For Globe's Kuttner, 'Going After Wal-Mart' Just a Start

August 19th, 2006 1:02 PM

Did the MSM get together and decide this would be Bad Economics Saturday?  As I noted here, the New York Times emitted an editorial this morning grimly imagining a downturn despite the good economic news.

Over at the Boston Globe, Robert Kuttner has chipped in with More than Wal-Mart.  While applauding the efforts of Dem politicians to go after the country's biggest retailer, Kuttner claims that isn't nearly enough.  He wants much more government regulation of the economy, and higher taxes for the 'rich'.

Annotated excerpts:

"[Wal-Mart's] wages and health benefits are dismal.  Wal-Mart batters down wages."

If that's true, why do people literally line up by the thousands for Wal-Mart jobs?  Sounds to the contrary that Wal-Mart is offering above-market compensation.

"[Wal-Mart] plays foreign suppliers against one another to demand the lowest possible wholesale price."

Don't tell me Wal-Mart actually tries to get the lowest possible price from suppliers?  Diabolical!

"Wal-Mart . . . is symbol and substance of an America where the middle-class dream is vanishing."

Guess that's why no one wants to emigrate to America. 

"The America of a generation ago had multiple institutions for enabling worker incomes to rise with their rising productivity. More industries were regulated."

Better living through government regulation. Prohibit poverty!

"[A generation ago] taxation was progressive, and ordinary workers paid much lower rates."

What? Thanks to Bush tax reforms, millions of working Americans pay no federal income taxes at all!

"I hope Wal-Mart does become a poster child for all that's out of whack with the US economy. But we need to go after a great deal more than Wal-Mart if politicians are serious about restoring the dream of an America where people who work hard and play by the rules can aspire to be middle class."

The American dream is still alive and being achieved by millions of Americans and people aspiring to be Americans.  The surest way to kill the American dream is to adopt the very 'solutions' Kuttner advocates: more government regulation and higher taxes.

Finkelstein lives in the liberal haven of Ithaca, NY, where he hosts 'Right Angle,' the award-winning public-access TV show. Contact him at