Friday, November 04, 2005

Studies Find Wal-Mart's Impact on Economy Not So Good

The trouble with academics (other than the fact that they don't appear always tethered to the planet Earth) ... they're cussedly independent.

Wal-Mart, in its current campaign to burnish its bad image among the general public, commissioned a bunch of academics to do studies of the corporation's impact on the U.S. economy ... assuming, we feel sure, that the reports would come back all glowing and laudatory.

The resulting academic conference going forward today in Washington, D.C., "An In-Depth Look at Wal-Mart and Society," features several papers that prove that Wal-Mart's critics have been right all along, that Wal-Mart's pay practices depress wages beyond the retail sector. And that states have to spend on average $898 in Medicaid expenses for each Wal-Mart worker.

Remember when Wal-Mart sent a platoon of lawyers into Boone's Board of Adjustment less than two years ago to demand the right to expand our local store into a Supercenter, and the Boone Board of Adjustment said no thanks? Prescient decision, that! "One study concluded that Wal-Mart's giant grocery and general merchandise Supercenters brought little net gain for local communities in property taxes, sales taxes and employment; instead, the stores merely siphoned sales from existing businesses in the area." (Quote from LATimes story. Thanks to Stumpy for link.)

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