If Only Wal-Mart Would Start Supplying K-12 Schooling!

by Don Boudreaux on May 16, 2011

in Competition, Complexity & Emergence, Education, Wal-Mart

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal:

Critical of my argument that the quality of K-12 education would be higher if K-12 schools – like grocery stores – had to compete directly for customers, Liana Neyer writes “low-income earners and people living in rural areas have limited access to high-quality supermarkets or fresh produce in their neighborhoods” (Letters, May 16).

First, my argument isn’t that people in poor neighborhoods enjoy access to groceries equal in quality to the access enjoyed by people in wealthy neighborhoods.  Rather, I argue that more competition in K-12 education would make the schooling available to people in poor neighborhoods better than it is now.  However relatively lacking is the selection of groceries in poor neighborhoods, grocers there still must compete for customers’ dollars – a requirement that obliges those grocers to be more responsive to their customers than are those neighborhoods’ public schools which receive their revenue, not from voluntarily paying customers, but from taxpayers forced to pay regardless of how well or poorly their schools perform.  Consider, for example, that 47 percent of adults in Detroit are functionally illiterate while approximately 0 percent are starving or wanting for the likes of toothpaste, paper towels, and laundry detergent.

Second, as with education, low-income Americans’ relatively poor access to groceries is caused partly by misguided government policies.  As I write, DC’s government is threatening to stop Wal-Mart from opening stores (which would sell groceries) in low-income DC neighborhoods.  Is there better evidence than Wal-Mart’s efforts to open stores in poor neighborhoods that competition would serve poor Americans well if only government would step aside and let entrepreneurs compete freely – in supplying schooling no less than in supplying groceries – for consumer dollars?

Donald J. Boudreaux

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Slappy McFee May 16, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Sorry Don, that wasn’t the response that caught my eye. It was this one:

“Mr. Boudreax is barking up the wrong tree. If he believes that the free market will produce excellence in education, he probably believes that the best strawberries are available only in gourmet grocery stores. He ought to stop by a roadside stand and have a taste”

You see, in this world, roadside stands are not an example of the free-market at work. I’m going to go curl up in the corner and weep for humanity.

*note, sarcasm heavy

Methinks1776 May 16, 2011 at 5:20 pm

How hard were the editors laughing when they chose to print that letter?

Slappy McFee May 16, 2011 at 5:29 pm

They had to be giggling like mad. Almost as much as I enjoyed “keep your government hands off my Medicare”. No finer examples of the wonders that are the products of government education.

Dan May 16, 2011 at 9:51 pm

I wondered why the bad responses to Prof. Boudreaux article were printed. For entertainment purposes? Roadside stand selling strawberries as an example of good govt?

DG Lesvic May 17, 2011 at 12:08 am

I too wondered why such an intelligently run journal printed such idiotic letters.

Dan May 17, 2011 at 12:24 am

Most of replies in today’s paper were full of opposition to articles. It’s good to read for better understanding of another perspective, but the response to the Prof. Boudreaux were nonsense.
The fear captured in the negative responses to any SS changes. I welcome changes that put more of my money into a private account.
The ant and the grasshopper……. The grasshopper can eat beans and rice. I worked and saved, now I shall eat what I choose.

Stone Glasgow May 17, 2011 at 1:13 am

Is the Wall Street Journal lucid? I thought they were on the same page as the New York Times.

John V May 16, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Yeah. I saw that. How galactically stupid can some people be?

I seriously believe, and our resident idiot Muirgeo is evidence of this, that such people simply do NOT know what the free market is.

Tom May 16, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Wow. Do you guys feel better now that you’ve got your liberal-insult of-the-day in?

Don’t you think the more interesting point is that Don felt compelled to respond to her and concede that supermarkets in poor areas are of comparably lesser quality? So why not attempt to wrestle with that challenge? How do you get supermarkets (or schools) in poorer areas to be better and reduce relative disparities?

Methinks1776 May 16, 2011 at 8:42 pm

Tom, the reason you liberals are such easy targets is that you don’t process information well. Read Don’s post. He already “wrestled” with that.

There are a few other reasons that these areas are “under-served” by supermarkets, but government meddling is certainly one of them. Lack of demand for lettuce is another. You know…”lesser quality” is in the eye of the beholder. To you white liberals, lettuce may be quality food, but in the ghetto, it’s mostly a condiment. Would you like to proceed to condescend to these people about their food choices?

