Greater Greater Washington

How much will Walmart cost DC taxpayers?

What if it cost you two cents on the dollar at the discount store to ensure that your neighbor, who works long hours at the store, has adequate health coverage through his employer? What if paying those two cents reduced the number of people relying on Medicaid for health care, and thereby reduced your taxes?


Photo by Walmart Stores on Flickr.

These are among questions the DC Council needs to address before large retailers like Walmart open new stores in the District.

As we debate the need to trim local and national spending, we need to ensure that no one gets off with a free ride, and that includes prosperous corporations that get backdoor subsidies by not providing competitive benefits for their employees. A 2005 study found that the rate of uninsurance and public coverage for the children of Walmart workers was significantly higher than the average for other large retail workers.

This study found that by increasing costs by two pennies on the dollar, Walmart could match the wages and benefits of other big retailers. This would cost $3.66 billion annually. In 2005, Walmart spent $1.5 billion annually on health benefits.

If Walmart were to provide a competitive wage and benefits package, it could mean real savings for the District. A Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services study found, in 2007, that it cost the state $3.7 million annually to provide care to Walmart employees and dependents. Such costs could be significant in the District, where the Mayor has proposed $12 million in cuts this year to health care programs for low-income residents.

While Walmart changed its plan to include a $1,000 contribution from the company to a health reimbursement account, it still has an unusually high out-of-pocket limit. In 2011, Walmart continued to have more employees relying on public care in Wisconsin than any other employer in the state.

The DC Council could require a community impact analysis, like those required in the city of Los Angeles, to determine if Walmart's new benefits plan significantly reduces the burden on taxpayers. Or, the Council could follow New York City's example (see page 196) and mandate that big retailers pay a minimum amount to ensure that their employees have affordable health care.

The Council has a responsibility to protect taxpayers from secret subsidies to huge corporations. And it has the power to do something about it by requiring large retailers to provide adequate wages and health coverage so that it does not force a disproportionate number of employees to rely on public benefits.

Support us: Monthly   Yearly   One time
Greatest supporter—$250/year
Greater supporter—$100/year
Great supporter—$50/year
Or pick your own amount: $/year
Greatest supporter—$250
Greater supporter—$100
Great supporter—$50
Supporter—$20
Or pick your own amount: $
Want to contribute by mail or another way? Instructions are here.
Contributions to Greater Greater Washington are not tax deductible.

Rachel Streitfeld and Abdul Kargbo are Co-Chairs of the Jews United for Justice "Living Wages Healthy Communities Campaign." Working with a coalition of faith, labor and environmental groups, the Living Wages Healthy Communities Coalition is building support in the district to pressure Walmart to sign an unprecedented Community Benefits Agreement that would set a new bar for high labor and environmental standards for Walmart and other major corporations seeking to set up shop in our city. 

Comments

Add a comment »

If Walmart were to provide a competitive wage and benefits package, it could mean real savings for the District.

If there are enough people who choose to accept the jobs with those wage and benefits packages, then they are, by definition, competitive.

by David desJardins on Apr 18, 2011 3:26 pm • linkreport

I'm surprised to see an article like this on Greater Greater Washington. It amounts to little more than commercial NIMBYism,

Why should Wal-Mart be coerced by so-called "community activists" into changing their practices? As Mr. desJardins elegantly pointed out, "If there are enough people who choose to accept the jobs with those wage and benefits packages, then they are, by definition, competitive."

Why single out Wal-Mart? Other than they're politically unpopular with some liberals?

Giant, Safeway, Target, McDonalds, and Wal-Mart all compete in a large market for customers and employees. Why petition for regulation of only one?

The DC Council could require a community impact analysis, like those required in the city of Los Angeles, to determine if Walmart's new benefits plan significantly reduces the burden on taxpayers.

They could. They should not. Does the District conduct a cost-benefit analysis for each individual resident who moves in? Do they do a cost-benefit analysis for each bar or restaurant? No. They shouldn't do this to Wal-Mart.

The Council has a responsibility to protect taxpayers from secret subsidies to huge corporations. And it has the power to do something about it by requiring large retailers to provide adequate wages and health coverage so that it does not force a disproportionate number of employees to rely on public benefits.

I hate tax subsidies more than most people. But the items highlighted here are not "hidden" subsidies. This twists the definition of subsidy and turns the meaning of corporate welfare on its head. Perhaps we should ask why Wal-Mart is handicapped but other retailers are not.

Wal-Mart provides benefits to its community. Jobs, which residents are free to take (or reject). Or low cost goods, which might not be affordable elsewhere. Competition from Wal-Mart may reduce prices and improve other competing grocery stores.

In this post, the authors left out out the request to employ 75% of its labor force from DC. Well, I see why you left it out. (Because it's patently ridiculous)

In the Post article:
“This is not about picking on Wal-Mart,” said Marina Streznewski, coordinator of the DC Jobs Council, an alliance of nonprofits focused on job training. “It’s about doing what’s best for the residents of the District of Columbia.”

Indeed. Let free and fair competition decide what's best for DC residents. If Wal-Mart is so bad, I'm sure no one will apply for the jobs they offer. No one will purchase the goods the seek to sell.

by WRD on Apr 18, 2011 3:44 pm • linkreport

Using the law to mandate a higher price for consumers is essentially a hidden tax. Whether or not that's right or wrong is certainly up for debate, but the tax hidden in higher prices is then passed on to consumers regressively regardless of income.

Also, it's important to note that DC is an unusual case:

1. We have one of the lowest levels of unemployment of any metro area in the nation. This means that the market pressures that push up wages are among the highest in the nation.

2. DC already has a health insurance coverage rate of 93.8%, which is extraordinarily high for any state-level jurisdiction. Walmart could, however, drive down wages and push more employers to drop benefits, but to what degree is unclear in this area because of item 1. The normal complaint is that DC, unlike most American suburbs, is "under-retailed", in that we have fewer square feet of retail per capita. This is especially true in the areas where Walmart wants to locate. People assume Walmart is competing with an existing string of retailers, but in the neighborhoods they're considering moving, the retail options are already thin.

3. Calculating impact of Walmart on social services in DC is hard because many of the social service costs are shouldered by other jurisdictions. If half of the Walmart employees are P.G. residents and if many of Walmart employees are on Medicaid, the Medicaid costs accrue to Maryland, not DC. That's a cost largely to the Maryland taxpayer, even though DC reaps the increased sales, property, and corporate income (assuming combined reporting) tax revenue. This is impossible to do in LA, where the state of California and Federal government are the sole sources of Medicaid spending in the metro economies.

