Truth is out of style links to a story by Steve Maich titled Why Walmart is Good. In it, he parrots these figures:
To the project's advocates in City Hall, this is just the kind of development Cleveland so desperately needs. Aside from precious jobs, the mall will spin off US$3 million in property taxes annually, US$1.8 million of which will go to the city's struggling school system, plus US$700,000 in local payroll tax. It will also give city residents a place to shop near home, rather than travelling to the suburbs. Officials estimate local residents spend US$4 billion a year in retail shops, a third of which currently goes outside the city. If ever there was a Wal-Mart that deserves support, they say, this is it.
Where the hell have these come from? Walmart? First Interstate? Has the economic impact study been done? After rambling on about the benefits of Walmart, Maich gets back to Cleveland. He talks with Tom Robertson of the United Food and Commercial Workers union who he quotes "They just fuckin' destroy jobs, period, because they replace high-paying jobs with low-paying jobs." You kiss your mother with that mouth? Kevin Brancato of comments "A trifecta: Crude, internally inconsistent, and deviod of fact!" and I have to support him. Not a good idea to curse to a reporter. Did Robertson substantiate his claims? I sure hope so. I hope Maich took his quote out of context. At least Chris Ronayne isn't crude, though I question the factual basis for his statement:
"We see this as a first step toward a bigger turnaround, toward making Cleveland into a city that can attract residents," Ronayne says. "We know these are starter jobs, but this city has seen a serious erosion of our employment base and a starter job is better than no job, from our perspective. We need jobs, period."
Starter jobs implies a greater economic development strategy and along with it - workforce development. Have we heard anything about that lately? Part of Maich's closing:
But the war on Wal-Mart raises more complicated questions. If the company helps poor families, creates decent jobs and fuels economic growth, what does it say that so many are so determined to stop it?
For one thing, Maich doesn't do very much to inform these "complicated questions". His reporting comes off to me as rather lop sided. Did any he contact any of the bloggers involved in NCW? I would have been happy to dicuss it further with him. As for the rest of his question, those are exactly the reasons this website and our No Cleveland Walmart group exists. The developers and city administration have been selling this as "creating decent jobs and fueling economic growth". We're the only ones who've questioned - does it?

8 Responses to “Truth is out of style”

  1. […] ers before I’ll entirely buy Mr. Maich’s premise.” I’ve added my comments here No comments have been added to this post yet. Le […]

  2. dionis says:

    We’re the only ones who’ve questioned – does it?

    Go back and read the article. Note what the statistics show is Wal-Marts impact on local jobs, taxes, productivity and prices. Comprehensively, it backs what the Mayor has said about the benefits of having Wal-Mart in the Commons.

    Seems like the data addresses all your concerns.


  3. Tom WMShopper says:

    Let’s see now, why are low income families stuck in an economic rut…mmmm.

    Let’s list a few basic services that a typical low-income family would use that are very expensive to purchase or are forced to pay high taxes to obtain.

    Public transportation
    Hospital care
    Telephone service
    Natural Gas
    Police protection
    Fire protection
    Union made Clothing
    Home repair
    Sewage treatment
    Water treatment
    Consumer Shipping – UPS

    Oh my gosh, it looks like unaffordable unionized goods and services are causing people to depend on government financial help. And I thought the unions said it was Wal-Mart’s fault, even though Wal-Mart is the nation’s largest employer. Could it be that union greed is keeping poor families poor and driving them to government assistance? EXACTLY RIGHT

    Gee, maybe if the Government subsidizes these goods and services for the poor, then we can continue to overpay union workers. Let’s just keep taxing the families that work for a living and advance their standard of living on their own initiative and self-reliance.

    Why should I lower my standard of living so a few unionists can increase their standard of living?

    I will shop non-union, especially at Wal-Mart.

  4. Alex says:

    The data is from a study, not just random data. I may be looking for work outside of the region due to the fight against bringing business into Cleveland. This gripe was a perfect example of what an uninformed bloger can do.

    I wonder if you support the increase to minimum wage as well, a union driven issue due to ‘percentage over minimum wage’ pay scales and dues. Remember, increase minimum wage, deflate the value of the dollar.

