Head to Head: Wal-Mart-Hating Snobs?What some of those commentators failed to realize is that it's both: It's union politics AND crass snobbery and racism; the unholy alliance of fringe lunatics and drawbridgers that I have written of so often. The unions have very few sympathizers. The majority of Wal-Mart hate is just pure classism and racism. PARDners like Deirdre Rogers play to that with code words like "Wal-Mart will lead to the the intrusion of undesirable social classes"
Neil Cavuto: People who block Wal-Marts from coming to big cities like New York are just snobs who hurt Middle Class Americans. That's what Ben Stein thinks. It's time to go "Head to Head." What do you mean, Ben?
Ben Stein: Well, I mean that Wal-Mart is an incredible benefit to any community. It makes all the people around it richer because their paycheck can go further and they can buy more. It's essentially like getting a raise. But, upper middle class, snobby upper class, people who watch movies with subtitles… and I watch them, too…are saying Wal-Mart isn't good enough for us. But something else is happening. It's racism. I know people who say, "We don't want Wal-Mart in our community because it draws in the African Americans, it draws in the Hispanics, and it draws in people whose faces are not the same color as ours. We don't want them in our neighborhood." Racism has a lot to do with the dislike of Wal-Mart. I hate to say it because it's a very strong accusation, but I've heard it over and over again.
Charles Payne: I think the snobbery does play a role. It's really interesting, particularly in Manhattan, because the average apartment costs $1 million, and certainly Wal-Mart doesn't bring up the property value, it probably brings it down in part to the racism thing Ben was talking about. Certainly there's a serious problem between snobbery and the unions in these large cities. In New York, you can't build a bird cage without union approval. I think it's a combination of both. Certainly the image of Wal-Mart does not fit the image of classy, urban areas like Park Avenue or Fifth Avenue or anywhere in Manhattan for that matter. Ben is on to something there. I think it goes beyond race and onto elitism.
Ben Stein: It's racism and classism, and super-snobbery is the main heading.
Charles Payne: Let me just say one thing. The real sad thing about it, particularly with the liberals, is that whenever they have a chance to help people, they don't. You know, they wouldn't mind a Wal-Mart in New York, as long as it's in the Bronx; it can't be in Manhattan.
Jerry Bowyer: I think Ben and Charles are both right. I think it's kind of a class-snobbishness. I don't know about the race side of it. It's plausible. But, it's also bad for the middle class in terms of employment opportunities. It's not just a consumer thing. We have friends of the family who work at Wal-Mart. Sometimes people without a college degree or professional certification can come into a Wal-Mart at an entry level and work their way up. I think that Wal-Mart ought to be allowed any place where people are willing to work at it and buy the products.
Ben Stein: Nobody's forced to work at Wal-Mart. People do it freely.
Laura Schwartz: I know snobs who shop at Wal-Mart. They may go there at 2:00 in the morning, but they do. Everybody likes a good deal. That's what Wal-Mart gives.
Charles Payne: But they don't want it in their neighborhood.
Laura Schwartz: But, you know what? You have to look at the fact that this is not snobbery-driven. This is politically-driven. It's the unions. When it comes to New York and LA, huge union towns, there's no way. But in Chicago, where I come from, Mayor Daley worked it out. Wal-Mart is now on the south side. The area has a higher percentage of lower income folks, but it's allowing them to get access to goods and services they can afford.
Pat Powell: I think she's on to something. I think it's politics and not snobbery. I think it's a politics of deflection. If you have a health care crisis in this country, it can't be your fault. It's gotta be Wal-Mart's fault. If you don't have high paying jobs, it's gotta be Wal-Mart's fault. There's somebody to blame, and who are you going to blame, but the great American success story?
Technorati Tags: wal-mart walmart