMart put that store there because of the high unemployment, because everyone knows that people with no money buy more stuff. Retailers fight for those locations.

An unchecked race to the bottom is unhealthy for both the economy and the society.
Certainly is, but if WalMart were not a competitive employer, they would not get employees. Since they do get employees they are clearly a competitve employer.

In fact, everytime WalMart gets an employee, they force another employer to offer better terms if they desire an employee. If other employers offered better terms, WalMart would have to offer better terms or no one would work there. So WalMart is, in a way, engaged in a race to the top. They can't help it in a free market.

Now, WalMart certainly does not live up to the socialist ideal that fulfilling social need is the purpose of businesses. And I, personally, do not approve of WalMart's business practices. As a result of that, I happily drive farther and pay more to not shop at a WalMart.

But when you look at their applications drawers, and their parking lots, you cannot in any way, shape, or form claim that WalMart is not providing what employees and customers want. You can only claim they are not providing what socialists want: businesses filling social needs.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on March 15, 2006 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

I wouldn't call that an irony. There is bound to be a lot of overlap between "Wall Street analysts" and "shareholders". Posted by: MJ Memphis

The Brotmans have always run successful businesses their own way. I doubt they'll pay Wall Street's advice much heed. Their closest competitor, Sam's Club, not Wal-Mart, has some 200 more stores but made $1 billion less in revenue last year.

Posted by: Jeff II on March 15, 2006 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

"All that shows is how under-reported the unemployment rate is. No one really wants to work for Wal-Mart."

When Wal-Mart opened its supercenter in Glendale, Arizona, a booming suburb of Phoenix, with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, over 7,000 people applied for 525 positions.

Yeah, clearly, "no one really wants to work for Wal-Mart."

Why bother with actual facts when you can just make stuff up?

Posted by: Jason on March 15, 2006 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

Talking about making stuff up.....

"Well, the way it usually works is that after Walmart has killed off all the local retailers in an area and become the only game in town, they will build a really big Walmart in some central location and shut down the other ones. With the local retailers gone- and not likely to come back- the residents get to drive 25 miles to get their groceries."


Posted by: Jason on March 15, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

you cannot in any way, shape, or form claim that WalMart is not providing what employees and customers want.

Perhaps not, but a number of lawsuits claim that Wal-Mart is breaking labor law in its employment practices -- which, of course, gives them an unfair advantage over employers that abide by the law.

Posted by: Gregory on March 15, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

but a number of lawsuits claim that Wal-Mart is breaking labor law in its employment practices
Let's see, will lawyers go after small companies with limited resources, or will they go after big companies with deep pockets...

Hmmm, I'm going to have to think that one over for a while.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on March 15, 2006 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

"Perhaps not, but a number of lawsuits claim that Wal-Mart is breaking labor law in its employment practices -- which, of course, gives them an unfair advantage over employers that abide by the law."

No, it would give them an advantage if it were true. Since it hasn't been established that it's true, neither has your claim of an unfair advantage.

I love the way Wal-Mart's critics routinely treat unproven accusations against the company as if they are established fact.

"We'll give Wal-Mart a fair trial, then we'll hang 'em."

Posted by: Jason on March 15, 2006 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

We have had these discussions before. Funny how no one who actually works at walmart comments about what a wonderful place it is to work.

Posted by: Neo on March 15, 2006 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

Funny how no one who actually works at walmart comments
I work at WalMart, and I've seen that market mechanisms cause inequalities of wealth. What is needed is equitable distribution of resources, to eliminate the injustice in a class based society. Everyone knows that community owned businesses are central to economic justice, and are the only way to insure that social needs are met by employers.

Plus I have to wear this stupid uniform.

Posted by: WalMart worker on March 15, 2006 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't Costco penalized by Wall Street (or is the Wal Street) for paying its employees a livable wage. Of course, " - " is a Wall Street darling.

Posted by: the fake Fake Al on March 15, 2006 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

I'm still pissed about Drum's complacent embrace of Bush lawbreaking, while tut-tutting Feingold.

It colors all other Drum analysis.

Posted by: JC on March 15, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

"I work at WalMart, and I've seen that market mechanisms cause inequalities of wealth. What is needed is equitable distribution of resources, to eliminate the injustice in a class based society."

I am perplexed liberals haven't embraced the Universal Retailer suggestion. It'll work just as well as Universal Healthcare.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 15, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

But.......is it a wonderful place to work rewarding the spirit lifting the soul challenging the intellect?