Stone Glasgow May 17, 2011 at 1:16 am

I love you Methinks.

clc360 May 17, 2011 at 11:39 am

Wow!! that was an interesting way to frame your argument. White liberals versus the ghetto? Have you eaten in this this “ghetto” you reference? The people of the “ghetto” view lettuce as a condiment interesting thesis.

Methinks1776 May 17, 2011 at 3:56 pm

first of all, right back atcha, Stone.

Secondly, yes, clc360. Back when I used to live in the South Bronx and the Lower East Side ghettos. I remember it well.
The larger point, of course, is people’s eating habits are none of your business and goods available should be judged through their prism, not yours. Any other questions?

RC May 16, 2011 at 8:49 pm


You’ve heard of vouchers, haven’t you? Schools will be better in poorer areas if consumers will have more money – producers will respond.

Although IMO vouchers should be complemented with something I call “education saving accounts” – so that the parents share part of the cost of financing their children’s education. This will prevent parasitism, i.e. the situation when people breed many kids (since they will receive cash for education anyway) and thus are a harsh burden on the taxpayer.


clc360 May 17, 2011 at 11:43 am

Have you ever taught school? Moreover have you ever taught school in a low socio-economic district? It will take more than vouchers and other money to fix and I use the term loosely school districts in poor areas.

Dan May 18, 2011 at 2:14 am

So equal outcome is the goal?
Equal outcome at what point would be acceptable?
Graduation???? College??? Under 30 monetary successes??? 40 and monetary successes??? at retirement???

When Obama and progressives preach about equality……..they mean as equal an outcome as they can mandate………… except for themselves, of course………

Ken May 16, 2011 at 9:40 pm


Apparently, you are immune to the “liberal insult of-the-day”, so let me add this: you are a retard. Don explicitly concedes that groceries in poor areas will be of lower quality that of wealthy areas, jackass. The point is that if the gov ran supermarkets the way it runs education, the quality of groceries in poor areas would be just above subsistence.

It’s a non-argument to say more expensive things are of higher quality (typically anyway) than less expensive things. However, it is universally recognized that the absolute lowest quality products are those that are “free” provided by the gov.


Tom May 16, 2011 at 11:18 pm

Mr. Ad hominem (aka Ken),

Clearly you missed the whole point of my question. So then riddle me this. As you say, Don’s whole point was “that groceries in poor areas will be of lower quality that of wealthy areas, (pointless expletive).” If this is the case, do you see a problem here? Or is the point that poor people are, well poor and so that’s their fault and they get the quality of education they deserve…i.e. can pay for. Now, as you’re getting ready to dump some more mindless dribble about how I’m some huge liberal (not true by the way)…let’s establish the fact that yes, absent a market solution, education would be worse. So…back to my original question….how do you make the market outcome in poorer areas even better?

Methinks1776 May 16, 2011 at 11:44 pm

Tom, the reason poor people get the education they get is because they’ve been swept into ghettos and forced to go to school there. They don’t have the option to go to a better school. In fact, nobody who goes to public schools has that option.

I don’t know how many times you need to see this written before you stop spouting endless rubbish and pay attention, but here goes one more time:

Force the schools to compete for students. Give each poor child (indeed, every child) the OPTION to attend the school they choose rather than the school government chooses for them. I presume you understand the effects of competition on product offered? Do you have a problem with giving poor people options?

Dan May 17, 2011 at 12:17 am

MAKE the market outcome in poorer areas better? You don’t. Offer what the locals want or can get with their welfare or other limited means. If nobody is buying apples, why would the store keep putting them on the shelf to lose money as the produce expires. You do know many of the stores offer up their soon to expire or day olds, within regulation of course, foods to local charities and food banks.
WHAT DOES LOWER QUALITY FOODS MEAN???? Too ambiguous. Explain…..

Ken May 17, 2011 at 10:04 am

Tom (aka jackass),

Riddle me this – are public schools worse in poor areas or are they the same in rich areas? In fact, they are worse, much worse. In DC, the amount spent per child exceeds the dollar amount spent on the most expensive private schools. In other words, the schools are worse not because less money is flowing into it, but because bureaucrats (and you) don’t give a damn about poor people.


Seth May 17, 2011 at 11:13 am

“Or is the point that poor people are, well poor and so that’s their fault and they get the quality of education they deserve…”

There’s a some points here, but that’s not one of them.