This isn't to say there shouldn't be a study. However, Walmart's opponents might want to consider that the results may not be as damning as they expect in part due to DC's unusual jurisdictional issues, existing health care rates, and labor market.

by Eric Fidler on Apr 18, 2011 3:45 pm • linkreport

In regards to Medicaid spending, this report assumes that people potentially employed by WalMart are not already enrolled in the system. It's far more likely that people getting jobs at Walmart are either already un/under-employed with few (if any) benefits.

by Adam L on Apr 18, 2011 4:02 pm • linkreport

Confirmed WalMart h8er here but what really gets my goat is that DC is subsidizing these damn WalMarts AND giving them some prime real estate to boot. Come on, a WalMart is the best DC can think of doing at a subway station? Do like Paris and build a La Defense where the high-rise folks can see how it's done right. DC has zero imagination.

Plus, why would anyone give up DC welfare to work for WalMart wages? More likely it's kids and retirees. Nice way to get both off the streets but it's no economic engine. And I've never seen a WalMart leave so it's a bad stop-gap development.

I admit I do like the WalMart grocery in Laurel but I don't think we're even getting that large a grocery.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 18, 2011 4:30 pm • linkreport

Or...

We could just thank our respective gods that Walmart has decided to move to some of the most underdeveloped crime infested neighbohoods (3 of the 4 dc locations) and spend hundreds of millions of dollars building stores that will then anchor decades of futher development.

Or...

We could yell joyful epithets to the skies that Walmart is bringing a few hundred unskilled jobs to a place that has some of the highest unemployment rates in the Country and a hughe population of uneducated and unskilled people who are currently receiving full rides thanks to District taxpayers.
You really have to ask yourself. What is better. Zero jobs, or jobs that while they may not provide the cadillac plans we all wish we had, provide stable jobs and income to a population currently without either.

Or...
We could be crazy with glee that Walmart is bringing ~28 million dollars of taxable revenue (2.8 million a year to the District treasury) every year and currently un quantified increases in property tax values on their proposed building sites and adjacent properties.

by freely on Apr 18, 2011 4:39 pm • linkreport

I am interested in substantiation of a posters claim that DC has given away land and subsidies in order to attract Wal-mart.

by spookiness on Apr 18, 2011 4:48 pm • linkreport

One 80,000SF Walmart produces less jobs than the combination of two recent ~10,000SF restaurants that opened up in DC in the last year (Hill Country/Buddha Bar).

I'm not convinced the Ward 6 Walmart is really a net positive on jobs or anything else really. But atleast the proposed urbanism isn't bad.

by Jason on Apr 18, 2011 4:58 pm • linkreport

@Jason,

So Hill Country and Buddah Bar employ 200 people combined? I find that hard to believe but I don't really know anything about them.

Walmart averages 1 employee per 400 sq/ft of store space, or approximately 200 employees for an 80K sq/ft store.

Do those resturants provide health coverage thats any better than Walmarts? I highly doubt it.

And the omnidirectional walmart hate goes on...

by freely on Apr 18, 2011 5:10 pm • linkreport

Re: Number of Employee--According to the Post article:

The list includes demands that the company pay all workers at its D.C. stores at least $12.50 per hour, hire D.C. residents for 75 percent of the 1,200 jobs it expects to create and finance transportation improvements, training programs for prospective workers, support for small businesses and other benefits.

Perhaps take that as a ceiling figure, but still...

As to subsidies: Wal-Mart is not asking for any:

The company has not requested subsidies and although two of the properties are on publicly owned land, none of the four requires major zoning changes or approval by the D.C. Council.

This assumes they're paying FMV for the city-owned properties.

by WRD on Apr 18, 2011 5:16 pm • linkreport

Wow... and out come the "free market" fundies willing to defend Walmart tooth and nail...

Look, the authors weren't saying NO to Walmart moving into DC. The point of the article (as I understood it) was that the local government HAS a responsibility to ensure that their doing business in the city doesn't end up costing taxpayers, local business owners, and its workers in the long-run.

It has been shown again and again that Walmart:

-Doesn't pay competitive wages to their employees, while posting windfall profits year after year. By not paying adequate wages, workers will likely be forced onto welfare.

-Doesn't offer health insurance to many of its employees by granting them "part-time" status. This will force many onto Medicaid.

-Busts unions at any cost and will use tactics of fear, intimidation, or worse to deter unionization.

In case it wasn't apparent - for disclosure purposes, I am completely against Walmart moving into DC. If someone can post the supposed "benefits" of Walmart coming into DC, please do so (besides projected tax revenues, which I'm sure they'll weasel out of paying).

by John M on Apr 18, 2011 5:17 pm • linkreport

@John M: It has been shown again and again that Walmart [d]oesn't pay competitive wages to their employees.

Again, this is mathematically impossible. If they weren't paying competitive wages, then no one would work there. The fact that workers accept the wages means they are, by definition, competitive.

I personally see the arguments for and against Walmart. But you do your argument no good at all when you lard it up with outright falsehoods and nonsense.

by David desJardins on Apr 18, 2011 5:20 pm • linkreport

I am perfectly happy to entertain discussions about any labor restrictions on Walmart, if and only if we're willing to place those same restrictions on every other employer in the city.

by tom veil on Apr 18, 2011 5:24 pm • linkreport

If Walmart were to provide a competitive wage and benefits package, it could mean real savings for the District.

If Walmart doesn't provide competitive benefits, then job seekers will simply go work for competitors. If there's anything Walmart knows how to do, it's being competitive, so I wouldn't worry about them providing uncompetitive wages and benefits.

As we debate the need to trim local and national spending, we need to ensure that no one gets off with a free ride, and that includes prosperous corporations that get backdoor subsidies by not providing competitive benefits for their employees

Sounds like the problem is government policies that provide backdoor subsidies to prosperous corporations. Why is DC doing that? It could be that the subsidies are an investment in developing under-served areas. It could be that the subsidies are a bad idea. Either way, the problem doesn't seem to be Walmart.

by Falls Church on Apr 18, 2011 6:01 pm • linkreport

"If Walmart doesn't provide competitive benefits, then job seekers will simply go work for competitors. If there's anything Walmart knows how to do, it's being competitive, so I wouldn't worry about them providing uncompetitive wages and benefits."

That's actually categorically untrue. This isn't a "zero unemployment" country. People often make the mistake of taking a job that doesn't pay them enough to live with the idea that they can scrape and save until they get something better.

Furthermore, making wages competitive are not how Walmart stays in the black so lay off the straw men.

by Reece on Apr 18, 2011 9:14 pm • linkreport

"If Walmart doesn't provide competitive benefits, then job seekers will simply go work for competitors."