Posted by: Neo on March 15, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

Pew Poll (Bush at 33%): The single word most frequently associated with George W. Bush today is "incompetent,"and close behind are two other increasingly mentioned descriptors: "idiot" and "liar." All three are mentioned far more often today than a year ago.

Let's hear it for the ever-helpful conservative lemmings and fair-day liberals that vociferously counseled liberals criticizing Bush that continuing to proclaim Bush a liar and incompetent would never work, would backfire, and would forever send liberalism into the dustbins of history.

They were so, so correct!

Not.

Dems lead the GOP by 16 points on the generic ballot, a lead that has consistently increased during the past year, a lead that points to mid-term election gains even taking into account voting patterns.

Just makes you want to puke your guts out when you wake up in the morning, doesn't it rdw?


Posted by: Advocate for God on March 15, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

Now, who was it that said that all he saw in liberal comments was pessimism, pessimism, pessimism?

Oh, yeah, it was one of those self-congratulating smartass conservative lemmings who counseled liberals that their strategy and tactics were doomed, doomed he proclaimed, to fail.

Posted by: Advocate for God on March 15, 2006 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

FF: I am perplexed liberals haven't embraced the Universal Retailer suggestion. It'll work just as well as Universal Healthcare.

33% approval for Bush.

32% approval for Congressional Republicans.

But, hey, with approval ratings like that, I'm sure that the GOP's Universal Nocare plan is going to really excite the voters!

I LOVE IT!

Posted by: Advocate for God on March 15, 2006 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

We have Universal Retail already - you can find a retail store for whatever item you need.

We don't have Universal Healthcare. You can't just get whatever healthcare you need.

The difference is? One is care and the other is offering to sell stuff.

Now, do we have Universal Foodstuffs? Can everyone in the US get the food they need?

Of course, the trolls don't know or care about the differences.

Or the fact that you have to be unemployed - some 15,000 people need to live within commuting distance of a store to have aplied there.

Now, how would people [i]choose not to apply[/i] when they're unemployed? Hmm? How?

Posted by: Crissa on March 15, 2006 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

Wal-Mart is the evil empire in our house,no shopping there at all.

Posted by: TJM on March 15, 2006 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

But.......is it a wonderful place to work rewarding the spirit lifting the soul challenging the intellect?
No, it is a daily grind of the downtrodden and disaffected. Capitalism eschews democracy, we have no say in our condition. Orders are thrust upon us in a hierachical power relation.

In a just world, large corporations would not be able to make decisions with sweeping social impact without democratic input, and there would be meaningful work for all.

Plus I have to wear a name tag.

Posted by: WalMart worker on March 15, 2006 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory and others:

I can assure you that attorneys always tell their clients to keep their mouths shut. nothing should be interpreted from Walmart's silence...I 100% guarantee that's by order of counsel (full disclosure..my firm has represented Walmart on occasion...but not on matters related to this or any similar litigation).

I can well believe that Walmart can be unfavorably compared to Costco. I can also believe that in states where it is the largest retail employer it is also the employer with the most employees on public health insurance...um, duh!
I have seen no data indicating that Walmart is "worse" than other large retailers in the aggregate...

Posted by: Nathan on March 15, 2006 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

33% approval for Bush.
32% approval for Congressional Republicans.

But the Repubs still get to run against Democrats.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on March 15, 2006 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

But the Repubs still get to run against Democrats.

And they'll be soundly spanked! With Bush at 33% the Republicans are no longer unified. It's every man for himself!

Posted by: ExBrit on March 15, 2006 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

And they'll be soundly spanked!
I'm pretty disgusted with Bush. But do you think I'm going to run out and vote for Kerry, or whichever equivalent clown the Dems run this time?

Hillary! maybe, the fun factor could be enough for her.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on March 15, 2006 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK
In fact, what was that around Chicago, 15,000 people applied. ...by: conspiracy nut
That only demonstrates how desperate people are for work in this horrendous Bush economy.
Gosh, they probably passed up all kinds of good jobs ...Posted by: conspiracy nut
Believe me, if good jobs were available, people would be beating down the walls to get them. Why don't you go to work for Wal-Mart so you can give us a first hand report? You are clearly no great thinker. Every time Wal-Mart gets a new employee, they get another human desperite for work and unable to find an alternate job. If they were providing good employment, they would not be losing so many class action law suits.
Why bother with actual facts when you can just make stuff up? Posted by: Jason
Making up stuff is the Republican way: WMD, good economic news, pro-Wal-Mart propaganda, war in Iran, privatization of Social Security, Medicare Plan D corporate subsidies.
have seen no data indicating that Walmart is "worse" than other large retailers in the aggregate...Posted by: Nathan
You could check around you know.
But the Repubs still get to run against Democrats. Posted by: conspiracy nut
And, as usual, Republicans will cheat every way they can. Posted by: Mike on March 15, 2006 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

But do you think I'm going to run out and vote for Kerry, or whichever equivalent clown the Dems run this time? Well, I doubt it. I haven't seen any evidence of rational decision making so far on your part.