One point is that your definition of quality may differ from someone else, but you don’t recognize that.

Another point is that since you don’t recognize that others may disagree with your preferences, you think it’s okay to force your preferences on others.

Yet another point is that when you use government to force your preferences on others — say your preference for grocery stores or your preference for schools — that makes things even worse.

Still another point is, that even though things are worse under this forced preference model, folks like you will rationalize away the bad results because you believe the process is well intended and you will pat yourself on the back.

What you don’t realize is that forcing your preferences on others actually is not well-intended. It’s selfish and elitist.

John V May 16, 2011 at 10:00 pm

In addition to what was said already:

Talk about missing the forest for the trees. What do you think the whole point of the discussion is??

Can you not simply just concede and appreciate that THAT is what the whole point of it all is?

vidyohs May 16, 2011 at 10:54 pm

Tom, Tom, Tom,

Why not just post on the HUFPO or Democraticunderground, you’re bias and ignorance couldn’t be more obvious.

Now you have received some really good replies which I know the truths of which you will ignore. However, I am a tad more blunt than those who graced you with somewhat polite replies above.

You ask: “How do you get supermarkets (or schools) in poorer areas to be better and reduce relative disparities?”

The answer is that the reasons that poorer areas (ghettos) or rural areas mostly black, do not have the same commercial service of richer areas is that they don’t offer the same profit potential. The real reason they don’t offer the same profit potential is that in fact they don’t really give a shit enough to make any effort beyond trekking to the SS office or the Welfare office and sticking out their hands. And, sir Tom, you can say the same pretty much about their attitudes towards education. “It don’t be take’n a whole lot of smarts to fill out a welfare application when de lady be do’in it fer ya, and then you juss make’n yo X in the spot she point at.”, and you home free baby, ya know what I be saying?

Tommy Tom Tom, little liberal, people in life are all exactly where they want to be, and there ain’t no way in hell you are going to change that. They have to want the change and they have to make the effort.

Now go back and look at the school drop out stats and try and figure out where the lack of desire for education is the highest.

Hell, look at the stats and try and figure out where the honest desire for fresh garden greens are the least important.

The market is telling you everything you need to know and like the good liberal you are……….you shut your eyes and plug your ears…….ain’t no way in hell you are going to change your enculturated beliefs.

Tom May 16, 2011 at 11:22 pm


Thank you for your reply. It’s what I figured to be true. Poor people are poor because they choose to be. Got it.

Gil May 16, 2011 at 11:37 pm

I would actually agree with you in the sense that there’s no reason why an ordinary person ought to be functionally illiterate and innumerate other than the fact they don’t particularly value such skills. Once you have a basic concept of reading then you can keep reading and learn yourself a large vocabulary. If anything, literacy and numeracy can be easily self-taught and generally poor people who want to improve themselves (cue migrants?) put a high price on education.

Dan May 17, 2011 at 12:18 am

Oh, I’m sure it’s the corporate world oppressing people into poverty or rich people hoarding cash…..

muirgeo May 17, 2011 at 1:03 am

“Tommy Tom Tom, little liberal, people in life are all exactly where they want to be, and there ain’t no way in hell you are going to change that. They have to want the change and they have to make the effort.”

Yes Tom for you see vidyohs was born a poor black child. He remember the days, sittin’ on the porch with my family, singin’ and dancin’ down in Mississippi…

dan May 17, 2011 at 2:29 am

So, only black people are poor? only black people are the ones we are considering for govt intervention?

What does color have to do with anything?

You sit around watching tv all day, and the likely outcome will transcend ethnic heritage.

vidyohs May 17, 2011 at 10:25 am


And your reply just affirms exactly what I said, t’ain’t no way you’re going to learn truth.

Andrew Carniege came to America as a young boy with nothing except his desire. Through his own efforts at education and developing professional knowledge and skill he became the richest man in America in his day.

Then that greedy capitalist used a great deal of his wealth to endow libraries in cities and towns all across America.

Now liberal Tom, why did Andrew do that? And, what did those libraries stock in the way of books? Did they just stock entertainment, or did they stock as much in the way of knowledge books as they could?

Bingo liberal Tom, you got it right, they stocked knowledge books because Andrew (like Gil above) understood that each individual can educate himself if by nothing else just reading a wide range of topics and thinking about what he read. Why gasp, liberal Tom, they could even read, learn, and then go out and do for themselves. When they did, lo and behold, they left their poverty behind.

