Thursday, November 24, 2005

Huffington Post

The folks at HuffPo were good enough to run the following op-ed yesterday.


In Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged the productive, inventive minds of the world are constantly belittled and attacked by the envious and agenda-driven in a society whose squeaky wheel gets the most grease. Sound familiar?

Wal-Mart, hate it or love it, will always be the subject of controversy. I set out on my own to find out what makes the retail giant and employer of over 1 million Americans tick, and I made a film about Wal-Mart, called Why Wal-Mart Works, and Why that Drives Some People C-R-A-Z-Y.

Why does Wal-Mart make some people crazy? Because they started selling groceries in California, that's why. A certain union got unhinged and funded a staff of 35 at WalmartWatch to do nothing but use member dues to pester Wal-Mart. Is it a prudent use of union dues to pick on a store most of their dues-paying members enjoy shopping at? Unions and assorted special interests (the National Petroleum Marketers Association, hmm...) are comically obsessing on a store 138 million people voluntarily shop at every week. It's just a store. The anti-Wal-Mart campaign is the biggest waste of time and resources since the last 3 Star Wars movies.

Speaking of Hollywood, why are they picking on Wal-Mart? Wal-Mart is Hollywood's biggest customer, responsible for nearly 40% of DVD sales. Except of course, my film's DVD, which they won't carry. Check out SAG's website, Wal-Mart is a guild signatory. Did Robert Greenwald's anti-Wal-Mart film use union crews and pay guild wages? Just asking...

Has Wal-Mart lost the life savings of investors, as WorldCom did? Did Wal-Mart just fire 30,000 workers, many of them union, as GM just did? Does Wal-Mart stiff its workers on their pensions, as the airlines are doing? No, no, and no. Wal-Mart saves families nearly $2,000 a year on average, Wal-Mart is hiring, and even part-timers at Wal-Mart get an employer match in their 401-k!

I firmly believe no special interest group in this nation benefits the poor and blue collar as much as Wal-Mart does. Ask a single Mom where she shops. I'll tell you where she shops. Money is freedom, and by saving families money, as is its mission (Always Low Prices), Wal-Mart literally provides their customers more freedom in their daily lives.

Wal-Mart's detractors are focused and well organized in their sub-optimal media assault on the company. I think that Wal-Mart believes that by doing their best to fulfill their responsibilities to their associates and customers, the need to defend their success and innovations should be an afterthought. In today's world, it's not.

In Atlas Shrugged John Galt is a fabulous businessman and inventor, yet is constantly criticized for benefiting society as a whole through his innovation and success. In the book, the question is famously asked, "Who is John Galt?"

Sam Walton is John Galt.