Think about this: if Kerry had won we wouldn't be in Iraq now, and we might have caught OBL. Kerry would have done much better job than Bush has of homeland security, and we wouldn't have the whopping deficit we now enjoy. Any Democrat just couldn't have done worse. Bush and his entire administration are utterly incompetent, ruthless and corrupt.

Posted by: ExBrit on March 15, 2006 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

if Kerry had won we wouldn't be in Iraq now
You say that like it's a good thing.

we might have caught OBL
And we might have solved the Lindberg kidnapping.

Kerry would have done much better job than Bush has of homeland security
Well, I'll admit he couldn't have done worse. But being the consumate anti-warrior I doubt he'd represent much of an improvement.

and we wouldn't have the whopping deficit we now enjoy
Probably so, but not for the reasons you're likely imagining. Kerry's spending proposals were not just larger than Bush's, they were larger than Bush's plus repealing the tax cuts. So if the deficits were less, it sure wouldn't have been Kerry's plan.

But the reason it is likely true is gridlock.

Bush and his entire administration are utterly incompetent, ruthless and corrupt.
Incompetent, given. Ruthless, no more so than any given politician. And funny thing, you moonbats keep claiming corrupt, but when it comes time to actually provide evidence that someone besides another moonbat will buy...

Posted by: conspiracy nut on March 15, 2006 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

ExBrit: if Kerry had won we wouldn't be in Iraq now

conspiracy nut: You say that like it's a good thing.

Ya, it's not as if conspiracy nut would ever actually enlist and ship his ass of to Iraq, so why should he worry? It's not like he'll ever end up there. Though maybe he should volunteer to end that ongoing genocide in the Balkans he believes is going on -- after all, if it is going on then shouldn't Bush have some plan to end it?

Posted by: Stefan on March 15, 2006 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

death to the fascist insect that preys upon the life of the people.

Posted by: harry near indy on March 15, 2006 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

Incompetent, given

Ah, it's nice to see c.n. coming around to the reality-based world, if only a little. Who said upping his dosage wouldn't work?

Posted by: Stefan on March 15, 2006 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan
Have you just gotten back from your enlistment with the insurgency, helping drive the hated Americans from Iraq? Don't tell me you're just sitting behind your keyboard spouting rhetoric and lacking the stones to back it up.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on March 15, 2006 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

I worked at Wal-Mart as a teenager. It wasn't fun. I remember the assistant manager in charge of hiring and firing, browbeating me into buying Wal-Mart stock out of my already meager paycheck.

My teen years are getting to be a long time behind me. However, my brother had a more recent stint at a different Wal-Mart store. He doesn't have anything good to say about the experience either.

Posted by: Librul on March 15, 2006 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

Don't tell me you're just sitting behind your keyboard spouting rhetoric and lacking the stones to back it up.

Christ, no, I'm not just sitting behind my keyboard. I dictate and have my secretary type this up.

Posted by: Stefan on March 15, 2006 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

"Believe me, if good jobs were available, people would be beating down the walls to get them."

So Wal-mart is giving people a better opportunity and you guys are bashing Wal-mart for that? Would it be better if Wal-mart didn't open a store?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 15, 2006 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

Freedom Fries: Would it be better if Wal-mart didn't open a store?

Probably be better if they opened a store but paid a living wage and provided full benefits. Though I realize that Freedom Fries prefers all choices to be either/or, black/white.

Posted by: Stefan on March 15, 2006 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

Have you just gotten back from your enlistment with the insurgency, helping drive the hated Americans from Iraq? Don't tell me you're just sitting behind your keyboard spouting rhetoric and lacking the stones to back it up

well I can't speak for Stefan, but I sure have been busy helping the insurgency. Let me tell you all the infernal deeds I do to help the evildoers...

I speak my mind AND

I dissent with the Bush Administration.

