Another reason I’m a libertarian

I don’t shop at Wal-Mart because I loathe its overall experience. A few pennies extra is a small price for the (by comparison) more upscale presentation Target offers. Yet, I agree with George Will’s column today demonstrating how stupid the Democratic party is in its anti-economics crusade against Wal-Mart. Here’s a simple highlight:

People who buy their groceries from Wal-Mart — it has one-fifth of the nation’s grocery business — save at least 17 percent. But because unions are strong in many grocery stores trying to compete with Wal-Mart, unions are yanking on the Democratic Party’s leash, demanding laws to force Wal-Mart to pay wages and benefits higher than those that already are high enough to attract 77 times as many applicants than there were jobs at this store.

Demand creates supply, unless politicians get in the way. Demand won’t go away, as the Democrats hope. The supply disappears, or worse, becomes diluted to something that satisfies no one. In this case, Wal-Mart pays more than it should, passing those costs onto customers who don’t want to pay. The only people who get what they want are the politicians.

Yet, I have a disagreement with Mr. Will’s column:

Before they went on their bender of indignation about Wal-Mart (customers per week: 127 million), liberals had drummed McDonald’s (customers per week: 175 million) out of civilized society because it is making us fat, or something. So, what next? Which preferences of ordinary Americans will liberals, in their role as national scolds, next disapprove? Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet?

It’s a small point, but painting liberals as our national scolds is nowhere near generous enough in placing blame. How liberals treat the Wal-Mart issue is telling, but only of the sense of superiority politicians of all political stripes take in telling others what to do. Mr. Will is trying to make a point, but it’s applicable to every person in political power.

Telling customers Americans they shouldn’t want what they want is a losing long-term strategy.