14 September, 2006

Is Katherine Coble Really A Conservative?

Somebody had to ask. (Besides my brother) And since no one really cares, I figured I'd ask all on my own.

Because even though I consider myself to be quite conservative, I'm once again parting with my compatriots on an issue. I get that we--Conservatives--are supposed to be all up in the love for Wal-Mart.

1. They are a non-union shop. (Boo, Unions!)

2. They create jobs. (Yay, Job Growth!)

3. They employ vast numbers of underskilled labour. (Yay, Work Not Welfare!)

4. They sell stuff for cheap. (Yay, Low Prices For OverTaxed Americans!!!)

5. Their store colours are Red, White, And Blue. (Yay, American Flag!)


Frankly, I'm glad they're a non-union shop. That's good. But having worked there, I still think that they actually make the case for unions stronger. I was asked on a few occassions to do work off the clock. I watched my hours reduced from 38.5 to 27.5 to conform to their new "full-time" policy. That's also a way they hire more people. Instead of having 50 people work 38 hour weeks, they'll have 80 people working 27 hour weeks and then boast about the 30 extra jobs they created. This is good?

Yes, they employ underskilled labour. And they'll let you know it, too. I can't count the number of times I heard a manager at our Sam's tell someone "well who else is gonna hire you?" as a way to get that person to do something outside of any normal job description. Like working off the clock. The working off the clock thing is insideous, because my experience of it was never "open your register at 8:00, but don't clock in until 9:00." It was usually catching someone right as they were taking off their coat, expressing some emergency like getting a pallett unloaded quickly, and then letting the person clock in after they were done. That happens, but then your manager is supposed to sign off on an early write-in on your time card. Guess what our managers repeatedly "forgot" to do? And when you'd remind them it was usually greeted by a "who else would hire you?" reply.

And then of course there's all the other good stuff about crushing suppliers that I've babbled about before.

So, while I approve of the Red, White and Blue I'm gonna have to take one step further away from the True Conservative Camp as they lionise Wal-Mart.

Update
Thank heaven for other Libertarians. They post things that make me feel like I'm not dreaming. From our local W.:
Sure Walmart has low prices that are good for poor people. But they also make people poor by refusing to pay what a decent price for the things they sell.

19 Comments:

At 10:59 AM, September 14, 2006, Anonymous glendean said...

Great design Katherine. You know there a lot of conservatives that agree with you, like Phil Valentine for instance.

 
At 11:11 AM, September 14, 2006, Blogger Kat Coble said...

Oh yeah. That makes me feel better.

 
At 11:31 AM, September 14, 2006, Anonymous Roger Abramson said...

Nice headline.

 
At 12:10 PM, September 14, 2006, Anonymous The Conservative/Brother said...

Katherine or Kathy:

Let us be real. Wal-Mart is not an example for conservatives. The concept is good, but it is run with a very liberal agenda.

This week an article articulated how Wal-Mart has joined the gay and lesbian Chamber of Commerce. I did not know a Chamber of Commerce had a sexual orientation. Notwithstanding, Wal-Mart went and supported the organization.

Further, Wal-Mart's Board of Directors has been served by none other than Hilary Clinton. Hilary is no more a conservative, than I am a monkey.

Like all areas in today's society no one entity is all conservative or all liberal. In fact, I am a conservative that serves the environment, by being on a park board and encouraging things like Nature Preserves.

Kate: I was raised with you and have read your blog for nearly one year. Say this with me: "I am a moderate." "I am a moderate." I am a moderate" or libertarian. Each is an excuse to rail on the D's and R's for taking a stand that is not popular.

That is OK, because us true R's that are conservative believe in Free Speech for all. Unlike the D's who edit Path to 9/11. Why didn't Bush get to edit Michael Moore’s movie? I wonder?

 
At 12:27 PM, September 14, 2006, Blogger Kat Coble said...

You ARE a monkey, and you know it.

I really don't think I'm a moderate. It may look that way, since I tend to be more (a LOT more) 3rd party-oriented than you right now. I just happen to think that 3rd Party is the only way to save conservatism. (see under "Corker, Bob")

I think the reason that many conservatives love Wal-Mart is because we as Cs are conditioned to approve of Big Business. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE Big Business. I believe that free trade is the only way to have a free society.

I just happen to believe, based on my firsthand experience, that Wal-Mart engages in NON free-trade operations. They may be big business, but they aren't Our Kind of big business.

And you're still a monkey.

And you know what else? You called me every name except my current one in that comment.

You are so flippin' contrary.

 
At 12:33 PM, September 14, 2006, Blogger Kat Coble said...

I wrote all that with a smile on my face, but it still looks mean.

And it's funny that I pick on my brother by calling him a monkey.

When my own picture is of a monkey.

 
At 1:10 PM, September 14, 2006, Blogger Chance said...

Katherine,
The whole issue with working overtime for free does bother me. While my idea of labor laws would be different than they are today, I still do support following the law.

I think unions are great. I believe that people should be free to join unions. At the same time, I believe a certain place of employment should choose whether or not they want to hire union members. But that is part of my belief in free mutual transactions. If someone does indeed want to be part of a union, they do have other places they can work.

