Obama Fantasy Speech #3: The Barons of Wal-Mart

What’s good for the many is good for the few.

The bosses at Wal-Mart are afraid that if I’m elected Wal-Mart employees are going to have a real chance to organize, without fear of the illegal intimidation tactics Wal-Mart has used to keep unions out.

And they’re right.

And they’re afraid that Wal-Mart won’t be able to continue to dump its costs on the rest of us by leaving its employees with little or no health coverage.

And they’re right.

And they’re afraid that they, personally, are going to have to start paying their fair share of the costs of defending and governing this country, rather than having their taxes keep going down while their underpaid employees’ taxes keep going up.

And they’re right.

But what the Wal-Mart bosses don’t understand is that we are one nation, and that what’s good for the many is also good for the few.

During the 1930s the industrial barons thought that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was their greatest enemy. They thought that Social Security and the Wagner Labor Act were going to lead the country down the road to socialism. They spread every nasty rumor they could about FDR; they even said he was really Jewish &#8212 “Franlin Delano Rosenfeld” &#8212 instead of Dutch. (I guess it didn’t occur to them to claim he was a Muslim.)

But at the end of the day, those rich men found themselves richer than ever in a country more powerful and united than ever. They weren’t able to grab such a huge piece of the pie for themselves, but the pie was so much larger that their smaller piece of it was still more than they’d ever had before, under Presidents like Calvin Coolige and Herbert Hoover, who remained beloved by the rich even as they wrecked the economy and led the country into the Depression.

So once again, I say to the Barons of Wal-Mart: be not afraid. The medicine of having to treat your employees decently may be bitter, but drink it down and your company will be healthier in the long run. My policies will benefit not just a part of the country, but the entire United States of America. Everyone. Even you.


WSJ story on Wal-Mart’s terror of Obama.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com