The problem here though is that there probably aren't competitors out there for the job seekers to go to. So yes, you're correct that Wal-Mart is paying a 'competitive' wage just by paying anything. However, that doesn't mean that the government can't exert its unique position of power to exert concessions on behalf of the workforce ... like it does for ballparks and all the TIFs out there. As a society, we use the power of government to lower borrowing costs of private industry ... Why not also use this power to ensure living wages get paid? I agree whatever gets done needs to be done across the board (i.e. not just for Wal-mart) but it can and should be done. With the stroke of a pen, the Council could order ALL employers to provide their employees (regular and contractor)health benefits. It would be nice if Congress did this, but lacking the national leadership to get this accomplished, the Council could do this at the local level. And btw, while I'm all for free market economics, I recognize that we already don't have a free market health care system because everyone is smart enough to realize you can't allocate health care like it were an optional good ... It can't be based solely on ability to pay. Our recognizing that is part of our humanity. And as the authors of this piece rightfully pointed out, if the employers don't pay these costs, we the taxpayers do in the way of increase social services. And it's a lot more expensive (for us the taxpayers) to pay for the use of an emergency room by an indigent (who won't be seen by a private doctor because of the lack of insurance) than it is for us to all pay a couple cents more per dollar value of item.

by Lance on Apr 18, 2011 9:36 pm • linkreport

@Reece: People often make the mistake of taking a job that doesn't pay them enough to live with the idea that they can scrape and save until they get something better.

So what? If they successfully compete for employees in the labor market, then their wages are, by definition, competitive. Sheesh.

If you mean, "Walmart isn't paying people as much as I think they deserve," or, "Human dignity demands a higher wage than Walmart pays," or, "Those leeches at Walmart should give up some of their profits to help their employees," then, for God's sake, just say that. But when you use lame euphemisms like "not competitive" for wages that obviously are competitive, because the company offering those wages did in fact successfully compete, you just seem ridiculous.

by David desJardins on Apr 18, 2011 9:39 pm • linkreport

I think the unions have a point in the DC area.

Safeway and Giant have the highest paid salaried grocery workers in the country. Somehow they do it without prices noticeably higher than other stores. Those high wages support many area families comfortably with many benefits and provide a way up the ladder to struggling people. The ladder up is pretty short at WalMart. Giant and Safeway have also been very generous to the community.

I realize the DC WalMarts will be too small to really compete grocery-wise. And I realize the WalMart sales taxes would otherwise go elsewhere (like the WalMart on 295 and Annapolis Road just across the DC line). But ultimately this is another step down the road to the WalMartization of America and resulting lower and lower wages for everyone who works for wages.

The fact that at least two of the DC stores are going on DC land and one is at a subway station is dismaying. Any subway station is worthy of more than a WalMart in any urbanist view. And the location on New York Avenue is prime real estate at the entrance to downtown that is worthy of more than a WalMart.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 18, 2011 10:04 pm • linkreport

@Tom Coumaris: But ultimately this is another step down the road to the WalMartization of America and resulting lower and lower wages for everyone who works for wages.

You forgot to mention the lower and lower prices for everyone who works for wages.

If we give each worker a dollar by raising the price of what they buy a dollar, are they actually better off? Discuss.

by David desJardins on Apr 18, 2011 10:11 pm • linkreport

With the stroke of a pen, the Council could order ALL employers to provide their employees (regular and contractor)health benefits.

Unfortunately the economy doesn't work like that. Legislative dictates cannot raise wages any more than they can lower housing costs.

Price controls are just bad policy!

by WRD on Apr 18, 2011 10:44 pm • linkreport

@WRD,

I'd generally agree with you but there are times when public policy needs to override what the market would otherwise provide ... and public policy actually can. Look at the actions of the government recently with the 'too big to fail' banks. I agree it was necessary because the collapse of these banks would have meant general economic collapse because these bank essentially provide and define (and thereby 'own') the financial markets. This was a case where letting the market be 'free' would have resulted in a bad thing happening in the end. A similar argument can be made about government interfering to put a floor on wages/conditions/benefits.

by Lance on Apr 18, 2011 11:18 pm • linkreport

"With the stroke of a pen, the Council could order ALL employers to provide their employees (regular and contractor)health benefits."

Or they could more carefully consider the ramifications that such a pen stroke may have, for example, on someone who currently receives health benefits through a family member or some other means and now has an employer who might consider setting up shop in MD or VA instead.

by D on Apr 18, 2011 11:48 pm • linkreport

David d- WalMart uses most of the savings from low wages, etc. to increase profit, not lower prices. At least on groceries their quality is lower but their prices are only slightly lower. Especially when they get in a position of monopoly of a market.

And when a worker at Giant or Safeway loses a job making say $25/hr. plus generous benefits and has to take a job at WalMart making $10/hr. with no benefits, I sincerely doubt they appreciate now being able to get bananas a nickel a pound cheaper.

Plus that worker now has no health insurance and depends on other public assistance. We get our bananas a nickel cheaper but have to pay more in taxes.

So, in effect, my taxes go to subsidize WalMart's profit margin.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 19, 2011 12:08 am • linkreport

@Tom Coumaris: And when a worker at Giant or Safeway loses a job making say $25/hr. plus generous benefits and has to take a job at WalMart making $10/hr. with no benefits, I sincerely doubt they appreciate now being able to get bananas a nickel a pound cheaper.

Previously you were arguing that "the WalMartization of America" would lead to lower and lower wages for all workers. But every dollar that is saved in lower wages to workers is passed on to consumers in a dollar of savings on what they buy. Sure, it's worse for some, but better for others---on average it's exactly a wash.

by David desJardins on Apr 19, 2011 12:33 am • linkreport

It's maybe a wash in nominal dollar values, but a dollar to a low income wage earner in relative terms can mean a lot more than to someone of means. For the latter it can mean buying another trinket or gadget to play with once and then forget all about again, while for the former , the low wage earner it might mean the difference between eating or not.

by Lance on Apr 19, 2011 1:15 am • linkreport

@Lance: It's maybe a wash in nominal dollar values, but a dollar to a low income wage earner in relative terms can mean a lot more than to someone of means.

Maybe, but that's not what Tom said, he was concerned about all wages going down, that pretty much affects everyone.

Especially in the case of Walmart, I don't think too much of the benefit of price reductions there goes to the independently wealthy (although I admit I've shopped there occasionally). It's pretty much the same class of people who are paying as who are benefiting.

by David desJardins on Apr 19, 2011 1:47 am • linkreport

But every dollar that is saved in lower wages to workers is passed on to consumers in a dollar of savings on what they buy.

Unless you're looking at Walmart's balance sheets, you can't claim this. It's possible that Walmart pays the employees half of a competitor's wage, whereas a consumer might only need a price difference of 10-20% to prefer the Walmart. It's hard to know what the profit margins for Walmart and its competitors are, without specific information.

