Thursday, January 19, 2006

Government Stay Out (Wal-Mart Shape-Up)

Although I oppose the recent Wal-Mart legislation that was passed in Maryland, I don’t want my opposition to give people the wrong impression. I disagree with the legislation because I don’t think Wal-Mart is doing anything that warrants legislation. Its decision to provide wages far below that of its competitors, and its decision not to provide health insurance to many of its employees, makes it deserving of scorn and boycotts, but not government intervention. And if their practices are anti-union, then they should be taken to court under current law.

But make no mistake that I am against their practices. The way they treat their employees is not an attempt to remain profitable and I don’t believe that they are paying their employees what the employee’s service is worth to the company. Any economic arguments are bunk in my opinion because they are using their power to keep wages in their company artificially low. They would remain profitable if they actually paid the employees what they are worth.

So the bottom line is this, I am against the legislation, but I am also against Wal-Mart’s practices.

*Note: I think this situation is in some way similar to the Supreme Court case of PGA Tour v. Casey Martin. Although I think the PGA Tour could have allowed Casey Martin to use a golf cart without compromising on the integrity of the game, I don’t think government had any role in that dispute.