The WalMartization of America Continues…

Since the economic meltdown, most of the job creation has been in the service sector.  I’ve heard some people in the past praise our service economy as a way to reinvent America after it was decided that we would no longer be a manufacturing powerhouse.  The problem with the service economy is that internet access, outsourcing, and automation has made it easy for companies to move good paying service jobs offshore.  The remaining jobs are those that pay minimum wage or slightly better to flip burgers and punch buttons on a cash register.

If we allow our corporate overlords to continue shoving us down that path, we’ll be 3rd world and living in 19th Century America again.  The “shining city on a hill” is in desperate need of new batteries before the lights go out.  I’m not anti-capitalism, but I think with great authority comes great responsibility.  Those captains of industry who push companies to profit should also be reminded that they will lose their customer base if people don’t have the money to afford their goods and/or services.  Hence the WalMartization of America.

Stagnant wages and and salary suppression has led to many things.  Instead of having a parent who can stay home and help raise the kids, both parents have to work in order to survive.  Sometimes, there are multiple jobs involved just to make ends meet.  It doesn’t help us when our government makes it easier and more cost effective for companies to move good paying jobs overseas.  When we have less money to spend, we end up having to buy cheap crap to make our money stretch.  Buying that cheap crap further exaserbate the cheapening cycle.  When people talk about how things were much better in the “good old days”, they seldom look at the employment issues then versus now to see how much things have changed.

We no longer have Ward Cleaver bringing home the bacon so that June can watch the boys all day.  We’re steadily watching our economy being swept from under our feet, but as long as we keep on buying that cheap crap, we’re doing more damage to ourselves than anybody else.

Dan Alpert explains it best with his analysis:

“The fact is that the U.S. employment situation is more of a wounded beast than a bull,” he writes.

[…]

“What you’re seeing is now the spreading of low wage growth,” he says, noting those trends continued in Friday’s July jobs report. “Really we have become a nation of hamburger flippers, Wal-Mart sales associates, barmaids, checkout people and other people working at very low wages.”

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6 thoughts on “The WalMartization of America Continues…

  1. BRO

    We need to get more folks here….

    Every time a complex issue such as this, wall street finance, union issues and many more, I first default to the thought process of ‘what if private money were out of politics?’

    If all elections were not auctions and rested on free media time and tax payer donations, I submit that many of these issues would be much less complicated. Not easily solvable of course, but if all special interests, PACS and all other means of buying influence were neutered, at least the discussion in DC would be more rounded..I think. IMO we would have policies that primarily served taxpayers, not re-election coffers. We would never experience the financial pain of elimination of GS Act, arguably the financial tragedy of 2007, and the like. Walmart would have to stand on same footing as representatives of smaller operators, decisions about healthcare would not stand on the interests of insurers and the largest of providers, as examples.

    Other issues would remain of course but the incentives in DC currently are more than a little perverse. Of course, I’m just wondering..

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    • My optimistic side wants to agree with you, but I think we’d still have issues with elected officials without the private money. Those who are inclined to do wrong will find a means of achieving that goal no matter what it takes. I still believe that the time is close at hand where a candidate can run a social media based campaign with far less money than the establishment and get their message out effectively.

      As for the money issue, I don’t think we’re ever going to get private money out of the election system as there’s another case making it’s way to the SCOTUS to finish off where Citizen’s United stopped.

      http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/mccutcheon-v-federal-election-commission/

      If you think things are bad now, just wait until the money changers at the SCOTUS unleash the hounds with this one.

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      • Can’t disagree as our congress has not the balls to amend the constitution which IMO needs a bit of updating. I don’t fault the decision of SCOTUS…its our law as currently worded.

        Perhaps a media based campaign to get some amount of polling data suggesting to DC numb nuts that we are expecting change. Won’t take much to get them nervous…I can dream

        It won’t fix all issues but it will force the agenda more to our favor..

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        • I don’t think it’s as much as them lacking testicular fortitude as much as it is they don’t want to give up their cash cows. I fault the SCOTUS as much as Congress because money does not equal speech. Money can buy speech, but it is not in and of itself speech. There is a difference.

          No amount of polling short of removing every single elected person in DC in one election will get them to as much as consider changing things. I have no faith in the system when it comes to campaign finance. They’ve already shown us that there is no intent to change. They only want to open it up even more. We may as well require them to wear sponsor’s logos when they are in session.

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  2. i dont’ fault SCOTUS..seems every time they provide controversial finding, the cries of judicial tyranny are screamed to high heaven. I trust Roberts. If anyone can interpret constitution, it is him. Anyway I’m getting depressed about this topic..while the folks on the left undertake the ostrich strategy, another brick in the wall..we agree about this bill.

    Talk about disincentives..check this out. http://www.cnbc.com/id/100921864

    Your reference to Montana clinic is interesting but it’s success is solely due to the demographics..pretty light population load there…I’ve had clients who hire doctors and set up occupational injury clinics in facilities . Only effective in certain states since workers’ compensation laws vary by state…we may see large, self insured corporations do the same for wellness…hesitation is that most can hardly run the business they are in..

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    • “seems every time they provide controversial finding, the cries of judicial tyranny are screamed to high heaven.”

      That’s not my issue with them. I think that we’re getting more and more where ideology is the metric used to judge the constitutionality of laws instead of just looking at them factually. People cry judicial activism when things don’t go the way they think they should. I don’t trust any of them at all when it comes to decisions as they’re pretty predictable about 85% of the time. In regards to campaign finance, I think they blew that up when money was equated to free speech and corporations were given personhood.

      “it’s success is solely due to the demographics”

      I think it goes beyond that, but that’s just my view. I think it boils down to more efficient allocation and use of funds as well as having the power of negotiation. The federal programs would be much better if they were allowed to negotiate prices, but Congress had to ensure the profits of their campaign financiers were pretty much guaranteed.

      Interesting link too. As far as insurance, I think that ship sailed when they shifted from not-for-profit to corporate owned entities.

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