My friend Ron Souers, a resident of Montgomery County, Maryland, attended a County Council meeting that addressed the question of whether or not Wal-Mart and other big-box retailers will be allowed to build more stores in that upscale County.
Ron reports the following to me about the meeting:
I heard the usual arguments; large retail stores will bankrupt established businesses, cause traffic jams, burden the sewage system etc… But I had to scratch my head when I heard the following arguments:
From the Montgomery County Education Association: Children will do poorly in school because large retail outlets will pay low wages causing the children to be under nourished such that they will be unable to concentrate. The money saved by lower prices at these large retail centers, will be less than the tax dollars spent on social programs to supplement these lower wages.
The Montgomery County Education Association’s assertion, in other words, is that the arrival into the local labor market of a new and highly successful employer, as well as of greater competition among retailers for consumers’ dollars, will reduce living standards.
The Montgomery County Education Association sorely needs some economics education.