There! I've done it. I've helped demoralize the troops and I've emboldened the enemy by those simple acts. Because now the evildoers and thugs and assassins are ever more empowered to kill US troops in the US if they know America doesn't love Geroge Bush.

If we all loved George Bush daily, and just trust him with every important decision, then the thugs and assassins won't know what to do which such unity and they'll probably lay down their arms, and ask when the WalMart is coming to downtown Baghdad.

Posted by: The Media on March 15, 2006 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

"Talking about making stuff up...."

Ya know, dumbass, I live in Walmart country. Maybe, just maybe, I'm speaking from experience?

If you want a real-life example, try googling Nowata Oklahoma Walmart. Short form: Walmart opens location in Nowata, OK (pop. 4000) in 1982; half the local small businesses closed down; in 1994, Walmart closes store in Nowata and another nearby town and opens a Supercenter in a bigger town 30 miles away. End result: lots of bankrupt small businesses, and people driving 30 miles to do their shopping. You want more examples? That sure ain't the only one. I was in a small Arkansas town (probably 6,000 people) about a week ago that is going through the same thing. It happens, and it's been happening for a long time.

Now, go put on your little vest and fetch a mop, I think a toddler puked on aisle 5.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on March 15, 2006 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

Global Insight made the news when they sponsored a series of studies on Wal-Mart a while back. Kevin covered the studies here, I believe.

Global Insight then did their own study. Didn't hear much about them after that. The study is mentioned in passing in Frank's article. No link.

If Wal-Mart unionized, without changing any other policies, this barrage would stop as though someone turned off a switch.

Multiply 1.4 million employees by what a union worker of this type pays in annual dues, and you'll know exactly what all this is really about. End of story.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 15, 2006 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

So Wal-mart is giving people a better opportunity and you guys are bashing Wal-mart for that? Would it be better if Wal-mart didn't open a store?
Posted by: Freedom Fighter

Only a shut-in jackass who still lives with his parents would think that a part-time minimum wage job with no benefits is a great opportunity. And don't give me that nonsense answer as other economic know-nothings have about how thousands of people making application for just hundreds of jobs shows that Wal-Mart is a great place to work. What it shows, again, is that unemployment, as it always has been, is underreported by 2-3%. No one gets jacked about working at a store like Wal-Mart.

Posted by: Jeff II on March 15, 2006 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

If Wal-Mart unionized, without changing any other policies, this barrage would stop as though someone turned off a switch.

Multiply 1.4 million employees by what a union worker of this type pays in annual dues, and you'll know exactly what all this is really about. End of story. Posted by: tbrosz

Yeah. You'd have people making about $3.00/hr more than they do now with full benefits.

End of story.

Posted by: Jeff II on March 15, 2006 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

"about how thousands of people making application for just hundreds of jobs shows that Wal-Mart is a great place to work. What it shows, again, is that unemployment, as it always has been, is underreported by 2-3%. No one gets jacked about working at a store like Wal-Mart."

I am not arguing that Wal-mart isn't a great place to make a living. However, I am perplexed as to why you'd get jacked up by Wal-mart giving people a chance to make some money as opposed to say Saks 5th Ave not opening a new store? I mean shouldn't you be jacked up about that? Afterall, we all know employee at Saks get paid much better.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 15, 2006 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

The Media, don't you know that every time you speak your mind, a soldier cries?

Posted by: Stefan on March 15, 2006 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

Only a shut-in jackass who still lives with his parents would think that a part-time minimum wage job with no benefits is a great opportunity.

No -- a retiree who wants only part time work to keep the blood circulating might very well think it's a great opportunity. So might the college student who just needs beer money. As an employer, Wal-Mart's in the same league as, say, McDonald's. I don't think anybody who's trying to support a family should work retail or fast food. It's not Wal-Mart's fault that the global economy no longer pays high wages for work that adds minimal value. It's not Wal-Mart's fault that American voters are too stupid to demand universal healthcare and a robust safety net.

Posted by: anon on March 15, 2006 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

Retail jobs at Wal-Mart and elsewhere appeal to some people because of the employee discounts.

Posted by: Peter on March 15, 2006 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

Everyone should read the Global Insight study that tbrosz linked to. It found that Wal-Mart has a significant positive economic impact.

Posted by: Jason on March 15, 2006 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

"But do you think I'm going to run out and vote for Kerry.."

Of course not. Fools like you are always self-defeating.