So are poor people poor as a choice. Yes. Anyone can change their circumstances.

sandre May 17, 2011 at 10:56 am

Muirdouche is a white supremacist who thinks all black people are condemned to poverty because of their color. Jerk.

Stone Glasgow May 17, 2011 at 1:25 am

Do you feel that we should aim to make all people have equal supermarkets? If so, how decides what to put in all the supermarkets? Do you imagine that your opinion of “healthy” foods is the only correct opinion?

Joshua May 16, 2011 at 5:10 pm

I’m not against privately delivered education, especially if the public system is slowly phased out. I think education needs to be improved. The teachers would be a huge hurdle in implementing anything like this of course. Teachers feel like they work hard, but in reality they are pretty comlpacent and full of excuses. Tailoring lessons and excercises to each student and continuous ongoing testing is needed to maximize results. Computers are being used in this way in several pilot programs, I’m optimistic for the future here, but of course, other countries are making huge gains, and while everyone should benefit, the number of nice jobs probably won’t be much higher as a proportion. I think this will create alot of people who think they are better than the jobs on offer, which I already see happening. The workforce of the future will be under tremendous pressure no matter what happens.

kyle8 May 16, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Believe me, as a public school teacher myself. The average teacher is pretty good, and pretty competent, At least in my city. But your hands are tied in so many ways. Tendentious material, unworkable teaching strategies, and difficulty enforcing rules are all problems we face.

And my School district is one of the best in the nation.

T Rich May 16, 2011 at 7:33 pm

I agree Kyle. I taught in a relatively successful school district, but ours was one of the tougher schools. We had a student population that was majority minority. Many of the students were average to good; however, in the required classes, the poorest performing and behaving students could completely derail learning for all students. The same students were sent for discipline day after day and would receive detention day after day. They did not care and the parents were not effective at changing their behavior.

The teachers were all very strong and knowledgable in their subject areas; however, the administrators did not have enough autonomy to deal with the bad actors. I felt badly for the good admins who wanted to help get rid of the bad apples but were prevented by the county’s rules.

Much like the idea that free markets in education would be beneficial to students, I believe that eliminating compulsory education (forcing students to decide whether they attended) after age 14 would likewise improve the caliber and desire of the students. If parents had to take responsibility for kids that were failing in high school and could not warehouse them from 7 til 3:30, they might actually push them to perform and behave.

The problems with education are many and well-documented. Greater competition and forcing ownership of education where it belongs – with the students and parents – would be two big steps in the right direction.

John V May 16, 2011 at 5:42 pm

This lady, Liana, suffers from the same analytical problem that plagues so many leftists. She says:

“Perhaps these people would be better off if supermarkets were run like public schools.”

Huh? The whole point is that public schools are not doing well…if not failing…where they are most demographically challenged. And you turns around and says something that totally flies in the face of reality.

So, because she anecdotally says that “low-income earners and people living in rural areas have limited access to high-quality supermarkets or fresh produce in their neighborhoods”, the answer is that the “public option” is better? Why? Even assuming the gravity of her critique is true, the fact remains that all people have access to supermarkets with a minimum decency of quality that is totally lacking in the educational counterparts. And she simply snidely says that these supermarkets should be run like public schools….the very public schools that are a total failure in these same areas. Real nice. That’s rich. If the market provides a “suboptimal” result for the poor in terms supermarkets, that is NOT a green light for the government to come in and do even worse.

Tom May 16, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Don’t you think the more interesting point is that Don felt compelled to respond to her and concede that supermarkets in poor areas are of comparably lesser quality? So why not attempt to wrestle with that challenge. How do you get supermarkets (or schools) in poorer areas to be better?

Ken May 16, 2011 at 9:43 pm


“How do you get supermarkets (or schools) in poorer areas to be better?”

Are you just dumb or unable to read? Competition, competition, competition. Since public schools are run by the gov, they can actually suck out loud to the point of having a staggering illiteracy rate in poor neighborhoods, but those same school administrators keep their jobs, the schools don’t lose any funding, and after 20 years crappy teachers get money and benefits for the rest of their life.

