Thursday, May 05, 2005

New York Times Wal-Mart Piece

The New York Times's Steve Greenhouse wrote an interesting piece yesterday about the increasingly vocal battle over whether Wal-Mart's low wages need to be raised. This is an important debate but we think the real question that needs to be asked is what are the costs of these low wages as well as other Wal-Mart side-effects to the public. It is true that Wal-Mart sometimes offers lower prices but are these price decreases worth the billions spent by the public on public health care for Wal-Mart employees and subsidies dor Wal-mart stores? Are the low prices worth the addtional economic burden represented by a surge in traffic, and increased reliance on public safety resources? Is the benefit of addtional jobs outweighed by the lost jobs at small business and the lowering of wages and benefits at unionized Wal-Mart competitors? As Wal-Mart tries to come into New York we must ask all of these questions and more formally conduct a thorough and independent economic impact study before engaging in the land review process.