Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

You Get The Growth You Deserve

For an event that was supposed to rationally discuss the possible effects of a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Moscow, some quotes from the story in today’s Moscow-Pullman Daily News about last night’s forum show surprisingly little relevant or truthful information was divulged:


“People are only thinking about dollars when it comes to Wal-Mart”
What should they think about? Must be nice to not have to think about costs, budgets, taxes, or prosperity. If you disagree with Wal-Mart’s practices or it’s just beneath you, then don’t go there. But why punish an entire town? Wal-Mart will continue its “evil ways” unabated whether a Supercenter opens in Moscow or not. There are plenty of other less-discriminating towns out there begging for jobs, tax revenue, increased choice and lower prices.
“Many local college students get through school with jobs and low prices”
Refer to the recent Global Insight economic study of Wal-Mart.
“The low prices benefit the poor”
“It’s completely inappropriate for us to target one business. It’s about freedom of choice…Whose right is it to tell you where you can or cannot shop?”
Amen, brother! Refer to the United States Constitution with any questions.
“We may wake up and find that we have a Wal-Mart (on the border) with a whopping amount of business and all of the sales taxes going to the state of Washington and the county of Whitman”
Refer to your common sense here. I would hate to see the liberals triumph,but we’ll be happy to take your money and jobs over here as the “smart growthers” run Moscow into the ground.

“The only thing worse than having a Wal-Mart is not having a Wal-Mart”
Huh? Even my 12 year-old didn't get that.
“It exploits people”
People voluntarily working and getting paid an agreed upon wage on the next Donahue.
“If I can make a profit from knocking over grandma and stealing her wallet”
My personal favorite. Every time a Wal-Mart opponent speaks like this, it makes me smile as it turns mainstream people against them.
“They are wrong”
Hard to argue with an intelligent, well thought out, factual statement like that.
“They are breaking the economy”
Riiight. I think Wall Street, the stockholders, and Global Insight would disagree here.
“They will destroy the economy of the United States”
America, America. As Burke said the last refuge of a scoundrel is….
“Personally, I want to strive toward truth, beauty and goodness”
I thought the the Miss America pageant had moved to Las Vegas.
“Wal-Mart uses sweatshops in Bangladesh to pay factory workers $2 a day. The company pays 14 cents for a toy that is sold for $14 in their stores”
How about a little attribution for a wild accusation like this? Makes sense to me. Someone in Bangladesh is not getting a “living wage”!! Let’s ruin Moscow’s economy, hurt our students and seniors, and throw almost 200 people out of a job in protest!!! My grandmother used to call this “cutting your nose off to spite your face”. In any case, who knows? $2 a day may be a lifesaver in Bangladesh. What if they used to make $1 a day?
“She believes in a free market, too, but disagrees with many of Wal-Mart’s practices... We have the right to tell (Wal-Mart) no”
That’s like being a little pregnant. There’s no such thing as a little freedom. Either you have a free market or you don’t. The alternative is socialism, where others (government, academics, labor unions, etc.) make the decisions for you.
She expects Wal-Mart to continue the trend of running both stores one or two years until they drive out the competition — then closing one and leaving the other empty”
What competition? Target? Costco? Fred Meyer? Oh wait, those are in Spokane and Lewiston. They should hold forums there too.
“We’re talking about two super centers within eight miles of each other. That’s predatory.”
No, that’s fair. And that’s eight miles PLUS two states, two cities, two counties, two school districts, two hospital districts, two fire districts, and two water and sewer districts apart (I’m sure I forgot something). Why do we have two hospitals within eight miles of each other? What’s the alternative? One town gets screwed on sales taxes like Pullman has for the last 30 years. We should thank God Wal-Mart is choosing to open Supercenters in both Moscow and Pullman versus Whitman and Latah Counties. Only Moscow could have this kind of discussion. Our local intelligentisia can only preemptively send our tax dollars over the border, as we have no Wal-Mart yet.
“The cost of living is extremely high. We have a high quality of life"
Whaaat? That must be a typo or a misquote. Otherwise, BJ Swanson was arguing against herself. How can you have a high quality of life when the cost of living is extremely high (which we all know it is both in Pullman and Moscow)? Wal-Mart will increase quality of life by reducing the high cost of living. Of course, if you are a university professor or bank executive, the high cost of living may be no impediment to a high quality of life.
Remember, there’s ALREADY a Wal-Mart in Moscow. They are just going to add a grocery store, tire and lube center, optician, gas station, etc. You’d think the Apocalypse was upon Moscow. But what do you expect from a forum sponsored by the Moscow Civic Association, which is ultra-liberal and actively opposed to Wal-Mart in any form?

I prefer the less liberal-biased story that was in the Lewiston Tribune. Joel Mills reported that “one unidentified speaker said that there were probably far more people shopping at Moscow's current Wal-Mart during the forum than actually attending the forum”. The crowd applauded. There may be hope after all. The general consensus of the forum was for Moscow to hold its collective nose and have a Supercenter. Who knows what the anti-growth Moscow City Council will do though.

So we in Pullman got a little preview of the leftist, negative, anti-everything nonsense we can expect the next two Fridays. Bring your hip waders.

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