The way to get shitty schools in poor neighborhoods is to make education “free” run the gov. At least when a private sector company makes a shitty product, they go out of business. In gov, those agencies simply expand.


vidyohs May 16, 2011 at 11:00 pm

Competition is an answer, but there is a better one. Supermarkets, neighborhood markets, roadside stands, all offer what they know the customers desire. If we walk into a long surviving rural market serving a poor area and see only a limited selection of fresh produce, then I can guarantee that the market manager is offering what he knows will sell, not what some idiot liberal thinks should be there.

Dan May 17, 2011 at 12:03 am

Govt should force availability of healthier food choices, thereby eliminating the poor quality and unhealthy products.
Maybe forbidding sacked lunches at school to assure a healthier meal. Could have cameras in place to capture image of each kids meal at checkout and their plate before discarding. Then discipline could follow for not eating your meat. How can you have any pudding, if you don’t eat your meat?

vidyohs May 17, 2011 at 6:22 am



Comparing the looeny lefty to a brick is very appropriate, particularly in mental skills.

BV May 17, 2011 at 12:06 pm


That is the funniest thing I have read in a LONG time. You, sir, deserve a gold star for that comment.

“Wrong, do it again!”

yet another Dave May 17, 2011 at 10:29 am

Tom, this is the second time you posted the same thing. As others already pointed out, you evidently missed the point that Don IS discussing the challenge of making schools better in poorer areas.

But I have a question for you: what do you think would be a good beginning toward improving education (or grocery access) in poor areas?

Randy May 16, 2011 at 5:55 pm

I grew up in a town of 5,000. We had 3 competing grocery stores and 1 High School. It would have been great to have 3 competing high schools as well.

So what about the football team you ask? It would have been better too. It would have been run by a private organization instead of by the schools and would have allowed a few great guys I knew to play that the school would not.

CRC May 16, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Or maybe it would not have existed at all. Or maybe it would have existed separately from the school altogether. Or maybe there would have been two teams (with three schools). Or maybe…

Who knows. When the money used to provide services is obtained through taxation (i.e., force) we don’t really have a true measure of what people as a whole want provided…only what the voting majority (note that this may not be an actual majority of people) want. And even then only for a given election/ballot season since later voting populations rarely undo what previous voting populations have started usually because the momentum is too hard to stop.

T Rich May 16, 2011 at 7:39 pm

The topic of sports is separate from education. However, in many locales, private soccer clubs are the place the best players perform and excel. My brother-in-law is a coach of one of these clubs in Arizona and does well for the players. His son never played for the high school team, but was a full scholarship player in division one soccer. So, this is an excellent example of what the private sector/non-profit sector can do to provide for the desires of the community.

CRC May 16, 2011 at 8:23 pm

“The topic of sports is separate from education.”

I agree it SHOULD be.

Unfortunately in many American public schools (primarily High School) it’s deeply embedded whether we want it or not.

It SHOULD be completely separate.

In fact, if we were to all agree that government should provide an “educational safety net” (i.e., a very basic level of education…”the 3 R’s”…to prevent core illiteracy) then most of what the public schools do today (including the football programs they so dearly love and they’re so deeply proud of) would be eliminated and/or privatized.

Yes, it should be a separate topic…but it isn’t in reality.

nailheadtom May 16, 2011 at 9:06 pm

If there was a disease that crippled as many teen-age boys as high school football, billions of dollars would be spent trying to find a cure for it. There is no way that a 15 to 17 year old is capable of weighing the risks and making the decision to offer up his body for the entertainment of the local townsfolk. The idea that high school football is part of “physical education” is ridiculous. The overwhelming majority of high school players never wear a uniform again after the last game of their senior season. If physical education were the goal, the programs would be in tennis, swimming, cycling, golf and other sports that can be played with one’s friends or spouse well past middle age. College-age men are old enough to accept the risks of football. The high school game is on the same level as cock fighting and bull fighting.

Ken Mueller May 16, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Choosing letters to print in response to some letter or article is a fine art. Perhaps the editors did not have much choice.

gregworrel May 16, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Detroit–my hometown. We used to make cars, now we make a good bad example.

Tom May 16, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Don’t be down on yourself Greg. I’m from Flint, so I know the feeling. However, here’s a reason not to feel bad.

Ken May 16, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Wow, Tom, you’ve really out-stupided yourself with this comment: higher taxes are a reason to not feel bad? As if higher taxes and regulation isn’t what killed Michigan to begin with?

