The WaPo: A Tale of Two Economies

By August 30, 2006General

Two op-eds in today’s WaPo that deserve comment before the sun sets on the day:

The first, by lefty labor skate Harold Meyerson, is newsworthy for its author’s calling Labor Day “a joke.” He’s feeling the unions’ historic grip on the day loosening and he’s none too happy about it. Along the way, he cherry-picks statistics to paint the usual grim picture of a Bleak House-like workforce. This in spite of the fact — as you can see from our Labor Day Report (we’re still celebrating the day, y’see), real compensation is up, manufacturing output is up, exports are up, homeownership is at an all-time high. He takes the obligatory union-enforced swipe at Wal-Mart, since they allegedly wrecked the buzz of the grocery workers, according to Meyerson. Meyerson ignores the fact that many union members shop at Wal-Mart — teachers notoriously flock there for there inexpensive supplies, for example — and also that Wal-Mart sources from over 60,000 American businesses — many of them NAM members, and many of them union shops.

For the truth about Wal-Mart (which Meyerson must revile if he’s too keep his union card) you need to read the thoughtful piece below it by Bob Samuelson. It’s entitled, “Wal-Mart as Red Herring.” Samuelson begins with a tongue-in-cheek suggestion that the government take over Wal-Mart so they can “legislate good behavior.” He goes on to note quite seriously that Wal-Mart’s expansion has resulted in an average savings of $2,329 for each household. As Samuelson’s colleague, Sebastian Mallaby, said in the piece we wrote about below, “By beating up Wal-Mart and forcing it to focus on public relations rather than opening new stores, Democrats are harming the poor Americans they claim to speak for.”

As we approach Labor Day, expect to hear lots about Wal-Mart from the shrinking, increasingly desperate labor movement. As Samuelson’s title implies, it is their favorite red herring.