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07/07/2009

Wages at Wal-Mart (by Russell Roberts)

Shopping at Wal-Mart yesterday, I asked the cashier if she liked her job. Yes, she said, smiling. How long had she been at Wal-Mart? Three months. Where had she worked before? Safeway, the grocery store. Why did she come to Wal-Mart? The pay was better. Really, I asked? How, yes. How were the benefits at Wal-Mart compared to Safeway? Not as good. But she needed the money, she told me. She had a young daughter.

I didn't get to ask her if she had health care coverage at either job. But the conversation reminds me that people prefer different mixes of cash, retirement, health care and so on.

Which is why the political pressure and the threat of coercion that lead to this kind of result is so dangerous and harmful to human beings and other living things.


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