A good measure of economic strength is NOT how much is collected in taxes. A good measure is how much wealth is being produced, not being consumed by the most inefficient sector of any economy – the gov.


Dan May 16, 2011 at 11:28 pm

I’m from Detroit area, also. Their social policies and heavy taxation, regulations is the disease. An inbred sense of entitlement.

Dan May 16, 2011 at 11:44 pm

Unionized grocery stores disallow for cost cutting measures like auto checkout, lowered staffing for slow times, management stepping in to check people out when a line forms. Can’t tell ya how aggravating it is to wait in long lines when there is management standing there not allowed to assist due to asinine union rules.
Grocery store chains were eliminated. From Farmer jacks to A&P, to lcal vegetable markets. All gone. Bars open up on corners. Walmart is present, but distanced much more than what I am accustomed to in Phoenix metro. Kroger and Meijer are also distanced. Profits are down and to remain solvent stores must keep deliveries limited to less stops and total operations are minimized. Can’t keep stores open at losses to remain charitable.

As for lowered quality foods….. What does any liberal mean by that? Explain yourself. If store brand is selling better than major brands due to prices, are you really going to blame the supermarket.
Raise pricing in other neighborhoods that are more affluent to subsidize name brand products in less affluent areas? Really??
Than I will shop at that store for the cheaper product….. Just stupid!!

Dan May 16, 2011 at 11:47 pm

But GM will not pay federal taxes………..

gregworrel May 17, 2011 at 6:56 am

Tom, I don’t feel bad at all. I think Detroit provides an excellent example of how federal, state, and local governments can screw up a good thing. Instead of forcing the auto companies to face competition and adapt, tariffs were raised, and “voluntary” quotas were assigned. There is still a 25% tariff on imported trucks.

The state mandated union membership and allowed the near monopoly U.S. auto industry to rip off the American public while providing above-market wages and benefits. The state still mandates union membership while jobs go to right to work states.

The city of Detroit has long been a cesspool of corruption and high taxes with public employees working at high rates of pay to do hardly anything. At a rental property I own (vacant at the time), someone (the next door neighbor I believe) left a single black garbage bag of leaves under a tree in the front yard. Some city employee came by and issued a $200 citation. No warning, no excuses accepted, no option but to pay it. The city is antagonistic towards its citizens.

People are moving out of the city in droves due to the stupidly high taxes, near non-existent police response (45 minutes on average to a 911 call), and poorly run schools. Poor supermarkets are not the problem.

jorod May 16, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Don’t forget. Poor neighborhoods largely exist because the government moved the middle class from the city to the suburbs in 1960s and ’70s through its socialist housing policies. The HUD scam of that era was the original subprime housing debacle.

Mao_Dung May 17, 2011 at 2:33 am

You need to provide some data to show that poor people are better off with a Wal-Mart in their neighborhood. How do you know that WM won’t kill competition there. We can assume that Wal-Mart will be better off because of their designs on their ghetto customers. Will Wal-Mart sell guns and ammo in a drug and gang infested area? What is their corporate social responsibility platform? Remember, too, that the employees wages will be partially recycled into more profits for WM because the employees will likely shop there. Do employees get an employee’s discount for shopping where they work? What do the employees get beside a felony background check, and a miserable paycheck?

dan May 17, 2011 at 2:45 am

Let’s see……….. according to liberals…….. there are not supermarkets in poor neighborhoods are within adequate traveling distance……………… or there is poor quality food……….. Walmart brings many different levels of food……. assuming YOU PEOPLE mean name brand foods as opposed to off brand…….. I still have not gotten any answers to explain low quality food.
Walmart brings food and STUFF at usually lower prices than the 7/11 or Circle K, yet those convenience stores should be considered when opening up a Walmart?
What competition?
Walmart does not sell guns and ammos in all of its stores.
let’s see………… no wages…… living on welfare without any chance to gain employment experience and no sense of self worth………or work at Walmart…….. gain experience……………look for a job somewhere else that wants someone who has been employed rather than the slack who hasnt worked in years……….

Ron H. May 17, 2011 at 4:22 am


How do you know that WM won’t kill competition there.

Maybe they will. Do you think they will raise prices sky high once they have a monopoly?

We can assume that Wal-Mart will be better off because of their designs on their ghetto customers.

Designs? You mean their plan to force ghetto customers to pay less for a much wider selection of products than they’re used to?

Will Wal-Mart sell guns and ammo in a drug and gang infested area?