I don't think too much of the benefit of price reductions there goes to the independently wealthy.

This statement could also use a citation.

by Neil Flanagan on Apr 19, 2011 2:45 am • linkreport

This article is classic leftist nonsense citing a "study" by a couple of leftists at the far-left Berkeley School of Industrial Relations ( not Industrial Relation as the title page states)
if they can't even spell their own name correctly, what makes anyone think that the rest of the "report" is accurate?
DC government has done a great job of enriching Virginia and Maryland with DC residents' money as is evidenced by any Walmart or other "big box" retailer's parking lot in those states where you will find more DC license plates than any others The sales taxes lost to those states amounts to far more than any “subsidy” that DC workers might be eligible for if those stores were in DC. But now with Obamacare defining the "Cadillac" health plans of Giant and Safeway as sinful and therefore subject to punitive taxes, it would seem that the Walmart plans are closer to the ideal of the Federal government.

by jack on Apr 19, 2011 5:54 am • linkreport

@David desJardins

The sad fact is that most Wal-Marts are built in communities where there is no alternative workplace. They come in and shut down all local businesses, leaving no options for people in that area. So sure, they are "competitive" when the choices are Wal-Mart or nothing.

by adinaINdc on Apr 19, 2011 8:09 am • linkreport

@Neil Flanagan

"It's hard to know what the profit margins for Walmart and its competitors are, without specific information"

Umm..no its not. They are a publically traded company. See below.

Walmarts profit margins range from 2.5% to 5%, less than Targets. Yeah, whoa...those greedy mofo's...

Does Target provide the pancea of benefits and golden worker parachutes you think we should legistlate companies provide? No.

http://ycharts.com/companies/WMT/profit_margin

And adinaindc,

3 of the four locations where Walmart is planning to build has nothing, no local business, nor any existing options. They are commericial and economic wastelands, hence the value of a Walmart or any large anchor that will then draw additional development.

by freely on Apr 19, 2011 8:46 am • linkreport

David d- You said:

""But every dollar that is saved in lower wages to workers is passed on to consumers in a dollar of savings on what they buy.""

WalMart is not a co-op.

The wage savings go mostly to increased WalMart profits.

WalMart uses it's size to jawbone lower wholesale prices.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 19, 2011 8:51 am • linkreport

@Lance--

It's maybe a wash in nominal dollar values, but a dollar to a low income wage earner in relative terms can mean a lot more than to someone of means.

Then attack that problem directly! EITC attacks this problem directly and efficiently. Interfering with Wal-Mart indirectly and inefficiently attack the problems you highlighted.

The wage savings go mostly to increased WalMart profits.

You need to prove this, not just assert it. Such a contentious issue will never be settled by a single study, but Google Wal-Mart Effect on CPI. Independent studies (which I misplaced since I last had this debate) show consumer surplus due to Wal-Mart in the 10-50 Billion dollar range every year for the last thirty years! That's big savings!

God, I hate it when I sound like a Republican, but on this issue I will bite the bullet. The "dictate better wages" argument highlights the worst of left-wing bad habits (don't get upset, right-wingers have their moments, too, of course).

The idea that the government can order higher wages and benefits with minimal cost to the rest of us is decisively rejected by pretty much everybody who has ever studied the evidence here. Price and wage controls have been tried repeatedly and found wanting. Pick your economist of choice, whether it's Krugman/DeLong or Mankiw, or Sowell, or whoever. Nearly everybody rejects the government mandate approach. These are bad policies and the DC Council should decisively reject them!

by WRD on Apr 19, 2011 10:17 am • linkreport

Stupid me for not reading my full feed before commenting, but...

Top Obama economic staffer Jason Furman of the National Economic Council had a great paper on this very issue! It's called Wal-Mart: A Progressive Success Story. Key quote:

Attempts to limit the spread of Wal-Mart and similar “big box” stores do not just limit the benefits of lower prices to moderate-income consumers, they also limit the job opportunities that Wal-Mart and other retailers provide. More puzzling is that some progressives have described Medicaid, food stamps, the EITC, and public housing assistance as “corporate welfare.” The right response to Wal-Mart is not to scale back these programs but to expand them in order to fulfill the goal of making work pay. (Internal citation omitted)

So, DC Council and GGW editors: Don't listen to the siren song of Wal-Mart bashing! It isn't 2003 anymore!

by WRD on Apr 19, 2011 10:27 am • linkreport

Someone forgot to explain the velocity of money to Mr. desJardins. One dollar isn't always just one dollar, especially in the hands of a low-wage earner. Low-wage earner (a) pays low taxes; (b) spends entire dollar; and (c) spends that dollar on low-cost, low-profit margin necessities. Most of that dollar goes to other low-wage earners, who also (a), (b), and (c); rinse, repeat. One dollar ends up being a lot more valuable than just $1.

Compare that to giving that dollar in profit to a high-wage earner. More of that dollar goes to taxes (which can actually increase the velocity of money in this case because the government may hand the dollar out to low-wage earners or spend the dollar on products and services where low-wage earners are employed, but now we're getting too many variables involved). They're much more likely to save at least a portion of that dollar (and if the money is lent out from that savings, it goes to other high-wage earners, where even more of it is stripped from the money supply). And they buy more expensive, higher-profit items more frequently, again putting more of that money in the hands of other high-wage earners.

And that's without even recognizing that there are unique attributes to health INSURANCE spending, whereby one dollar spent typically equals many dollars saved.

by Ms. D on Apr 19, 2011 10:59 am • linkreport

Most of that dollar goes to other low-wage earners

I can't think of why this would be true. Especially if low wage earners buy more "low-cost, low-profit margin necessities," then wouldn't those purchases just be going to increase Wal-Mart's profits, under your theory?

Compare that to giving that dollar in profit to a high-wage earner. More of that dollar goes to taxes

No, because US income is taxed and savings are not.

They're much more likely to save at least a portion of that dollar (and if the money is lent out from that savings, it goes to other high-wage earners, where even more of it is stripped from the money supply)

Also not true. Putting money in a bank doesn't remove that money from the money supply. It gives it to a bank, which then lends the money. Which actually increases the money supply...

Next, the alternative to no Wal-Mart is, I believe in this case, an abandoned gasoline station. Its multiplier is zero.

Ms. D., you're confusing macro and micro economics.

This anti-Wal-Mart argument is also paternalistic. Those poor, poor people! They can't make decisions for themselves so us rich people and the government should tell them what wages to accept and where to shop.

by WRD on Apr 19, 2011 11:11 am • linkreport

I wasn't going to jump in here, but I have to correct something:

@WRD, your response to each of Ms. D's points is completely and totally wrong.

