"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” -Mahatma Gandhi

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

WalMart, the Minimum Wage, and "Evil Corporations" (Memes and Links)

It all started when I shared a meme on facebook.  I found it rather humorous and decided that my friends must share in my laughter.  So, I clicked share.  What resulted was a long and interesting conversation that might have brought a liberal just a bit closer to being a libertarian.  So, first things first, here is the meme.

Poor Bob.  It sounds like a really bad day for him.  A few of my friends asked if Bob was also diddled against his will.  I had no answers for them.  The information in the photo was all I had to go on.  Then, enter the liberal.

LIBERAL:  Yeah ppl with shitty jobs should have just chosen NOT to be poor. It's SO simple. 
ME: WalMart lobbies the government for a higher minimum wage. This is the mechanism they use to force small mom and pop joints out of business. You can't have your cake and eat it too

LIBERAL: According to these articles, Walmart pays twice the federal minimum wage to its employees. So they shouldn't really need to lobby to stifle the competition. If I'm unemployed and Walmart is paying twice as much as Mr. & Ms. Johnson's General Store, I'm working at Walmart. 
ME: So, is Walmart an evil corporation who survives off of the pain a misery of its lowly workers, or is it a good place to work that provides quality jobs to hard working people? See, you can't have it both ways. 
LIBERAL: I'm on the fence with WalMart now, lol 
ME: I think what WalMart does is unethical, but not for the reasons you might think. WalMart is a prime example of neo-liberal crony capitalism. Using the power of government to "legislate" your competitors out of business is unbelievably unethical. An unintended consequence of WalMart lobbying to raise the minimum wage is shown in the picture below.

The way they do business sends shockwaves through the market. Once you raise the minimum wage, all other businesses who employ unskilled labor have to adjust their bottom line. When it becomes more profitable to use machines, businesses will use machines. McDonalds might not do it at a seven dollar minimum wage, but they will at a fifteen dollar minimum wage. Remember, McDonalds' purpose is to provide cheeseburgers to people who want to buy them, not to provide jobs to unskilled laborers. In summary, when you raise the minimum wage, you take away jobs from unskilled laborers. Sure, people make more, but the jobs are more scarce and harder to obtain. If you want workers at WalMart to earn a "living wage" they are going to have to lay a bunch of people off. There is always a tradeoff, but you can never have your cake and eat it too. All this being said, I will always buy my toilet paper at WalMart. Its cheaper there.

Hopefully he took what I said to heart.

Taken a step further, and explained simply through another meme, we find that everyone is getting in on the action.  I love the Keanu meme!

Asking one simple question will usually reveal what is going on. Cui Bono? To whose benefit? If you can find the person, company, or governmental entity that will benefit the most from a certain action, nine times out of ten you will discover who is behind said action.

But I digress.  A few days after this conversation, I was scrolling through my newsfeed and ran across a couple articles that totally fleshed out my conversation in a much more succinct manner.  Naturally, I had to repost them.  I thought they would act as the icing on the cake, and also add a fitting end to this post.  

How D.C.'s effort to raise the minimum wage helps Walmart