We can only hope so, honest citizens in these neighborhoods need to be able to protect themselves from well armed gangs and drug dealers. You know what they say, when seconds count, the police are just minutes away.

What is their corporate social responsibility platform?

I can’t even begin to address this nonsense.

Remember, too, that the employees wages will be partially recycled into more profits for WM because the employees will likely shop there.

That’s terrible! Do you mean these poor employees will be exposed to a wider selection of products AND be charged lower prices than they’ve ever known, just like the poor customers? Perhaps forbidding them to shop where they work, and instead requiring them to travel further, and pay higher prices for things they need is fairer. I’m sure they will agree, and thank you for making it possible.

Do employees get an employee’s discount for shopping where they work?

Perhaps, but why should they get additional compensation in this form?

What do the employees get beside a felony background check, and a miserable paycheck?

Gee, a job, a chance to improve their standard of living, a chance to learn valuable skills so that they can earn higher pay in the future, health care coverage, and of course there IS that miserable paycheck.

If you are joking with this comment, I can’t tell, and I apologize ahead of time. But if you are serious, then I have to ask how anyone can say so many stupid things in one short comment?

T Rich May 17, 2011 at 9:51 am

Dung the troll has commented too many times in this vein. I don’t believe that he is being sarcastic as the posts lack any glimmer of wit in them. As to how he “can say so many stupid things in one short comment?” Well, that is his (probably one and only) special gift.

yet another Dave May 17, 2011 at 10:26 am

I’m convinced Mao_Dung is a satirist. If I’m right, the fact that so many take such exceedingly ridiculous comments seriously must be particularly amusing to her.

brotio May 17, 2011 at 3:23 pm


ArrowSmith does a lot of the same satire. The difference is; Arrow posts more than satire, so he only gets newcomers to respond to the satire.

Methinks1776 May 17, 2011 at 5:02 pm

I thought satire was supposed to be at least somewhat amusing.

Ron H. May 17, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Perhaps its not satire, but just regular old trolling.

(music plays) “Come let’s troll, troll across the floor…”

From 1957, the Diamonds singing “The Troll”

yet another Dave May 18, 2011 at 10:08 am

@Methinks – I didn’t mean to suggest it was good satire (’cause it’s usually not).

Methinks1776 May 18, 2011 at 10:12 am


I have a distant cousin who “reasons” exactly this way. I don’t think it’s satire. If it is, it’s not satire worth reading (IMO, of course).

Ohlin May 17, 2011 at 2:58 am

There is a place where schools have to compete for students, where private schools have the same sources of funding and and responsibilities as public schools and where even for-profit firms can set up, or buy, schools and collect public funding (vouchers), just as long as they attract students and fulfill their obligations. In fact, teacher wages are set by individual bargaining between teachers and schools so that it pays to be a good teacher.

Ironically, the place is called Sweden, and the voucher system and entry conditions were set up by the social democrats and the individual wage bargaining came about through a union initiative.

For some evidence, see:

Slappy McFee May 17, 2011 at 9:23 am

@Tom –

Let’s make a deal. You go to HuffPo and convince them that roadside fruit stands are an excellent example of the free market at work, and I will continue to mock Tea-Partiers that want a military empire and want the government out of their Medicare.


clc360 May 17, 2011 at 11:52 am

The only way to have truly free market education is to eliminate the idea of compulsory schooling. You can’t have a free market when consumers are forced to have a product a product many don’t want. Car insurance is one thing. I want to drive so I am forced at least in my state to get car insurance. And now I have a choice of which business to patronize for my insurance needs.I am not compelled by a law to get a driver’s license. Only if I want to drive. So eliminate compulsory schooling and those that want an education can compete for slots in schools and those that want to educate can compete for students. There free market education.

Ari May 17, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Even if there are no good supermarkets in poor areas, all a poor person has to do to get to a good supermarket is find a way to get to and from a rich area on a regular basis, and pay for the groceries. Burdensome? Perhaps. And we shouldn’t discount the burden.

But if the poor person wants to go to the good school in the rich area, he doesn’t don’t just have to get there and back every day. He has to MOVE THERE.

Joshua May 17, 2011 at 4:19 pm

I think there is a pretty strong correlation with countries that invest more in the education, health, and potential of their youth reap a stronger country, higher levels of emplyment, higher tax revenues, higher GDP, higher levels of satifaction and social buy in, the list goes on.

