5. Maybe you think the working poor deserve to have more money. If that’s your argument, then the most sensible policy is to simply write them checks. If you want to increase the purchasing power of low-income people who are employed, then you should give them money rather than trying to distort the labor markets in such a way as to get the money to them through indirect means with unintended consequences, including the possibility of higher unemployment. Nobody proposes this (or rather, proposes expanding our existing program that does this, the EITC), because nobody wants the cost of these subsidies to be known. If we wrote poor people checks (more checks), then that would show up on a budget somewhere; if we pass a law saying that other people, mostly firms in the private sector, have to write those checks, they don’t show up on the budget (the government budget, that is, the one we do together). And if they don’t show up on the budget, then that reinforces the illusion that this is effectively “free.”
There are a number of methodological limitations associated with this research. The first limitation is associated with the use of questionnaire, which is the difficulty in ascertaining the truthfulness of information provided by respondents. There is the likelihood that the respondents may provide false information when responding to the questions in order to protect the name of the company. This has an impact on the validity of the findings. The second limitation stems from the sample size. A sample size of 50 is relatively small to make meaningful generalizations of the findings. In addition, the respondents were derived from one store, which implies that the findings cannot be generalized to include all Walmart employees distributed across the 15,000 stores worldwide. In addition, the scope of this study is only limited to the United States. There is no doubt that Walmart employees across the globe have diverse needs and requirements to be met, which implies that the findings from respondents gathered from the US may be different from the findings gathered from Walmart employees in other parts of the world.
But Public Enemy Number One on Pacelle’s list are the dozen or so companies that gamed the system and usurped the means of production in America. Fifty years ago, before the coming of giants, this country’s cows, pigs and poultry were mostly raised outdoors and sold, for whatever the spot market bore, at livestock auctions for cash. Then Tyson, Perdue and others set about gobbling up feed lots, van lines, slaughterhouses and hatcheries, ran them, top-down, via corporate committees, and turned farmers into wage slaves on their lands, owners of nothing but the mortgages on their barns. With the craven consent of the Department of Agriculture (then, as now, a revolving door for executives in the big-farm sector), they devoured smaller companies, corraled much of the nation’s livestock and began treating animals as production units, not living, feeling creatures with basic rights. Their motto: maximum profit for minimum input, meaning far fewer workers tending vastly larger stocks, and animals confined in tight, dark spaces for the ease and convenience of staff.