I agree it is not exactly moral for Wal-Mart to abuse their position with "who else is going to hire you". If someone works at Wal-Mart, it is their best choice, or the only choice. If it is the best choice, good thing Wal-Mart was there. If it is the only choice, then it is fantastic that they are there.

 
At 1:20 PM, September 14, 2006, Blogger Kat Coble said...

I hate unions. I h-a-t-e unions. With every fibre of my being. I think they are corrupt and exploitative. I think they offer false promises to their labour pool, and are no better than an MLM scheme.

I think the only solution to the problem of unions is a responsible free market. Which is why I hate Wal-Mart.

I don't mind Wal-Mart as much in places like Nashville. There are a lot of employers here. This town is large enough that if you don't want to work or shop at Wal-Mart there are plenty of alternatives.

Where I really become angry are the "Wal-Mart" Towns. They are nothing more than the same type of exploited company towns that you used to see with the mines. (Still see, in some areas.)

There are places on this planet (contrary to the opinions of many commenters at Glen's) where Wal-Mart is the only gig in town. They shut down the independent hardware store, the independent grocery store, the independent clothier. If you want to work you work at Wal-Mart. If you want to shop, you shop at Wal-Mart. It's a throwback to a darker time.

 
At 1:30 PM, September 14, 2006, Blogger Chance said...

"I hate unions. I h-a-t-e unions."

Let me rephrase that. I think the idea of unions are great.

 
At 1:42 PM, September 14, 2006, Blogger Kat Coble said...

I think most people love the idea of unions. I do. It's the practice of unions that has made vast stinking wastes of large parts of the country. Including my hometown. Which is recovering from the rape of the IHarvester plant. After 20 years.

 
At 3:00 PM, September 14, 2006, Anonymous The Conservative/Brother said...

Kathy; Kate; Big Sis;

I am the master of pushing your buttons.

No problem--Mrs. Moderate!

 
At 3:03 PM, September 14, 2006, Blogger Kat Coble said...

Not a problem, poopie monkeyhead.

 
At 5:20 PM, September 14, 2006, Blogger Chance said...

"Sure Walmart has low prices that are good for poor people. But they also make people poor by refusing to pay what a decent price for the things they sell."

Good point. But I don't feel that I have the ability to determine which is better. It seems there is a tradeoff either way. 1) Pay workers good wages, charge more for items. 2) Pay workers sucky wages, charge less for items.

If one wants to make the case that the first one is better, I am all for it. However, I have not heard that case. All I have heard is that option 1 is better than 2) but I have not heard why. The fact that there is a negative tradeoff to one option is not enough to convince me, because both options have negative tradeoffs. If someone says Wal-Mart's wages suck, that is a good argument, but one must demonstrate why higher wages are better than lower prices. Why is option 1 the moral option?

 
At 8:12 PM, September 14, 2006, Blogger Amy said...

I'm a conservative, and I hate Walmart, ever since 1) watching "The High Cost of Low Price" and 2) talking with a woman who works at Walmart. so you're not alone :)

 
At 9:09 PM, September 14, 2006, Blogger bridgett said...

You know, I have to admit that I was a little confused when I read Roger Abramson's site and he had you listed as a TN Right blogger. I have been reading you for about a year and while you share some conservative positions, I'd have to agree with Poopy Monkey Boy. You're a pretty reasonable moderate, which is to say that whatever it is that the conservative Right is these days, you aren't wholly in step with that. I would argue that this is ok, because I don't think you'd look good in jackboots...but you know my political leanings.

 
At 9:16 PM, September 14, 2006, Anonymous tom said...

To Kath, (katydid)
from the moderate/leftist/pinko/commie/liberal brother:

It's been reported (I think I heard it on that liberal NPR or something) that Wal-Mart has encouraged its employees to use public assistance to make up for the inadequate wages.

Now, public assistance is great, but promoting a welfare state in this day and age? What the heck is that? That's all kinds of messed up.

The anti-Wal-Mart propaganda movie "The High Cost of Low Price" and in the PBS documentary Frontline, have demonstrated many ill-conceived notions of the Wal-Mart system.

The notion that a company would abuse welfare is in my opinion WORSE than the people being unemployed and on Welfare.

PS: I'm really glad the only thing you ever call me is elroy.

 
At 3:22 PM, September 15, 2006, Blogger Jon said...

>Wal-Mart engages in NON free-trade operations.

Bingo. As does most every major corporation, but WM is one of the most egregious and visible offenders. From eminent domain to corporate welfare there is is nothing 'free-market' about WM.

And that's without even getting to the welfare that is the corporate charter itself (tax subsidized liability insurance) or the statism inherant in all real estate.

Kevin Carson has good materials as usual:

http://www.goodjobsfirst.org/pdf/wmtstudy.pdf
http://mutualist.blogspot.com/2006/07/smarter-wal-mart-defenders-please.html
http://mutualist.blogspot.com/2006/08/kirklin-follow-up-to-wal-mart-piece.html

 
At 11:20 AM, September 16, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brother,
A conservative environmentalist? Thats like a Jew fighting for Hitler.

 
At 8:07 PM, September 16, 2006, Blogger TVonthefritz said...

Katherine,

I realize an endorsement from me doesn't help your standing in the conservative blogsphere social strata. But I wanted to thank you for arguing your point so smartly.

 

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