Saturday, July 19, 2008

Given my druthers, I'd take Walmart.

I went by the Great Satan the other day. Yes, I visited our local Walmart, the icon of hate from the Left.

Let me tell you a bit about it.

This Walmart was built in an area that was pretty much undeveloped. They used to be in the nearby city but the organized forces of resentment did their level best to drive them out. You heard all the nonsense about how Walmart was driving other business into bankruptcy.

So Walmart found a new location, built a larger store and moved. And the area they went to didn’t really have any businesses to drive under.

As I drove past the location I noticed lot of new shops being built in that stretch of road. This was in addition to the many new businesses which opened nearby already. The presence of Walmart attracted thousands of customers, per day, to a location that had previously been pretty dead. The net result was that dozens of new shops and businesses are thriving there.

As for the town that didn’t want Walmart --- not particularly attractive. I had some tire work one there and had an hour to spare and wandered around. Sure I spent some money there. I had a very mediocre lunch and bought some videos at 50 cents each at a thrift shop. There were lots o thrift shops but I’ve notice they tend to crop up in areas where business is dying. And the town itself is in very deep financial trouble.

No doubt Walmart will be blamed for the problems of the town. where they were not welcomed, and get no credit for the dozens of businesses created in their shadow.

This doesn’t mean I like everything Walmart does. I don’t. Nor does it mean I like everything they sell. But compare Walmart to government.

Walmart has never been able to sell me a product that I didn’t want. Government constantly forces me to pay for goods and services that I don’t want.

When Walmart gets my money it does so because I voluntarily pay them for something I value more than the cost. Government, on the other hand, has entire agencies of armed goons whose job is to make sure you pay over the money they demand. If I don’t give Walmart my business they can’t do anything about it. If I refuse to give government my money they send me threatening letters followed up by use of force. If I still resist they take my property, kidnap me, and hold me in shackles as an example to everyone else.

Even when government provides services that I might want, such as education, garbage collection, policing, they tend to do so at vastly inflated prices. Sure they sometimes hide the true cost by charging me less than the actual cost but they get the rest, and then some, via coercive taxation.

When I go to Walmart it is to buy things that I want or need. I’m happy when I can get a pair of jeans for $12. When I leave Walmart I have more money in my pocket than I would have, had I shopped someplace else. Walmart tends to put money in my pocket while government pretty much just takes it out.

If Walmart has products I don’t want, and they do, then I don’t buy them. If government has services I don’t want they make me pay for them anyway.

If I get really irrate with Walmart I can shop elsewhere. If I don’t like their prices on clothes I can go to Target, or Macy’s or Sears, etc. If I don’t like the Department of Motor Vehicles, tough luck for me. I don’t have a choice. If I don’t like the way first class mail is delivered it is illegal for me to send a letter any other way.

Walmart expands my choices. Government restricts them. Walmart helps me save money. Government takes my money. Walmart can only sell me what I want. Government makes me buy what I don’t want. Walmart has to offer me good prices, government pretty much charges anything they want.

I have freedom to maximize my well-being when it comes to Walmart. I have no such freedom when it comes to government. Even if I were to vote in every election my vote wouldn’t change a damn thing. Every election would turn out just the same way.

But I don’t have to persuade the majority of Walmart shoppers in order to get the goods or services I want. I do have to persuade the majority of voters to give me the kind of government I want.

Every time I’ve been to Walmart the baskets of goods that I left with was different from the basket of goods that other shoppers left with. When I leave the voting booth I get the same government that everyone else gets.

And finally, whatever bad things you think Walmart has done they have never bombed anyone, never tortured anyone, and never executed anyone. The might use advertising but they don't use waterboarding. When I walk into their premises they greet me and welcome me. When I visit government premises I'm searched, identified and generally treated like a criminal.

All in all I prefer Walmart.

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