I'm not often asked, but I'm sure people wonder, "Why do you do it, Tom?" Why the blog? Why BREO? Why the letters to the editor, the newspaper columns, the radio interviews, etc.? Why do you give up so much time with your family? Why do you subject yourself to all the public name-calling?
It's simple, really. It's because of stories like this.
I'm not paid by Wal-Mart (although my wife wishes that I was.) I'm not a business owner, developer, or land speculator. I don't stand to personally profit in any way by Wal-Mart coming to Pullman. I don't even own stock in the company.
I'm not fighting to protect the socialist sensibiltiies of tenured professors or the snobbish urges of NIMBY homeowners. I'm fighting for the seniors, the young families with children, the struggling students, the small business owners; in other words, the common people of Pullman and the working class of Pullman. And when those people, MY people, contact me privately to say "Thanks," THAT'S what keeps me going. Doing right is its own reward.
The so-called "progressives" in this country, like the PARDners, will always lose because they don't really have the best interests of the common people in mind as they claim. Their disdain of capitalism proves that "progressives" are just doctrinaires, only interested in monolithic, old fashioned, big government solutions. "Regressives" might be a better term. Brink Lindsey of the Cato Institute said it best:
Furthermore, it has become increasingly clear that capitalism's relentless dynamism and wealth-creation--the institutional safeguarding of which lies at the heart of libertarian concerns--have been pushing U.S. society in a decidedly progressive direction. The civil rights movement was made possible by the mechanization of agriculture, which pushed blacks off the farm and out of the South with immense consequences. Likewise, feminism was encouraged by the mechanization of housework. Greater sexual openness, as well as heightened interest in the natural environment, are among the luxury goods that mass affluence has purchased. So, too, are secularization and the general decline in reverence for authority, as rising education levels (prompted by the economy's growing demand for knowledge workers) have promoted increasing independence of mind.PRESS RELEASE: Pullman Seniors Want Wal-Mart Supercenter
Yet progressives remain stubbornly resistant to embracing capitalism, their great natural ally. In particular, they are unable to make their peace with the more competitive, more entrepreneurial, more globalized U.S. economy that emerged out of the stagflationary mess of the 1970s. Knee-jerk antipathy to markets and the creative destruction they bring continues to be widespread, and bitter denunciations of the unfairness of the system, mixed with nostalgia for the good old days of the Big Government/Big Labor/Big Business triumvirate, too often substitute for clear thinking about realistic policy options.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PULLMAN, WA, September 18, 2007 – Nineteen residents of the Pioneer Square Apartments, a project of Catholic Charities of Spokane that provides affordable housing for seniors and individuals with disabilities, submitted an unsolicited petition to Businesses & Residents for Economic Opportunity stating that they were in support of Wal-Mart coming to Pullman.
"For too long, the voices of those who stand to benefit the most have been drowned out in the heated debate over a Wal-Mart in Pullman," stated April Coggins, downtown merchant and co-chair of Businesses and Residents for Economic Opportunity (BREO.) "Many of these seniors don’t have the option of hopping over to Moscow to shop," Coggins continued, "but a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Pullman would be accessible to them via Dial-A-Ride or other transportation options."
Wal-Mart first announced plans to construct a 228,000 square foot Supercenter on Bishop Boulevard in Pullman back in October 2004. Those plans were approved by the City of Pullman in October 2005. The city’s approval has been appealed by the Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development (PARD) three times, most recently to the District III Washington Court Of Appeals in Spokane. An October 19 hearing has been postponed due to a motion by PARD to present oral arguments.
The world’s largest retailer has proven benefits for seniors and others living on low or fixed incomes by offering savings on food, medicines, and other necessities. Last year, the American Association of Retired Persons praised the company’s $4 generic prescription drug program as an important way for Americans to save money and improve their health. A 2005 MIT study estimated the average savings on groceries alone from a Wal-Mart Supercenter is about 20 percent of the average food budget. "These seniors not only want Wal-Mart," concluded Coggins, who, along with husband Russ, owns Pullman Honda, "they need Wal-Mart. And like other Pullman residents, they are tired of the endless delays."
For additional information on this petition, contact April Coggins or visit www.letsgrowpullman.com. For a copy of the petition, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT BUSINESSES & RESIDENTS FOR ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY (BREO) - BREO was formed in October 2005 to support free enterprise, business growth and healthy competition in Whitman County, Washington.
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