Most of that dollar goes to other low-wage earners
This really should be "more," but the reason is because low-wage earners use a larger percentage of their dollars to buy necessary goods, which are more likely to be bought at stores employing other low-wage earners. Sure some of it goes to Wal-Mart's profits but that doesn't counter the argument. Compare that to a high-wage earner who is more likely to spend that dollar on a luxury good.

Compare that to giving that dollar in profit to a high-wage earner. More of that dollar goes to taxes

You said this is untrue because savings aren't taxed. If you give someone a dollar through earnings this is income, which is taxed. And each extra dollar is taxed at the highest marginal rate a person pays - which is higher for a high-earner.

They're [high earners] much more likely to save at least a portion of that dollar (and if the money is lent out from that savings, it goes to other high-wage earners, where even more of it is stripped from the money supply)

I agree that "stripped" from the money supply is probably the wrong economic terminology here, but if you're trying to argue that saving money in a bank to then be loaned out is just as economically productive as spending that money, you're completely wrong.

There are plenty of studies out there that show that directing stimulus to lower earners provides better economic benefits than directing to high earners - specifically because they spend that money. In the case of some types of benefits like food stamps, those can provide economic benefits of a higher dollar value than their cost.

http://money.cnn.com/2008/01/29/news/economy/stimulus_analysis/index.htm

Seriously, this is like econ 101. Give a poor person a dollar and they pump it back into the economy. Give a rich person a dollar and they stick it in their bank account.

by MLD on Apr 19, 2011 11:33 am • linkreport

[M]ore likely to be bought at stores employing other low-wage earners.

True. But does that mean that money spent at that store automatically goes to the low-wage employees employed there? No.

Compare that to a high-wage earner who is more likely to spend that dollar on a luxury good.

This is incorrectly comparing the good itself with the economic incidence of the purchase. The good purchased can be an inferior good but there is no reason to assume either low-wage employees capture the incidence of the purchase or that the manufacturer is low-income. In other words, who benefits when people buy at Wal-Mart? Wal-Mart's shareholders or Wal-Mart's employees? Surly they share, but Wal-Mart's shareholders almost certainly capture nearly all of the benefit.

You said this is untrue because savings aren't taxed. If you give someone a dollar through earnings this is income, which is taxed. And each extra dollar is taxed at the highest marginal rate a person pays - which is higher for a high-earner.

Glad you brought this up. We're not talking about a situation where rich guy and poor guy work hard, earn a marginal dollar, and decide where to spend it. We're talking about post-tax dollars spend on consumer goods. The after-tax "surplus" of not spending one dollar (or saving one dollar) is equal no matter what your tax rate is precisely because we are only talking about post-tax dollars.

There are plenty of studies out there that show that directing stimulus to lower earners provides better economic benefits than directing to high earners

None of these studies on fiscal multipliers are relevant here because the government is not financing the purchases. Food stamps have a high multiplier because they're basically "free money" for poor people, in an economic sense. But the key is that government is financing the purchases in that case. That is not happening here.

Seriously, this is like econ 101. Give a poor person a dollar and they pump it back into the economy. Give a rich person a dollar and they stick it in their bank account.

Right. But we're not giving ANYBODY anything! Again, this is confusing government stimulus, a macroeconomic concept, with consumer/producer surplus, a microeconomic concept.

by WRD on Apr 19, 2011 12:10 pm • linkreport

Wow, the reflexive "free market" ideological posturing goes on unabated....
For everyone's information:
1. Yes, regulation could lead to higher costs for businesses, which in turn lead to higher costs for consumers. So what? You can call that a "hidden tax" if you want. I'd flip it and say that lack of regulation is a "hidden subsidy". If a company's business model imposes uncompensated costs on someone else - through adverse health, environmental, and social impacts, for example - then it is only fair that they be regulated and forced to pick up the tab. By your logic, we should be eliminating workplace safety rules, emission control rules, child labor rules, etc. etc. Welcome to the 18th century.
2. No, laws mandating that private employers above a certain size have to pay a living wage that is higher than the minimum wage, or that retailers above a certain size cannot set up shop without a comprehensive impact analysis (as in Los Angeles), do not single out Walmart. They regulate a number of companies. (Depending on the legislative language, they could impact a very large number of companies.) The *political* impetus for people to demand these kinds of laws may be the potential entry of Walmart, but that does not mean the laws themselves would necessarily single out Walmart. Just as an example, Mendelsohn's proposed retail living wage bill would impact Wamart, Target, Home Depot, etc. And not only their proposed locations but also their existing locations.

by Ward 4 resident on Apr 19, 2011 12:39 pm • linkreport

Could someone explain how this is different than Target coming to Columbia Heights? Their wages are equally as low and the only reason their prices seem a tad higher is that their products are slightly higher quality.

by Falls Church on Apr 19, 2011 1:03 pm • linkreport

So, as I understand the "progressive" theory here, if we impose a dollar of extra costs on retailers, your theory is that this increases the prices that consumers pay by less than a dollar, right?

It sounds like a great way to fund the entire government. Impose billions of taxes on retailers. Give some of the money to consumers, to cover the higher costs. Then we can just keep the rest! Everyone's happy!

by David desJardins on Apr 19, 2011 1:27 pm • linkreport

http://www.scribd.com/doc/33655771

Research context and formulate cohesive understandings. If you don't have the time, don't bother commenting about a serious topic.

Don't feed the egos of desJardins, et al. If you are able to inform a thoughtful conversation, do so. But if there is no thoughtful conversation to be had, do not engage.

by Mish on Apr 19, 2011 4:04 pm • linkreport

I do think that most of what occurs in economics departments is of no value in understanding the real world. Economics as a research discipline has largely become the detailed study of the consequences of axioms and propositions that are wrong, are known to be wrong, and even the people using them admit to be wrong. It is true that the man on the street isn't qualified to comment on the research that economists do. But the man on the street also doesn't need to, most of that research is about a world entirely different from actual reality and has no use in understanding reality.

It is not surprising that the people who have self-selected to
pursue PhD's in economics and research careers in economics have a myopic view of the worthlessness of most of what they do. But I don't understand how Paul Krugman (whom I rarely agree with) can be both a Nobel Prize winner for his economics research, and the patron saint of those who deride economics research. Doesn't it seem that someone who won the world's top prize for his research is a better judge of the value of that research than a self-proclaimed "rank-and-file PhD economist"?

by David desJardins on Apr 19, 2011 4:14 pm • linkreport

Research context and formulate cohesive understandings. If you don't have the time, don't bother commenting about a serious topic.

Don't feed the egos of desJardins, et al. If you are able to inform a thoughtful conversation, do so. But if there is no thoughtful conversation to be had, do not engage.

