DOWN WITH POWER
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L. Neil Smith’s THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 1,053, January 12, 2020

Try not to faint on the coffee table, Mrs. Grundy.

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Workplace Economics
by Sean Gangol
RGangol@sbcglobal.net

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Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise

Not too long ago, I saw an episode of Tucker Carlson, where he berated Amazon for not paying their workers a decent wage. Those who aren’t regular watchers of Tucker Carlson will say that the man has gone far left. The truth is that Carlson is calling out Amazon because the left seems to be giving this company a free pass for the way they treat their workers since its CEO, Jeff Bezos, that happens to support the same progressive policies that they believe in. He says that if a company like Wal-Mart can be called out for underpaying its workers than Amazon certainly deserves the same treatment. I certainly agree that one of the many hypocrisies of the left is that they claim that they want to protect consumers and workers from companies that have questionable business practices, yet they always give so-called progressive companies, such as Google, Facebook and even Apple a free pass. While I am a believer in free markets, I am not naïve enough to believe that every company is going to be on the up and up. If you feel that a company is acting immoral, then it is your right and duty to call that company out. Though I will say that I wish Tucker would have been more specific about Amazon’s wage system instead of giving us antidotal accounts about how certain workers have to sleep in their cars due to their low wages.

Many leftists on the other hand seem to have a hard time understanding how the workplace functions. Some of it seems to stem from a complete and utter ignorance of the basic economics of how wages are made. I remember a time when the most popular company for the left to trash was Wal-Mart. I remember arguing with these clueless idiots on the old My Space forum who tried to tell me that Wal-Mart workers were being payed slave wages. I could tell that these people had never worked in retail or the service industry in their entire lives. At that point I had not only been a former Wal-Mart employee, but I had nearly ten years of experience working in retail and grocery. Keep in mind that when I left Wal-Mart, I had my own issues with the company, though most of them stemmed from my problems with the local management as opposed to its so-called slave wages. Yet certain people always complained about their low wages and the way they seemed to put the Mom and Pop shops out of business.

I will start with the part about Wal-Mart forcing small businesses to close. As unfortunate as it is, it just happens to be an economic reality that larger businesses sometimes squash the smaller ones. This is a concept that isn’t particularly unique to Wal-Mart. I am pretty sure there were many Mom and Pop hardware stores that were put out of business, when Home Depot and Lowes came about. The same could also be said of the now defunct Blockbuster chain putting the independent video stores out of business, yet I don’t recall seeing the same amount of hate from the left when that company was in its prime.

As for the part about the pay being on par with slave wages that is so ridiculous on so many levels. As I have said before, I knew from my own experience that retail usually didn’t pay that much, unless you make your way up the management chain. Also, when I worked at Wal-Mart, I was making seven dollars an hour when the minimum wage was set at 5.15. I was also given a raise twice during the year that I was employed there, so I was actually making eight dollars an hour before leaving the company. When I pointed this out on the My Space forum, somebody brought up Costco having wages that started at ten dollars an hour. What people don’t realize is that at the time Costco’s salary was actually the exception and not the rule in retail. They also don’t seem to understand that salaries are determined by several factors. One of them being the amount of overhead that eats into the company’s profits or even the number people they have on the payroll. One of the reasons why Costco was able to pay their workers considerably more than Wal-Mart is that there are fewer employees on their payroll.

Another concept that Wal-Mart haters fail to understand is that there are also jobs in retail that pay even less. When I was a teenager with little work experience, I was employed briefly at a Blockbuster where I made 5.15 an hour and had a much a greater workload than I had at Wal-Mart. The reason why leftists aren’t able to wrap their heads around this is because they wouldn’t be caught dead stocking shelves or working behind a register, since they think that they are way too good to work in such menial jobs. I remember watching an episode of Hannity during The Occupy Wal-Street protests that occurred a few years back. Two of the Occupy leaders were asked by Sean Hannity why they didn’t just get jobs in the service industry where there was an actual demand for labor instead of sitting around and waiting for the government to create jobs out of thin air. Both of them said that they considered that kind of work demeaning. I remember when I saw that episode, I was working two part-time jobs in the very industry that these two jokers thought they were too good to work in. It made me want to throw a shoe through the TV. That shouldn’t come as a surprise considering these guys were probably sitting in their cozy hotel rooms, drinking coffee from Starbucks, while the real protestors were camped out on Main Street.

Of course, many will ask, “What about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? She worked as a bar tender before she was elected to Congress.” As much contempt as I have for everything Cortez stands for, I will say that she at least knows what it is like to work an honest job. Unfortunately, it seems for every one Cortez, we have leftists such as Bernie Sanders who was actually booted out of a hippie commune because his brethren refused to let him sit around and write bad poetry all day, while they did all the work. It should come as no surprise that Sanders didn’t earn an actual paycheck, until he turned forty. For that matter, if you take a look at their icon, Karl Marx, that guy not only refused honest work to earn an income (except for his short-lived stints as a journalist} but his family was forced to live in poverty and squalor, while he worked on his anti-capitalist writings. It’s no wonder that only three out of seven of his legitimate children lived to see adulthood. That’s the problem with the left. Most of them believe that it is beneath them to do honest work, while still believing that they are the best suited to speak for the working man.

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