Wal-Mart turning workers into voters

Marketplace Staff Oct 4, 2006
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Wal-Mart turning workers into voters

Marketplace Staff Oct 4, 2006
HTML EMBED:
COPY

TEXT OF COMMENTARY

SCOTT JAGOW: Almost every day, we could tell you some new thing Wal-Mart is up to. This week, we found out the retailer may push for a cheaper, more flexible workforce. It wants to cap wages and boost part-time employment. Before that, Wal-Mart announced a plan to offer low-cost prescription drugs. And the company doesn’t shy away from politics either. Last week, it started handing out voter registration cards to workers. Commentator Newt Gingrich weighs in on that.


NEWT GINGRICH: Why shouldn’t Wal-Mart help its employees register to vote? After all, it’s been helpful in so many other ways.

Government has been trying for years to help Americans afford prescription drugs. But Wal-Mart’s huge economies of scale enable it to offer a one month’s supply of generics for as little as $4.

Government gives away billions of dollars in foreign aid every year, not all of it reaching the people it was intended for because of corruption.

But Wal-Mart lifts about 38,000 Chinese out of poverty every month by buying the $23 billion in Chinese goods they make every year for export.

Uncle Sam offers low-income Americans over $28 billion in food stamps each year. But it’s Wal-Mart that saves its customers over $200 billion a year by offering lower-priced, higher quality goods.

The fact is, Wal-Mart improves the quality of life for 180 million Americans each week at lower cost. Free choice and free markets help consumers and Wal-Mart proves it.

Now it’s offering one more tool for empowerment. It’s educating employees on candidates and whether the positions they take are pro-jobs.

Research by the Business Institute for Political Analysis, an industry-supported group, shows that employers are one of the most trusted sources of political information for their workers.

The Institute supports pro-business Congressional candidates. That’s something employees can understand. Their livelihood depends on pro-business policies.

Of course, how employees decide to vote is completely up to them.

Wal-Mart is providing every employee with a voter registration form and postage. And they’re giving out the League of Women Voters’ pamphlet on how to make sure your vote counts on Election Day.

Who knows, if Wal-Mart is successful it might just register the very voters that could put failing bureaucracies and inefficient federal agencies out of business.

JAGOW: Newt Gingrich was the Speaker of the House from 1995 to 1999. Share your thoughts with us. Log onto our website, marketplace.org and send us an e-mail. In Los Angeles, I’m Scott Jagow. Thanks for joining us and have a great day.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.