Methinks1776 May 17, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Name these magical countries. France? Germany? Ha ha ha!

O May 18, 2011 at 6:10 am

Finland and Sweden perhaps…

Methinks1776 May 18, 2011 at 9:32 am

Sweden’s and Finland’s unemployment rate is usually almost twice the rate in the U.S. unemployment rate. Neither country “invests more in health” – unless you mean the population is culturally more interested in healthier activities. Both countries have lower GDP/capita on a PPP basis. “Satisfaction” is a stupid metric. Lots of people living in poverty in Africa are “satisfied”. I bet we’d have a lot more “social buy-in” if we were as small, homogenous and xenophobic a population as the Swedes and the Fins. Do we really want that? Nope. Can’t be either of those two.

MarketJohnson May 17, 2011 at 5:03 pm

My dad had cancer, but then doctors told him about free markets. He’s been cancer free for 6 years.

Free Markets solve EVERYTHING!

Dan May 18, 2011 at 2:16 am

Govt solves anything???

other than that pesky freedom and seeking happiness thingy….they know how to get rid of that…

MarketJohnson May 18, 2011 at 7:09 am

The point is, no single simple-minded solution solves every problem. You assume because I don’t think complete deregulation of every aspect of our society is the best option, I just want a handout from the government.

There are some people out there who would be essentially slaves in an economy you dream about. Call me crazy, but I’m happy to contribute a share for the satisfaction of knowing I live in a country that doesn’t condone capitalistic slavery.

Marcus May 18, 2011 at 8:08 am

You’re right, no single simple-minded solution solves every problem. Which is precisely why the free-market is so essential. Millions of people creating solutions to countless problems. Not just the politically popular ones we hear about in the news.

John V May 18, 2011 at 8:25 am

MarketJohnson doesn’t think that way.

Dan May 18, 2011 at 9:08 am

you assume I am Libertarian and for emergent society.

Methinks1776 May 18, 2011 at 9:36 am

Uh, “capitalistic slavery”? Do you have any idea what the word “slavery” means? Apparently not.

The only institution that has the ability to bind you as a slave is the government. I don’t care how many variations you can concoct in your head, to enforce slavery, you need government.

Marcus May 18, 2011 at 9:50 am


Jim Crow was a set of LAWS enforced by governments. Which tells us everything we need to know to understand why democratic socialism isn’t just a bad idea, it’s a dangerous one.

clc360 May 18, 2011 at 9:51 am

“The only institution that has the ability to bind you as a slave is the government”

That’s a pretty interesting thesis. I’m not sure if the U.S. Government directly held slaves from 1781-1865. I am sure that slavery provided the capital for capitalism and that the slave-holding class in the American South privately held there “property”.

I think I understand the spirit of your argument just be careful of your terminology.

Methinks1776 May 18, 2011 at 9:58 am


It’s not at all an interesting thesis.

The government does not need to own slaves outright. It doesn’t even need to have laws declaring certain people slaves. All it needs to do is enforce the “rights” of certain people to “own” others.

Without that enforcement, “slaves” can leave with impunity and once that happens, the “slave owners” are that in name only and must compete for these effectively free people.

John V May 18, 2011 at 11:02 am


You miss the forest for the trees. How else could slave owners legally own human beings if not for the force of government to maintain this arrangement by law?

That is the simple point. Like any other legal arrangements involving slavery or discrimination or force, it’s meaningless with government to legitimize it.

yet another Dave May 18, 2011 at 10:25 am

Most here agree that “no single simple-minded solution solves every problem.” However, you have it completely backwards – deregulation (done right – I’m not describing the meddlesome rule changes that get labelled deregulation) seeks to rid us of the single simple-minded “solutions” imposed by governments to allow the innumerable, adaptable, complex, local-knowledge-rich solutions of the free market to flourish.

I suggest you gain at least the tiniest bit of understanding before you criticize something.

Denno May 17, 2011 at 10:22 pm

Am I the only one who thinks that free market education would lead to a system that is better than the 3 tiered Prussian system adopted by nearly every country on earth?
Nothing has stifled education innovation more than government intervention. There has got to be a better way to educate us and make us more productive.

clc360 May 18, 2011 at 9:55 am

Depends on what you mean by free market education. A true free market education would eliminate the need for compulsory schooling. You can not have a free market when the customer is forced by law to consume your product.

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