Posted by: Joey Giraud on March 15, 2006 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

Jason:>"Wal-Mart has a significant positive economic impact."

For who? The shareholders, or the customers/workers?

Lower prices seem wonderful.... until you lose your job.

Most economic indicators don't differentiate between the two.

Posted by: Joey Giraud on March 15, 2006 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

Welcome to Liberal Fantasy Land, I'll be your Real World Host.

Today, we've got a long article about working conditions at WalMart, together with 84 comments. And, neither the article nor the comments mention the illegal labor that WalMart pleaded guilty to indirectly hiring.

This is why most Americans don't trust Democrats: they aren't willing to deal with the real problems we face and prefer to live in Liberal Fantasy Land. Enjoy your stay!

-- Illegal immigration news

Posted by: TLB on March 15, 2006 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK
...Wal-mart giving people a chance to make some money as opposed to say Saks 5th Ave not opening a new store? ... Posted by: Freedom Fighter
Do they in fact get paid better? In the meantime, Why don't wealthy shareholders like you tell Saks what to do if their business model is so obvious to you?
Multiply 1.4 million employees by what a union worker of this type pays in annual dues, and you'll know exactly what all this is really about.... Posted by: tbrosz
Apparently the must important thing is that working people be prevented for making a living wage for their work. That is an arrogant and elitist point of view. Posted by: Mike on March 15, 2006 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin did they send you to "Bush" school since you have been gone?

These Articles, now, are like standard bullshit MSM Oprah Winfrey Ratings Crap..

Am I wrong? because I can find many House transcripts and reports or upcoming House Bills...perhaps Iran? The neo-con demise?

They go to you dint they kevin?

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [X^B on March 15, 2006 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin has turned MSM dittohead it would appear..suddenly Kev their is no 'Meat'

WTF? Dood?

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [X^B on March 15, 2006 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

Today, we've got a long article about working conditions at WalMart, together with 84 comments. And, neither the article nor the comments mention the illegal labor that WalMart pleaded guilty to indirectly hiring.

When there's so many things to pick from, why is this one any more important than the lawsuits that were, ya know, actually mentioned in the article?

Notice, of course, none of the Trolls mentioned any of the other lawsuits at all... They mentioned 15,000 applications to one store - but never that some of these applicants would be turned away for contractors who had illegal labor.

It's just one of many things that happen to be 'bad working conditions'.

Posted by: Crissa on March 16, 2006 at 12:18 AM | PERMALINK

"Multiply 1.4 million employees by what a union worker of this type pays in annual dues, and you'll know exactly what all this is really about.... Posted by: tbrosz

Mike:

Apparently the must important thing is that working people be prevented for making a living wage for their work. That is an arrogant and elitist point of view.

Save the high-minded indignation for the rubes. The object of this game, including the union support and financing of much of the anti-Walmart organizing, is the unionizing of one of the largest retailers in America. Unions are losing power and influence, and they need all the workers they can get. Walmart has a lot of workers, so focusing on this one target is a much more productive use of time than trying to unionize dozens of smaller, unrelated outfits.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 16, 2006 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

Tom Brosz - You are an insufferable ASS - Wal-Mart paid Global Insight for that report - Check back issues of Business Week

Go back into your Golden Gopher hole, you pompous pocket gopher.

Ass Rocket Man - You are a twit about Iraq - You are an idiot about Universal Health Care - You are an imbecile about Wal-Mart.

Gohphers are rodent and pests - You qualify as both.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on March 16, 2006 at 1:15 AM | PERMALINK

thethirdPaul:

WalMart also sponsored other reports that were less than complimentary about WalMart. There didn't seem to be a problem with accepting those as accurate.

Do you people have anything other than childish insults for arguments?

Posted by: tbrosz on March 16, 2006 at 2:02 AM | PERMALINK

why is [WalMart's illegal labor problem] any more important than the lawsuits that were, ya know, actually mentioned in the article?

There are 20,000,001 reasons. The '1' part is because - oddly enough - most "liberals" don't want to talk except in the most Struthersian way about the illegal labor that they fully support. It's almost Victorian. Don't be shy, Washington Monthly! Feel free to face up to that which you support.

In related news: it looks like WalMart has gotten to Ariadne Huffanan.

Posted by: TLB on March 16, 2006 at 2:30 AM | PERMALINK

I am curious how Wal-Mart, or any big retailer, compares with the Mom and Pop stores that the NIMBY crowd finds so appealing. My non-scientific observances and experience indicate that working in Wal-Mart beats the hell out of working at the local grocery store or convenience mart. Note that this is not meant as an excuse for Wal-Mart's bad deeds, just a sanity check from the viewpoint of the working poor.

