Mr. Sensitive

November 22, 2012

Wal-Mart is the Borg

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 09:03

The American economy has a huge problem: Americans are addicted to low prices.  We reflexively shop for the lowest price, abandoning local businesses in favor of big-box retailers; we demand that prices keep falling, without regard to the cost cuts manufacturers and retailers will have to make in order to lower those prices; we fail to make the connections between low prices and cost cuts, between cost cuts and job cuts.  If we demand that prices be as low as possible, we are effectively demanding cuts in our own wages and outsourcing of jobs to low-wage countries like China and Vietnam (both Communist countries, by the way).  It’s a devil’s bargain predicated on short-term thinking.  You demand the lowest price when you’re shopping for something now, today; you don’t consider the impact that demand has on American manufacturing when everyone makes the same demand every day.  The average American doesn’t have the time or the money to deliberately reject cheap goods, but if we don’t, we will destroy our livelihoods.  If we don’t stop reflexively shopping at Wal-mart, the only jobs left will be Wal-mart jobs.

This is just one reason why Obamacare is important.  It will cause prices to rise; in some cases, businesses will absorb the costs, but in other cases they will pass it on to consumers.  Like the minimum wage, Obamacare is a necessary curb on our lust for low prices; it protects the future of the economy to an extent that is necessary but cost-prohibitive for individual consumers.  I’m not suggesting the law in its current form is perfect, and that changes won’t be necessary.  Attacks on Obamacare in principle, however, must be rejected.  The line must be drawn here.

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