And absent that, just order Wal-Mart to cure poverty?

by WRD on Apr 19, 2011 4:50 pm • linkreport

I'm no fan of Wal-Mart. I'm not going to shop at them if they come to DC. I think the Department of Labor should have inspectors camped out in Wal-Marts until they grasp the basics of labor law in America.

I'd be strongly opposed to DC handing out any subsidies or other breaks, but they aren't. Some of the land is public land, but I've seen no competing proposals to do *anything* with the land.

I haven't seen any evidence that the pay or benefits is worse than say Target. Or many, many small businesses. If its a moral imperative than why are we ok with low wages and no benefits from small employers?

If you don't like Wal-Mart don't shop there. However, it's pretty arrogant to say that DC should only have things you like in it.

by Kate on Apr 19, 2011 8:13 pm • linkreport

Thanks for the citation, freely. You forget these things when it's late.

by Neil Flanagan on Apr 19, 2011 8:48 pm • linkreport

WM is the biggest fish and the biggest player in driving down retail wages and benefits. If they raised their wages & benefits to the same level as Costco, the effect on their prices would be negligible (this is well documented). They no longer lobby against raising the minimum wage because they know people at that wage level are the backbone of their business. But they won't raise wages to a decent level unless forced to. do so. they pay their drivers well, because Walton was afraid of the teamsters.

These are high turnover jobs and DC is a relatively small place that isn't entirely bereft of retail or workplaces. In other words, all this talk of multipliers and vlaue added misses the point. This isn't Detroit (which is incredible in person) or even Baltimore. Employers with better wages like Giant have come back to the city and other than the Deanwood store, none of the areas can be considered retail deserts. NY Ave will have Target and Costco and other retail is already appearing in the Capitol corridor. As for the merchandise, we have dollar stores which sell stuff much like the low end of WM's range and we have stores that sell stuff at the upper end. WM is far less essential than its defenders make it out to be.

In virtually every other jurisdiction, WM has come in with its hand out in one way or another---signing employees up for entitlements, looking for tax breaks on bonds or tax givebacks. they aren't the only ones, but they are bloody consistent and this is well documented. WM's business model is largely exhausted which is why they are willing to go into high cost urban neighborhoods--they've saturated the sprawlburgs and small towns, and their profits come from check cashing and wire transfers (perhaps their real targets in DC). They need the added volume and they need the non-retail revenue. they should be made to pay for those rather than conning DC and getting handouts or being allowed to make vague promises. BTW, Kwame Brown has worked for them and they have given to his campaign, so people need to make sure that the fix isn't already in for WM.

BTW the to the American Prospect, neglects several other articles in the same issue that recap the case against WM.

by Rich on Apr 19, 2011 9:26 pm • linkreport

@Neil Flanagan: I'm wasn't writing specifically about the locations here. I was writing about Wal-Mart's track record of taking over small, isolated markets in rural areas and this notion that they pay a competitive wage because people accept it. My point was that just because people accept it doesn't mean its competitive.

by adinaINdc on Apr 20, 2011 7:53 am • linkreport

@adinaINdc: I'm wasn't writing specifically about the locations here.

So, on the actual point we were discussing, whether Walmart's wages and benefits in DC will be "competitive", you actually agree that they will, of necessity, be competitive? You're just saying that in some other place, at some other time, Walmart might have been able to monopolize the labor market? I can agree with that, but it still means that the OP's claim that Walmart will pay less-than-competitive wages and benefits in DC is just nonsense. No one seriously proposes that Walmart is going to monopolize the entire DC labor market, right?

by David desJardins on Apr 20, 2011 1:56 pm • linkreport

Just to add--they're able to monopolize local labor markets because they're also able to draw away all the customers from the surrounding businesses.

They can only do that if customers chose to shop at Wal-Mart.

by WRD on Apr 20, 2011 2:30 pm • linkreport

You don't need to be a monopsony to offer uncompetitive wages.

by Mish on Apr 20, 2011 3:44 pm • linkreport

"One 80,000SF Walmart produces less jobs than the combination of two recent ~10,000SF restaurants that opened up in DC in the last year (Hill Country/Buddha Bar). "

When Hill Country or Buddha Bar are opening up shop in the crappy neighborhoods that Walmart is, you'll have a point.

Until then, not so much.

by Hillman on Apr 20, 2011 5:02 pm • linkreport

Are we currently requiring all retail stores in DC to provide health insurance and all these other benefits?

No?

So it's cool to pick favorites using the force of government policy, by requiring some businesses to provide health insurance and host of other amenities, but not requiring it of their competitors?

Good to know.

Where do I go to sign up to get my business special treatment?

by Hillman on Apr 20, 2011 5:06 pm • linkreport

"Crappy neighborhood" is a comment I've been hearing for years- I'm sure it was applied to Georgetown in 1950 and I know it was applied to my neighborhood of lower 14th in 1980. We were always assaulted by the "something is better than nothing" crowd to take whatever wanted to come in. We held out. And as a result we've gotten much better development.

Luckily WM wasn't making it's urban push (with lobbyists like Wilmont) then or Georgetown and my neighborhood could be WM strips.

Finances aside, it's ironic to see people who claim to be urbanists defending using what are actually prime parcels, some on a subway, some DC owned, to build WalMarts which are the most suburban thing there is. Don't we have more imagination than this?

DC is the capital of the world's most powerful country. We're full of highly educated people including many urban planners and architects. We can do better than suburban strips. We just need to think like a world class city and make it happen.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 20, 2011 6:31 pm • linkreport

@Mish: You don't need to be a monopsony to offer uncompetitive wages.

You can offer anything, but if you don't have monopoly power, and you don't offer competitive wages, then you won't hire anyone!

"Competitive" means "successfully competing". If Walmart finds people to accept their offer, in competition with other alternatives in the labor market, then their offer must, by definition, have been competitive.

There are only three possibilities:

1. Walmart has monopolistic power (obviously not true in the DC labor market).
2. No one will work in Walmart stores (very unlikely that they will build them and leave them unstaffed!).
3. The wage they offer is proven to be competitive, by successfully competing.

That's it. There's no other possibility.

I think most of the people who are complaining about "non-competitive wages and benefits" really mean "not as high as they would like". Fine, that is a valid opinion, but then just say that. Don't hide behind this euphemism that Walmart's wages and benefits aren't competitive, when they obviously are, as proven by the fact that they successfully compete with them.

by David desJardins on Apr 20, 2011 7:39 pm • linkreport

@Tom Coumaris: Finances aside, it's ironic to see people who claim to be urbanists defending using what are actually prime parcels, some on a subway, some DC owned, to build WalMarts which are the most suburban thing there is.

Walmarts aren't suburban at all. They are just stores. Whether they are urban or suburban or rural depends on where you put them and how you construct them.

We can do better than suburban strips.