Posted by: msf on March 16, 2006 at 8:10 AM | PERMALINK

My favorite Walton's heirs story appaeared in the LATimes recently (didn't bookmark it - so unable to provide URL) concerned the purchase of a $30M painting.

The Wal-Mart heiress, with BILLIONS in inherited wealth at her disposal, in question got a special law passed by the AR legistlature to exempt her from paying $3M in sales taxes.

That $3M likely represented 10 minutes of her income...but in a such desperately poor state could have...what?....gone to something like the crumbling and over-crowded schools.

I need a new word to describe my level of disgust.

Note to McA: that's 'fewer' not 'less', you semi-literate twerp. And where is there a shred of evidence to support your absurd assertion that 'men make better managers'? Eh?

Posted by: CFShep on March 16, 2006 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know MSF working for a company that works from a corporate operations manual as opposed to rubbing elbows with the owner what do you think. At mom and pop companies the managers are at least on site. Doubtful they worry about shareholders. I would rather to work for the smaller enterprises.

Posted by: Neo on March 16, 2006 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

Japan is full of heavily-protected mom and pop stores. One of the major complaints of Islamic immigrants to Europe, particularly the Netherlands, is that the newcomers are often used to operating small shops and businesses, but they simply are prohibited from getting started by a fantastic level of government regulation of small business in Europe, much of it frankly intended to grandfather native-owned businesses and protect them against competition forever.

But the small entity business can also take a pounding from regulations as well, so in the USA having constantly to get permissions and be subjected to liability for things beyond your control can work to favor the big corporations, who can hire specialists and attorneys to address issues that small employers can not.

I've got a friend here in the Seattle area who lost his life's savings trying to run a small laundry/ dry cleaning joint because government kept piling on regulations. It wasn't just the onerous and sometimes silly rules about chemicals, it was the dilemma of what to do when one minority employee allegedly keeps pinching female employees on the butt. If he wrongfully accuses the male employee, he gets sued for racial discrimination. If he doesn't do anything much, the women sue him. Either way he is ruined, and so he was, just over complaints that actually never went to court. Another huge headache is shoplifting, which the big stores can ameliorate and amortize better because they can hire specialists to deal with it. Same thing with credit-card fraud, which is driving a lot of small businesses into having to refuse to take plastic at all.

It is much easier for big corporation-owned chains to get in compliance with all the rules and legal issues that modern society tends to generate. If Joe's Fish and Chips gets ruinously bashed by a local media report on illegal immigrant workers with MERSA, Joe doesn't have the guns to fight back, even against an unfair report.

Americans are getting what they deserve with Wal-Mart. Eventually big chain store workers will unionize and retail prices will jack through the roof. Then we will all end up buying black market stuff at impromptu garage sales, while the big box stores have idle employees sitting around in "job banks" that were put in their lush contracts back in the days.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on March 16, 2006 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

Costco pays much better wages and caters to a different clientel than Wal-Mart. In broadest brush strokes, Wal-Mart is mostly for hicks, and Costco isn't.
Posted by: Jeff II

According to their website (costco.com) the nearest store is in Arlington, Texas (a prosperous heavily GOP suburb of Dallas) so that's a 24 hour round trip from where I live.

I'd say I really have no choice whatsoever.

I do miss the three locally owned grocery store chains driven out by the Super Wal-Mart.

Also the neighborhood Winn-Dixie which went belly up not long after Wal-Mart opened right across the street.

Next up is, of course, Albertson's...soon nothing but Wal-Mart, all Wal-Mart, all the time.

Ugh.

Posted by: CFShep on March 16, 2006 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

In broadest brush strokes, Wal-Mart is mostly for hicks, and Costco isn't. Posted by: Jeff II

According to their website (costco.com) the nearest store is in Arlington, Texas (a prosperous heavily GOP suburb of Dallas)

Arlington, TX. That says it all.

Hicks sometimes have money, too. Sometimes they even have a college degree. And as we all know, you can take the boy out of the country, but can't always take the country out of the boy.

My great-uncle was a multi-millionaire wheat farmer. ("My country 'tis of thee. Sweet land of subsidy . . .") Worst case of new paint disease I'd ever seen. Lived on a private golf course, but never played the game. Had an 8th grade education. He was a hick, but a wealthy one.

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