Rules for Wally World on the High Desert Plantation
Expanded from the 10-1-00 Sparks (Nev.) Tribune
Here in the High Desert Outback of the American Dream, we don't put many restrictions on private enterprise. Life is cheap and so are the wages.
Our largest employers are all closet corporate welfare queens, skimming hundreds of millions in public money every year.
Which is why you won't catch this flaming liberal supporting any of the bond issues to raise taxes on next month's ballot. Until the big boys start paying a fair share, don't expect me to cough up any more for trifles like courts, parks, schools and roads.
It's just too easy to go into business in these parts. If you don't think so, let's look at the qualifications needed.
1. A track record of royally screwing over your workers.
2. If you offer health insurance at all, make it so expensive that most of your employees can't afford it.
3. Keep as many on part time as possible. If they complain they can't make ends meet, remind them that they probably qualify for welfare and food stamps.
4. Don't be afraid to discriminate for any reason, because there is seldom a price to pay.
5. In the rare instance that some poor lout complains, the odds are you can stretch the administrative and court battles out so long that the worker will give up, quit, or just die of old age.
6. Spend a big advertising budget to defuse future criticism from the ad-dependent news media.
7. When you make a piddling contribution to some charity, stage a big event around it to make it seem like the second coming of Christ.
8. Never talk about the fact that you send almost all the money out of town just about every day.
9. Deftly pat the right backs and buss the right butts. Most high officials become awestruck by attention from a major corporation.
10. Don't be afraid to openly lie to achieve your profitability goals. There's no penalty for doing so here on the business-friendly High Desert Plantation.
The above describe just about any Nevada gambling operation, as well as the mining industry and much of our manufacturing and service base.
But this day I come not to bash all big business with a broad shovel, I come to bury Wal-Mart, an outfit eminently qualified to purvey in these parts.
Wally World wants to put a 24/7 big box store in northwest Reno, not far from my house. I live far enough away that I can take alternative routes, but God help those who must drive, bike or gasp walk near McCarran and Seventh on regular basis.
Official: Wal-Mart "very" interested in Pahrump Valley . Company abandons plan for superstore just inside Clark County line.
A recent State of Nevada study blames proliferation of low-wage jobs for driving state and local governments to raise taxes.
The area is already very congested. Existing roads cannot handle the growth. People have been killed in horrendous wrecks right where Wal-Mart wants to build.
The original plan for the site called for an urban plaza, open space, even a neighborhood movie theater.
The Reno City Council pretty much scotched that idea when it granted liberal corporate welfare for anyone who would build a downtown movie house.
As with so many other projects, once the grand idea has been aborted, somebody comes in with a monstrosity.
Much the same happened to the site of the proposed Centennial Plaza Resort across from the Reno-Sparks Convention Center. Downtown casino interests killed a planned project which would have made us a first class resort destination in the mid-1980s.
Beset by increasing property taxes after the zoning was changed from agricultural to commercial, the owners had to do something.
That location now has hot and cold running shopping centers, including (rimshot) a Wal-Mart.
Such development costs the community more than it returns in jobs and taxes. Wal-Mart's predatory practices actually result in a net employment loss as smaller businesses fold.
Wally World now has well over 300 vacant big boxes all across the country. They think nothing of closing one and creating instant urban blight.
I submit exactly that can happen with the two existing Wal-Marts in Reno, neither of which offers groceries.
Does it make sense to open a store to compete with yourself just 4.75 miles away? That's the driving distance between the Northtowne Wal-Mart and the proposed northwest Reno big box.
That's probably about the same distance as the current Kietzke Lane store from the proposed DaMonte Ranch location south of town.
Of course, they could leave all four open until they've run many small, medium and large sized enterprises out of business.
Wal-Mart ads wave the flag and talk about American made goods when much of their merchandise comes from third-world child labor sweatshops and prisons.
They tout rolling back prices. Has anyone done a market basket comparison of a broad range of items? Repeat a lie long enough and people believe the image.
They even advertise their friendly senior citizen "greeters." Those good people are actually low-paid, untitled and untrained security guards whose job it is to follow you around to make sure you don't shoplift. But at least they smile when they do it.
This Tuesday at 6:00 p.m., the Reno City Council hears a staff report and may vote on
Wal-Mart's application. Please show up at City Hall and bring your neighbors. Watch the proceedings on Sierra Nevada Community Access Television (SNCAT).
Wal-Mart is symptomatic of the second stage cancer which afflicts this country. Pressure from the likes of Wally World forces manufacturers to move jobs overseas to cut labor costs. Then, those goods are sold back to the workers of this country who are increasingly less able to pay for them because they must work more hours for less money.
Be well. Raise hell.
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Copyright 2000-2005 © Andrew Barbano
Andrew Barbano is a 31-year Nevadan, a member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413 and editor of NevadaLabor.com. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988. For more detailed research, especially on Wal-Mart, use the search engine at the front page of this site.
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