Fine, then let's do better than suburban strips. This literally has nothing at all to do with whether Walmart or some other company operates the stores in the better-than-suburban-strip environment that you create.

by David desJardins on Apr 20, 2011 7:41 pm • linkreport

this entire thread started after a fraudulent "study" funded by a socialist/Marxist group was posted on here using completely discredited figures about the impact of Walmart on existing rip-off stores. Walmart has been sucessful for decades in lowering prices for the poorest members of the country. A quick scan of the parking lots of any Walmart around DC will show a huge number of DC license plates of DC residents who donate millions of dollars in sales taxes to Maryland and Virginia.
Walmart reached an agreement with the UFCW many years ago where the union would stop trying to organize Walmart stores and their "corporate campaign" if Walmart let the union and the companies they control like Giant or Safeway continue to pay over-market wages and benefits which poor DC residents would be forced to pay.
When the union decided to declare war on Walmart and violate their "stand-off" with Walmart, the company decided to develop under-utilized property and the union's PR machine went into full bore, as evidenced by the "study" posted on this site.

by jack on Apr 20, 2011 10:27 pm • linkreport

There is no sales tax on groceries in DC.

WaPo says 50% of these stores are to be groceries.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 20, 2011 11:37 pm • linkreport

and a lot of taxpayers (conservative, liberal, whatever) do not like paying the medicaid, the food stamps, and the public housing for WalMart's employees when other similar companies somehow manage to pay their employees enough so that they pay for their own food, housing, and medical care.

If it's socialism you fear jack, WalMartization of wages is the fastest road to it as competitors will eventually have to adopt the same wage scale and their workers too will be on the public dole.

If WalMart can do this scheme "by right" it's one thing. But when public property or even zoning changes are required there's no reason to facilitate it.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 21, 2011 12:46 am • linkreport

Wal-Mart debates are always whac-a-mole games. The complaints about Wal-Mart keep shifting.

a lot of taxpayers (conservative, liberal, whatever) do not like paying the medicaid, the food stamps, and the public housing for WalMart's employees when other similar companies somehow manage to pay their employees enough so that they pay for their own food, housing, and medical care.

First, I don't like paying ANY taxes. Nobody does. But we put up with it. It's totally inconsistent to believe in these programs but complain about funding them based on the theory that Wal-Mart employees might benefit from them.

As Furman put it, "The right response to Wal-Mart is not to scale back these programs but to expand them in order to fulfill the goal of making work pay."

Urbanists undermine their own cause when they champion government restrictions on Wal-Mart. Equally valid arguments can--and often are!--made to justify anti-density zoning, minimum parking requirements, and oppose development. They are no more valid here than they are in the case of density regulation.

by WRD on Apr 21, 2011 10:38 am • linkreport

Jack,

What the hell are you going off about?

by Mish on Apr 21, 2011 10:51 am • linkreport

I doubt anyone is still reading this, but from the Washington Business Journal:

Walmart foes on Thursday released a massive list of demands they expect the world's largest retailer to accept, in a legally binding contract, before locating in the District. The stipulations run the gamut from a living wage ($12.50 an hour) to transit benefits ($50 per employee per month) to parking minimums (up to 2.5 free or low-cost spaces per 1,000 square feet of building space). (bold emphasis added)

Someone tell me why does Greater Greater Washington support such unreasonable demands!?

by WRD on Apr 22, 2011 12:09 pm • linkreport

WRD: These items are also on the list:
  • Provide $50 a month in public transportation subsidy to every employee.
  • Provide free shuttle transportation to and from the nearest Metro station to each D.C. store every 10 minutes.
  • Commit to traffic alleviation studies.
  • Provide secure, accessible bicycle parking, car sharing and bike sharing for workers and shoppers.

by David Alpert on Apr 22, 2011 12:14 pm • linkreport

@WRD: Someone tell me why does Greater Greater Washington support such unreasonable demands!?

You didn't even get to the good stuff!

* Not ask job applicants about previous criminal convictions. [Even those who stole from their employers?]

* Employ no less than two off-duty D.C. police officers on its premises at all times. [Maybe this is to protect shoppers from the employees hired under the above policy??]

by David desJardins on Apr 22, 2011 12:15 pm • linkreport

@ David Alpert:

I did link to the article and the sentence I quoted made clear there were more "conditions." I apologize if I was in any way misleading.

by WRD on Apr 22, 2011 12:18 pm • linkreport

@WRD: I apologize if I was in any way misleading.

You were certainly misleading in your (humorous?) assertion that GGW endorsed everything in the "list of demands". GGW published a guest article arguing one particular topic. GGW didn't even endorse this one posting, much less endorse an unlimited list of demands.

But I appreciate the link because it gave me a good laugh.

by David desJardins on Apr 22, 2011 12:24 pm • linkreport

You were certainly misleading in your (humorous?) assertion that GGW endorsed everything in the "list of demands". GGW published a guest article arguing one particular topic. GGW didn't even endorse this one posting, much less endorse an unlimited list of demands.

Hmm...I don't mean to imply GGW endorsed all the claims on the list.

However they did chose to publish a post authored by (some of) the same people who circulated the whole list. The two authors are Co-Chairs Living Wages Healthy Communities Campaign, the same group that wrote the entire Wal-Mart letter.

At the very least, I don't think it's wrong to bring up other demands from the LWHCC letter. I do find it somewhat curious that this post focused--somewhat poorly in my opinion--on one aspect of the debate. In my opinion, it's an open question as to why the authors chose to make unreasonable demands in their letter but ignore them in their post here.

Many arguments used to oppose Wal-Mart are often used to oppose development projects that get full-throated approval on this website.

Regardless, I feel there was a kind of "intellectual laziness" on this issue.

by WRD on Apr 22, 2011 4:42 pm • linkreport

@WRD: In my opinion, it's an open question as to why the authors chose to make unreasonable demands in their letter but ignore them in their post here.

Huh? This is just ridiculous. If people believe several different things, and they choose to write an opinion column about only one of them, what's wrong with that?

I think the wealthy should pay higher taxes, and I think we should invest more in renewable energy. If I write an op-ed against tax cuts for the rich, am I being disingenous if I don't also include every other thing that I believe? Come on.

by David desJardins on Apr 22, 2011 5:03 pm • linkreport

If people believe several different things, and they choose to write an opinion column about only one of them, what's wrong with that?

It depends how closely the issues are connected, of course. In this case, the authors wrote two things: (1) a letter to Wal-Mart with a host of demands and (2) an op-ed highlighting and expanding on one subset of those demands. They incorporated their lobbying group by reference in the op-ed.

