Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Ballot of the Buck

In a op-ed piece titled "Making money count" from today's Daily Evergreen, Lisa Waananen writes:
For example, Wal-Mart could not be the biggest corporation in the world without the daily votes from millions of Americans. I know many people who are against Wal-Mart for various reasons. Some dislike the way they pay their employees low wages and encourage them to be on welfare. There have been reports that although Wal-Mart has the lowest prices on extraneous items, necessities are actually more expensive. Some assert they just don’t like the way all their stores seem to leach a small portion of your soul, and how you leave with an uneasy feeling of uncleanliness explained by the invisible yet unavoidable Wal-Mart filth.

Yet these people still shop there. Words mean nothing when you vote “yes” with your dollars to Wal-Mart and all it stands for.
I can't say that I care for Waananen's intellectually snobbish characterizations of Wal-Mart and downtown Pullman, but I wholeheartedly agree with her basic message: in a democratic and capitalist society such as ours, we vote with out wallets. When we are denied that opportunity by government or an oligarachy of elites, that's called socialism.

The apparently anti-Wal-Mart Waananen inadvertently makes the case for a Pullman Supercenter. Despite petition signatures, despite all the repetition of PC platitudes in front of their peers and instructors about Wal-Mart and despite countless brainwashings by the College of Liberal Arts, the majority of students continue to shop at the Wal-Mart in Moscow. Wal-Mart continues to fill a basic need that shallow ideological vanity cannot. Therefore, if students are going to shop at Wal-Mart anyway, let's capture their dollars locally. I doubt even Waananen would disagree that students need to contribute to the public services they enjoy by living in Pullman.

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