Boo, Auburn (and Wal-Mart)!

I agree with Lew Rockwell well over 99% of the time on political issues. This said, he supported Wal-Mart (once again) with this blog posting:

I had never been grocery shopping at Wal-Mart until last night, when I filled a sick person’s shopping list at her preferred store. The prices are, of course, great. But I had no idea of how great: 15-20% less than Kroger’s, is my guess. The aisles are wide; the selection very good; and the place was mobbed.

[snip]

Leftists, crunchy cons, and paleo cons hate Wal-Mart. As I looked around that vast space of real service to the least among us, I could only think: God bless this great enterprise.

Other than by James Taranto of the WSJ, I don’t think I’ve ever been confused for a leftie. In Alabama, the competition between football teams based in Auburn and Tuscaloosa can be more important than religion, politics or even the battle between the sexes. Guessing that Lew bought his groceries in or near Auburn, I’m speculating that he isn’t aware that Wal-Marts in other portions of his state get their property though the use of eminent domain or eight-digit tax incentives or sometimes even a combination of the two. Rockwell generally opposes gubbmint whine and cheese, but he seems to be making an exception when the money passes though corporate hands.

Stephen Gordon

I like tasteful cigars, private property, American whiskey, fast cars, hot women, pre-bailout Jeeps, fine dining, worthwhile literature, low taxes, original music, personal privacy and self-defense rights -- but not necessarily in this order.

14 Comments
  1. Couldn’t disagree more. If you don’t like WalMart, just shop somewhere else, like a lefty-owned “targay” store, if you catch my drift. It’s called

  2. Couldn’t disagree more. If you don’t like WalMart, just shop somewhere else, like a lefty-owned “targay” store, if you catch my drift. It’s called FREE ENTERPRISE.

  3. Andy, we all know that there is not a truly free market here and that the entity known as the “corporation” is a government-created mess that falls short of the libertarian ideal. That said, Wal-Mart is just competing within the imperfect framework of rules that have been set forth. Yes, they’re guilty of taking advantage of the immoral, yet legal, eminent domain laws, but I expect many of their competitors have done the same. Besides, the ones most guilty of this eminent domain monstrosity are the government officials that allow it to happen. If it’s not Wal-Mart accepting the sleazy bribes, it will just be someone else.

    Finally, if you’re going to call Wal-Mart a welfare whore, then all of their corporate competitors deserve the same label.

  4. There are both good and bad things about Wal Mart and everyone should realize that.

    In Fort Wayne we have given tax incentives to attract FIVE Wal Mart stores. That is 100% absurd… There is no reason to forgive Wal Mart from paying taxes when they make so much money.

    That being said, I am not against Wal Mart competing on a level playing field…

    Mike Sylvester
    Fort Wayne Libertarian

  5. There is nothing good about Wal-Mart. They are unethical fascist scum. Saying that because other corporations accept corporate welfare and eminent domain so it’s OK for Wal-Mart to do it is a cop out.

  6. There’s plenty good things about Wal-Mart, but corporate welfare and eminent domain isn’t among them. Anyway, I never said “it’s OK” for them to participate in this; I was merely pointing out, 1) that they’re no worse than their competitors who do the same, and 2) it’s entirely the fault of government that corporate welfare and eminent domain exists in the first place.

  7. The fact that Wal-Mart recieves corporate welfare and eminent domain as well a limited liability protection means that they are not legitimate. I have no respect for them. Why should I respect a band of state connected theives?

  8. Andy, I understand what you’re saying, but the fact is that it would be virtually impossible to live in the current day without purchasing products or services rendered by these illegitimate (as you’ve defined them) entities. You’re free to boycott Wal-Mart, but you’ll still most likely end up buying from someone that benefitted from the same limited liability protections. If something is ever going to be done to correct this mess, I think we need to target the source – the governments that created the laws and make the decisions to dole out this money they confiscated from the citizens.

  9. In my area, Wal-Mart is the only company receiving 8 digit tax breaks and the only grocery/department store using eminent domain (the Applebees and such in the parking lot benefit — but not Target or K-Mart).

  10. In essence, we should argue that due to its use of eminent domain, a government power, and its status as a recipient of direct government money payments, Wal Mart is not really private property.

    We can also get into other issues, such as government institutional funds owning large chunks of Wal Mart stock, and Wal Mart referring a huge chunk of their employees to collecting government welfare as opposed to paying them benefits – in essence, another form of corporate welfare.

    Then if you really want to get into it, talk about the military-industrial complex and wars overseas as a subsidy to Wal Mart shipping, as are federal highway funds. Big companies like Wal Mart use shipping a lot more than smaller competitors, giving them a huge unnatural competitive advantage due to government interefernce in the
    market on their behalf.

    I think all this makes for a good case that Wal Mart is not really private property except when it suits them to be considered such. (cont)

  11. However, when it suits them more, Wal Mart IS a government agency – as in when they use eminent domain to take away land from small businesses and homeowners.

  12. Yes, there are other corporations that recieve the same state benifits as Wal-Mart, but this is still not an excuse and it should be noted that Wal-Mart is one of the biggest – if not the biggest – offender.

    Check out these websites to find out how local, state, and federal government agencies own stock in big corporations like Wal-Mart.

    http://www.CAFR1.com
    http://www.CAFRman.com

    Look at their Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFRs) and do a search on government institutional ownership of corporations.

    Here are 4 government enities that own large chunks of Wal-Mart stock.

    CALPERS (California State Employees Pension Fund)
    California Public School Teachers Pension Fund
    Illinois State Investment Board
    Iowa State University

    These are just 4 off the top of my head. I’m sure there are many more.