I am not saying they were disingenuous in omitting other elements of their demands in the op-ed. They are, after all, allowed (encouraged!) to emphasize their strongest arguments and deemphasize their weakest. I am trying to "wonder aloud" why they omitted direct reference to their other demands. I suspect it's because it hurts their credibility, but that's uniformed speculation.

I am arguing that, by linking themselves to the Living Wages Healthy Communities Campaign, they opened the door to Wal-Mart-related positions held by their group.

You can skin the cat another way--The title of this whole debate is "How Much Will WalMart Cost DC Taxpayers." I believe it is fair to look at that question in light of the author's positions on Wal-Mart on the record in other locations.

Here, they're arguing (quite falsely) Wal-Mart's employment and compensation practices will cost DC taxpayers money. Therefore, they say, DC taxpayers should subject Wal-Mart to higher scrutiny.

But in their letter, they argue for several things that will themselves increase the cost of Wal-Mart to DC taxpayers.

It's not unreasonable to question why: (1) compensation practices that increase entitlement expenditures for DC taxpayers should be banned but also (2) Wal-Mart should increase cost to District residents by complying with a more onerous minimum parking requirement.

But suffice it to say I believe it's fair to read their health compensation argument in light of their own group's arguments as they relate to Wal-Mart.

by WRD on Apr 22, 2011 5:44 pm • linkreport

@WRD: But suffice it to say I believe it's fair to read their health compensation argument in light of their own group's arguments as they relate to Wal-Mart.

Well, judging whether this argument is sound or not, based on the other things they believe and assert, is called Argumentum ad hominem. For some 2000 years, it's been considered a fallacy. But you are always free to try to resurrect it.

by David desJardins on Apr 22, 2011 5:50 pm • linkreport

I don't believe this was an ad hominem attack. I have consistently refrained from attacking the authors personally. I have focused on what their arguments are as they related to opposition to Wal-Mart. It is fair to link the author's positions on Wal-Mart here with their positions on Wal-Mart in other public fora. It is equally fair to question whether this op-ed and the group's Wal-Mart letter are consistent or contradictory.

by WRD on Apr 22, 2011 6:53 pm • linkreport

to clip from Wikipedia:
" ad hominem (Latin: "to the man"), short for argumentum ad hominem, is an attempt to link the validity of a premise to a characteristic or belief of the person advocating the premise. The ad hominem is normally described as a logical fallacy, but it is not always fallacious; in some instances, questions of personal conduct, character, motives, etc., are legitimate and relevant to the issue." It is obvious that the authors of the letter and their employers and sponsors, labor unions, are raising all kinds of ridiculous issues to confuse the naive who mindlessly support higher grocery prices. These are the same people who terrorized Wisconsin using fascist tactics to support obscene pay and benefit packages for teachers and other "public servants" who are bankrupting the country.

by jack on Apr 22, 2011 7:45 pm • linkreport

@WRD: I don't believe this was an ad hominem attack. I have consistently refrained from attacking the authors personally.

Argumentum ad hominem has nothing to do with personal attacks. It's simply the logical fallacy of trying to refute an argument based on who is saying it, rather than what is said. Read the link if you're still confused.

by David desJardins on Apr 22, 2011 8:33 pm • linkreport

Not confused. Just don't think what I did what qualified as ad hominem attacks. I am attempting to juxtapose the author's arguments about Wal-Mart here with their arguments elsewhere.

by WRD on Apr 22, 2011 8:57 pm • linkreport

@WRD: Not confused. Just don't think what I did what qualified as ad hominem attacks. I am attempting to juxtapose the author's arguments about Wal-Mart here with their arguments elsewhere.

You are confused, and this is exactly what the words "ad hominem" mean. The arguments are either valid or invalid; what the authors may have said somewhere else is completely irrelevant to that question.

by David desJardins on Apr 22, 2011 9:04 pm • linkreport

Then I just disagree. These are not all factual issues, they center around true uncertainty about the future.

But still, it isn't wrong to ask why there is inconsistency between the arguments here versus elsewhere. Further, in several other comments I directly addressed the claims here. My goal here is to encourage the authors to hopefully continue their line of thought.

I think I haven't been successful

by WRD on Apr 22, 2011 9:27 pm • linkreport

Arguments are not "valid or invalid" they are many things including opinion, fact, fiction, lies, obfuscation, clarification, and a combination of some of the above or more.
When someone offers an opinion, and offers a selective collection of issues, which may or may not be factual, as the union authors of the laughable proposals for Walmart to cleanse its soul it leaves them open to criticism because they are not making an argument, they are propagandists who don't care about the facts. Walmart needs to supply free parking to atone its fictional sins while a Safeway in Dupont offers none, or even a bathroom for those in need, even as Safeway gouges the poor with overpriced necessities of life forcing them to eat dog food.

by jack on Apr 22, 2011 9:27 pm • linkreport

The team that is helping Gary Cha of YES Gourmet, and many DC retailers, to fight Walmart is actually coming to YES 12th NE and Quicy St, NE on Saturday, April 23 , tommorrow at 11:00AM. I gave them a statement during the week and they have another meeting . If you can connect with them it would be good.Four Walmarts is atrocious. Why not numerous other higher quality retail opportunities. Why damage the DC retail people who provide us services, collect DC taxes for years, then let the hacks in the City Council crap all over them and turn DC into a suburb.. We have enough garbage all over the streets of the nations capitol, a pig stye, so we don't need a huge retailer marketing more garbage. When Whole Foods came in to Tenley and Friendship Heights they adapted existing buildings, but Walmart will build four new box stores and parking. I know the Greater Greater Washington Crowd loves Asphalt.
When we begin to recognize the limits of resources and destructiveness of unlimited construction, we can have an intelligent discussion. David Alpert supports any development anywhere, especially when it deprives Brookland , or other less priveledged neighborhoods of our parks. Stop the destruction of McMillan, the Brookland Green at the Metro. Defeat the Hacks in City Council, STOP VINCENT ORANGE AT AL COSTS!!!!
Contact to fight the WALMART GARBAGE
Mid-Atlantic Regional Food Industry
Joint Labor Management Fund
Torrey Jacobsen, Jr.
Exe. Director
301- 577-4888 jlmfund2@gmail.com

by Daniel in Brookland on Apr 22, 2011 11:57 pm • linkreport

Walmart's a dive. I'd rather have an empty lot than a ghetto retail store.

by Walter on Apr 23, 2011 5:18 pm • linkreport

Add a Comment

Name: (will be displayed on the comments page)

Email: (must be your real address, but will be kept private)

URL: (optional, will be displayed)

Your comment:

By submitting a comment, you agree to abide by our comment policy.
Notify me of followup comments via email. (You can also subscribe without commenting.)
Save my name and email address on this computer so I don't have to enter it next time, and so I don't have to answer the anti-spam map challenge question in the future.

or