Wanna Bet Wal-Mart Gets Paid?

For their absurd "right choice" of allowing an EBT shopping spree in a couple of Louisiana stores?
Perhaps they won't, but my money's on a payday. Of course, in typical conservative fashion, comments about this story focus on all the "leeches" that flooded the aisles because Wal-Mart decided to literally give away the store.
Those of us who look a bit deeper, and for whom the insidious nature of US fascism is no secret, know that there indeed is a true welfare queen in this story- The Store!
Don't get me wrong, Wal-Mart is nothing but a symptom of twisted market interventionism, the disease is the corrupt and evil local and state politicians who facilitate such anti-market institutions. The only possible cure is the elimination of such power.
But, before there can be any hope of being rid of such pestilence it has to be recognized for what it is. Leeches, indeed!


Jim Davies's picture

Well spotted!  Interesting, that Walmart can set one local government off against another, choosing to build where they get the best tax break. Kind of making governments compete with each other.
Is that a "subsidy", though? I'd have thought it more like an agreement to limit the stealing. Come here, and we won't steal from you for five years. Rival town: come here, and we'll not steal from you for seven. Consequently I'm not sure it's fair to call Walmart a "welfare queen"; they are just going where the penalty is lightest.  A bit like choosing to live in New Hampshire because there's no income tax.
You're right, of course: the only fix is to zap the power to tax

Samarami's picture

Fully agreed.

It is so easy to blame the beast you see (the free market: "Wal Mart") than it is to blame the beast you don't see (the psychopaths who form the gang called "government").


mhstahl's picture

As I wrote, Wal-Mart is a symptom, not the disease.
I would point out that it isn't just tax "incentives" that Wal-Mart(and other "large" businesses) gets-they often receive direct payouts in the form of land giveaways, free "improvement" of proposed sites, massive road and highway reconstruction at "public" expense, and-in a case I'm familiar with-a re-zoning of relatively inexpensive farmland to commercial use(despite previous attempts being denied..and of course, then the site was "improved" at no cost to Wal-Mart.)
That said, the tax "incentives" alone are deeply problematic. We are not talking about an industry locating itself in the most favorable tax climate-such as NH. Instead, we are talking about a "special deal" for one specific business, while all of its local competitors are feverishly taxed at the full rate. The result is the local hardware store has a higher overhead, and so must charge more and is less able to compete. Those tax breaks go right to the bottom line, and create a competitive advantage that is gained at the point of a gun.
Whatever you'd like to call that, what it isn't is a free market in any meaningful sense.
Of course this is not limited to Wal-Mart, and indeed its local competitors are also sheltered from true competition in a myriad of ways, such as local zoning and licensing laws that bar market entry.
To me, these sorts of stories are best used to illustrate how deeply-though subtly-commerce is directed and controled by government, and how radically different a true free market would appear.
The only way to find out, of course, is to take force and coercion out of commerce. I'm not slamming Wal-Mart with the term "welfare queen", since I think, quite frankly, that such is a term that could-and should-be applied to most businesses, especially those that are "incorporated", and absolutly those who are large enough to willfully collude with government in the way Wal-Mart does.
Of course, I have no love of government payouts to individuals, but I think it should be remembered that such programs serve the interests of a government that curtails industriousness in order to concentrate wealth in the hands of selected companies. Without those payouts, they would never be able to control "grey" and "black" market competition. Survival trumps regulation every time.
I tend to think that the stranglehold is loosening a bit, the internet has opened a market where micro-busineses can operate and thrive without(as much) artificial, government generated, overhead. The old game is changing, and it's a great event.
I'm with you, let's get rid of the predators and let the chips fall where they may...I suspect such a society would be wonderfully chaotic and unpredictable, with "order" maintained by self-preservation, rather like livestock who finally tear down the fences!
Anyway, hopefully that clarifies my point.