According to a 60 Minutes-Vanity Fair Poll recently released, nearly half of the nearly eleven hundred randomly selected nationwide respondents that were contacted by telephone between August 27th and 31st chose Wal-Mart as the institution that best symbolizes America today. Distant runners up were split between Google, Microsoft, the NFL, and the banking and financial securities firm Goldman Sachs. That actually sounds pretty accurate. Unfortunately, it also sounds pretty alarming as well.
When I think of Wal-Mart I think of an institution without an ounce of culture. While Wal-Mart offers a variety of low priced products, the majority of those products are produced by foreign manufacturers. Wal-Mart is notorious for underpaying its employees and for offering little in the way of employment benefits. Wal-Mart has a reputation for coming into town getting concessions in the form of tax revenue concessions, then turning around and using the local government handout in the form of a tax advantage to give its customers discounts that its competitors can’t afford helping to put some of the other retailers, many mom and pop establishments that have been part of the local community for years if not decades, out of business.
Many Wal-Mart customers could not care less about the effect Wal-Mart has on the retailing landscape or on their neighbor’s employment prospects. When retailers go out of business only so many of their employees will find employment with the big Wal-Mart store. Too many people have the mentality that while it is true that Wal-Mart cuts people’s wages and keeps people’s hours low to keep from having to provide mandatory benefits for full time employment, that’s okay because those people can get what they need at the cheapest price possible. Like Wal-Mart, the American public could not care less about the people who have to do without a livable wage and employment benefits in order to provide the rest of us with the low priced commodities we want.
I would imagine that most Americans would like to operate their business using the Wal-Mart model. It has proven very lucrative in America. However, in many foreign countries, the Wal-Mart model just doesn’t do that well in countries with government and economic systems that actually work to protect employee’s and citizen’s rights. All too often the Wal-Mart way finds itself at odds with various foreign cultures. Not too surprising considering the reputation of the ugly American. And if Wal-Mart is the institution that best symbolizes America, Americans symbolize Wal-Mart as well.
Wal-Mart has that unapologetic, indomitable American spirit that must win at all cost. Its profits must always be higher. Its presence must always be greater. Wal-Mart will always do the right thing by the community it serves and the people it deals with when it finds its back to the wall and comes to the understanding that it is in its own best interest to do so. Otherwise, this corporation has access to some of the best lawyers in America and this corporation will see you in court before they’d do anything out of the goodness of their wallet. Just like many Americans.
All one needs to do is take a look at the argument surround universal healthcare. People would rather do without healthcare for everyone as long as they have healthcare for themselves. When we have healthcare it’s good. When other people have healthcare, it’s a socialist plot designed to undermine capitalism. Capitalism is the never ending pursuit of profit and money. Generating profit and money are the two things that Wal-Mart excels at. The ironic thing is that Wal-Mart wants universal healthcare. That way, it wouldn’t have to foot the bill to provide healthcare to its employees and can rely on another government handout.
Honestly, I really don’t think Wal-Mart is that much different from any of the other corporate entities named in the survey. Microsoft and Google do their damnedest to put other tech companies out of business. The NFL, just like any other major sports entity, would give players nine figure salaries at the expense off individual fans who can barely afford to go to the game. And Goldman Sachs is a financial institution. The first syllable in its name is “gold”, is it really necessary to say anything else. The whole point of big business is big money.
Most any other corporation would love to be in Wal-Mart’s position. Wal-Mart might be the best corporate symbol of America. And it is a pretty good representation of us. But in reality, there are a few words that are far more accurate in their portrayal of America. Greedy and narcissistic quickly spring to mind. Arrogant and pompous are a couple more. All of these words are accurate symbols of many Americans. It is no coincidence that they apply to Wal-Mart as well.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
This Is Going To Hurt
The funny thing is that many things worth doing do hurt. Does the idea of universal healthcare hurt more than war? And yet, many people feel that war is a painful necessity. Where’s this guy’s sign saying that war is going to hurt?
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Hershey Chocolate People
You’d think in a Hershey chocolate commercial with chocolate people at least one would look like the people most often referred to as chocolate.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Mark McGwire Gets A Job
The St. Louis Cardinals hired Mark McGwire as their new hitting coach. While Barry Bonds faces indictment Mr. McGwire gets a job!
Monday, October 26, 2009
Glen Beck Should Do Cheese Commercials
Stephen Colbert, the comedian who spoofs the conservative right on the Comedy Channel’s Colbert Report, says Glen Beck should do cheese commercials.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Rams Lose To The Colts
The Rams lose 42 to 6 at home!!!
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Another Bank Bites The Dust
Bank failures have surpassed the one hundred mark. This is the most failures in nearly two decades.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Marcus Jordan, the younger son to Hall of Fame guard Michael Jordan, told the media that he’d honor the University of Central Florida’s contract with Adidas by wearing all the apparel with Adidas logos on it. But when he takes to the court he would be in Nike’s Air Jordans. Adidas is trying to negotiate an equitable arrangement with the school.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Poverty In America
The level of poverty in America is even worse than first believed. A revised formula for calculating medical costs by the National Academy of Science shows that approximately 47.4 million Americans last year lived in poverty. That means nearly 1 in 6 Americans life in poverty.
Monday, October 19, 2009
The United Nations Development Program ranked countries by income inequality. Scandinavian countries and Japan have the least amount of inequality. The United States ranked number three as most unequal behind Hong Kong and Singapore.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Balloon Story Was A Hoax
Sheriff’s investigators hoped to talk to Richard and Mayumi Heene, the parents of the boy who was thought to have been trapped in a runaway balloon, to resolve lingering questions over whether the drama with their son could have been a hoax.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Boy In A Balloon
A six year old boy had been reported to be aboard a flying saucer shaped balloon fashioned by his father that accidentally launched and carried by high winds on to the plains of eastern Colorado. The balloon floated around for hours and when it landed, the boy was not there. He was found hiding in the family home. Sounds like a publicity stunt.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
The Heroic Olympia Snowe
Senate Finance Committee member Olympia Snowe from Maine is being hailed as some kind of hero because she is the lone Republican to support getting a healthcare reform bill out of committee and sending it to the floor.
Monday, October 12, 2009
King Children Settle
After more than 14 hours of discussion, the children of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. reached a settlement that will keep the family from a very public jury trial. I’m sure their parents are proud!
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
President Barack Obama reaffirms his commitment to the revocation of the military’s don’t ask, don’t tell policy. Just don’t ask him when.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
The Nobel Prize
Rumor has it that President Barack Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009!
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Somebody Saved The Shoes
When a powerful storm inundated the Philippines most people rushed to save their homes or their lives. Employees of the Marikina Shoe Museum saved former first lady Imelda Marcos’ shoe collection.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Former House Republican Whip Tom Delay dances with his partner Cheryl Burke in the Dancing With The Stars competition. But Mr. DeLay has been diagnosed with stress fractures in his foot and is taking his doctor’s advice to leave the show. Mr. Delay must’ve had brain fractures thinking he could dance. He was truly awful!
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Greenspan Predicts Higher Unemployment
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan predicts that unemployment will surpass ten percent and suggests that a second stimulus plan is needed. Unemployment in the black community is topping fifteen percent and no one has said a thing about a black stimulus plan.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
The Olympics Are Headed To Rio
Nearly 50,000 people at Copacabana beach celebrate Rio de Janiero winning the 2016 Olympics.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Flooding in the Philippines!
Thursday, October 1, 2009
The death toll from yesterday’s Indonesian earthquake tops eight hundred!