    Have you ever noticed that Wal Mart people love their jobs? This is not a random thing, sure, the pay is entry level, but the benifits are like those of a Corporate Executive. Then everyone forgets what it draws to the area… There is a list of businesses coming with Walmart.

    Maybe this site should be titled, “Help Jane Destroy Cleveland,”!

  5. Alex says:

    Not you Tom…

    Typing at the same time… I mean the Thread altogether.

    Tom mentions the Union as well, and he is right. Cleveland can ill afford the price increases of the unions.

  6. Strongtek says:

    a few facts for Mr. Tom WMShopper should consider…

    > all the jobs WallyMart has sent to China (from a long list, one of my favorites: Etch-A-Sketch-formerly made here in Ohio).

    > retail NEVER creates jobs, only realigns where the money goes among local retailers

    > when WallyMart takes all that cash in, it is deposited in a local bank and is wired to Bensonville the next am. Doesn’t get to stay in Cleveland for 24 hours!!

    > economic development? Hard hats for blue vests! Mr. SmileyShopper, you insult our intelligence!

    > WallyMart is union in Communist China

    > And if you really try Mr. SmileyShopper, you can find non-union stores that don’t have associates in blue vests without destroying your standard of living. I have.

    > Who is to say they actually have low prices? More like pricing to kill local competition. Try walking into a WallyMart and writing down prices to compare (all those surveillance cameras are there for a reason).

    For some WallyMart info, recommended reading:
    How Wal*Mart is Destroying America by Bill Quinn; Ten Speed Press,

    BTW, one of my favorite ironic tag lines is Sams Club: We’re in business for small business. Substitute, we’re in business to kill small business. And they have!

  7. NotSoFast says:

    A few things to remember strong… there is considerably more involved in the export of jobs than simply “Oh dear, Billy isn’t going to get paid 10 dollars an hour anymore since Ling Wong can do it for 10 cents”.

    The first argument does hold some water. Prices have always been determined by supply and demand. If it is no longer possible to produce at such a level as yields a profit, then companies will leave that market.

    Some would say that Etch-a-Sketches were becoming less popular as the novelty wore off and it became unnecessary to purchase multiple units. Therefore, to ensure that the company still made a profit, they had to innovate to lower production cost. Exporting jobs saved a considerable sum on labor wages, at the cost of American jobs.

    The beautiful thing about the study of economics is that you can very rarely isolate any single incidence from the larger picture.

    If Etch-a-Sketch had not exported those jobs, some might say the company would have gone under due to the inability to continue to afford the costs of production. Now. Many conservative business-types as people are wont to describe them, would point at this and say “If we didn’t export jobs, there would be no company at all!”

    If a company cannot continue to pay American wages, it will fail without exporting. So those jobs are already lost. By exporting, you can maintain retail and executive level positions that would otherwise be lost.

    This is entirely dependent upon the laws of supply and demand relating to the difficulty of cost management.

    Some people would say that those companies would be fine, it would just require sacrificing some of those dearly held profits. This coincides nicely with the belief that most white collar workers are greedy soulless bastards.

  8. NotSoFast says:

    I’ll continue here as I have run out of space. I did not intend for my last statement to be that white collar workers are greedy bastards. My point was to explain what exactly profit entails.

    In a simple model, there is the cost of production and there is the price of the good. Once you have paid for all production costs, you keep whatever moneys you collect after your sale.

    What is sorely lacking (among many other things) from the primitive model is the concept of expansion. Oh dear dear lord, suddenly this company has enough excess capital to expand their business. Certainly this wouldn’t result in the creation of new jobs would it? Oh wait… I do believe it would. These will be jobs that require skilled labor. How unfortunate.

    While I am not entirely accepting of the notion that sending jobs out of the country will result in an equivalent number of jobs created of greater value (unskilled labor jobs now become higher paying more reliable skilled labor jobs), there is a very strong case to be made nonetheless.

    Always remember that very few things in this world are so clearly understood to be good or evil. While it may be lamentable to lose American Jobs and see the decline of small town mom and pop store culture, there are positives and benefits of Wal-Mart type institutions.

    If the data is there, then that should more inform our opinion than any primitive and shortsighted interpretation of questionable market practices. Eh?

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