Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Found Arts
Beach Art
Burning Man
In the Fray
Phil Steele
Charles Krebs Photography
Cool Art
Chuck Pefley Designs
Film Movement
Glenn P. Williams
Harald Sund
Jim Champa
Julie Ueland
NW Driftwood Artists
Simon Beck
Stephen Matera
Twin Peaks
Wm. Arthur Phillips

Like-minded Folk
Burning Man
Drinking Liberally
the hippy site
Planet SARK
R Family Vacations
Sorry Everybody

The Alzheimers Site
The Animal Rescue Site
The Autism Site
The Breast Cancer Site
CREDO Action
The Diabetes Site
Fatal Encounters
Feeding America
Glacier Gardens
Greater Good
The Hunger Site
The Literacy Site
Occupy Medical
The Rainforest Site
Sea Shepherd
US Action
The Veterans Site

The Greg Marshall Band
Jackie Greene
Little Feat
The Mescals
The Randy Oxford Band
The Shirkers
T-Town Aces
The True Spokes
WA Blues Society
Winthrop Blues Festival

Animal Communication
Asian Noodle Bar
Dave Curran Images
Chocolate Cartel
El Modelo Mexican Foods
Gabby's Handmade Soap
Hippy Prints
Kirsten Gallery
Klineburger Taxidermy
Lee Mann Photography
Lois Silver, Artist
Paula's Choice
Smart Pot
Steve Mayo Art
Tim Wistrom Studio
2 Margaritas

Serious Business
Top Bananas

Monkey Business
Annotated Rant
Betty Bowers
Counterfeit Genius
Interview Magazine
The LSD No-No
Seeing Red

Above the Law
The Better Budget
The Big Show
Bishop of Bling
Blackwater Verdict
Blubber Lubbers
Carbon Tax Flip
Case of the Munchies
Cheaper in Texas
Climate March
Congressional Cannabis
Corporate Favoritism
Corporate Personhood
Deafening Whales

Derailing the Campaign Train
Diminishing Returns
Farewell to Arms
Frick n' Frack
Growing Concern
Hippies With Guns
Hobby Lobby
Imperial Clash
Islamic Statehood
Kill Your Television
Liberal Medicine
Lone Star Lies
Off the Record
PAC Attack
Peace Prize
The Pope and the Pauper
Pot Blog
Pot Suits
Privacy Piracy
Queen of Queens
Rise of the Machines
The Rising Tide
Robo Bees
Robotic Tinderbox
Seed Pirates
Sentence Structure
Shakedown Street
Solstice Pocus
Tiger Ban
Torture Report
Trademark Wars
True Colors
Unemployment Trap
The Waiting Game
War On Christmas
War Profiteers
Workforce Dropouts

Tips, Trips and Pics
All About Oscilloscope
Andromeda Strain
Cannabis Cup
Cannibalistic Geography
Coronal Mass Ejection
El Santuario de Chimayo
G Gordon Lindy
Hippy ID
Kell's Irish Pub
Kensington Runestone
Lucky Numbers
Magick 8-ball
Miracle Spices
Mount Pilchuck
Permanent Vacation
Pluto's Gate
Pretty in Pink
Psychic Test
Red Planet Fever
Safeguarding Your SSN
Seattle Japanese Garden
Shoalwater Bay Casino
Smart Spending
Snoqualmie Falls
Sound of Silence
Stroke Symptoms
Tails OS
Unexpected Retiree Venues

Arlington Garlic Festival
Okanogan Family Faire
Saratoga Springs
Timothy Leary
Yuppie Tavern

Wal-Mart nation: the race to the bottom
By Floyd J. McKay

Los Angeles is not my kind of town. But the Angelinos are about to take a stand that ought to be applauded across the country.

That stand is to say "no" to a Wal-Mart "supercenter" that the retailing giant hopes to open in the city.

These superstores are not your father's Wal-Mart; they are monstrous, sprawling over some 25 acres and employing up to 600 workers. Their lure, of course, is lower prices.

Wal-Mart, it seems to me, epitomizes the race to the bottom that has the United States by the throat as the 21st century opens.

Why do people shop at these behemoths, when they know full well that they are driving out of existence small businesses owned and operated by their neighbors, employing other neighbors?

They shop because of price, and they are forced to do so by the declining standard of living we have offered working people for more than a generation. People who work for minimum wage, with little or no benefits, who cannot afford to fix their car or their kids' teeth have no choice but to search out the lowest price.

Wal-Mart buys offshore, without apology and for the cheapest possible prices, from companies paying the lowest-possible wages.

As jobs in America are lost to foreign sweatshops to feed the Wal-Mart engine, American workers are forced to accept jobs at lower pay, with bad working conditions. They are funneled to Wal-Mart's promise of cheap goods, in effect patronizing the very companies that caused their economic misery.

This is a cruel travesty on working people in this country.

Wal-Mart is currently being sued in some 40 cases charging various abuses of labor laws, and last fall it was reported the company extensively employs illegal aliens as janitors. Wal-Mart has successfully opposed unionization and frequently pays well below competing stores.

All of these practices - alleged abuses of labor laws, hiring illegals, and the low rate of pay and benefits at Wal-Mart - serve to depress the labor market in communities in which the giant is located. That is a major factor in Los Angeles' opposition to the supercenter.

Wal-Mart is like a neutron bomb, sucking life out of small towns,

leaving buildings without the essence of civic life.

We live in a nation in which the real-dollar income of an average family has declined for years, while corporate profits and executive pay have skyrocketed.

The gap between rich and poor has widened at an alarming rate in the past 20 years. In 44 states, the gap has increased not only between rich and poor, but between rich and middle-class families. None of the six exceptions is a Northwest state. Oregon has one of the worst gaps, Washington is about average.

In some states, the inequity is staggering. In three of the nation's largest states - California, New York and Ohio - families in the lowest 20 percent bracket actually lost real income from 1978 to 2000. In 1999 dollars, the loss was between 5 and 6 percent. In those same states, the real income gain for the top 20 percent of families ranged from 37 to 54 percent.

Nationwide, from 1978 to 2000, the lowest 20 percent of families gained only $972 annually, or 7.1 percent; the top 5 percent gained $87,779, or 58.4 percent.

These findings, by the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, were before the Bush tax cuts and the current recession, both of which will further widen the gap.

You can't blame Sam Walton for this disparity, but operations like Wal-Mart feed off the impoverishment of America.

Sadly, there are byproducts in quality of life, often unseen until it is too late.

The greatest is the destruction of America's small and mid-sized towns, increasingly bereft of small businesses and dominated by big-box retailers - acres of barren asphalt parking lots, corporate managers on their way to the next-larger store, employees scrambling to keep low-wage jobs.

My wife's recently deceased aunt could no longer shop in the small Iowa town where she and her late husband ran a feed store. The store is closed, as are the other small businesses. The elderly woman had to drive - or be driven - past the empty shops several miles to Wal-Mart, the nearest place to get the basics of life.

Wal-Mart is like a neutron bomb, sucking life out of small towns, leaving buildings without the essence of civic life.

Those of us fortunate to earn middle-class incomes can make a choice, and shun Wal-Mart. The tragedy is that for an ever-increasing segment of America, the despicable race to the bottom has left no other choice than to shop for cheap, regardless of the consequences.

Floyd J. McKay, a journalism professor at Western Washington University, is a regular contributor to The Seattle Times editorial pages. Email him at This article was originally published in The Seattle Times February 18, 2004. Copyright 2004 The Seattle Times Company. Reprinted without permission.

Copyright 2000-2014 the hippy site. All Rights Reserved.