Paul Jacob

The left’s war on Walmart ramped up a notch a few weeks ago, when a higher-up in the Bentonville, Arkansas, company let loose with an email defending the big box store’s wage policies.

As reported at The Daily Beast, Steve Restivo, “a senior director of communications at Walmart,” took umbrage with an online campaign at the progressive magazine The Nation, blurbing an email with the subject line “people in glass houses.”

Restivo effectively deflected a few stones.

The Nation’s campaign was designed to rally protest against the low wages paid at Walmart — to bring up the average wage way above the national minimum. Restivo’s email noted, on the other hand, that wage policies at the august journal suffered a bigger embarrassment:

The Nation — “America’s leading progressive print and online magazine”— recently encouraged its readers to sign an open letter demanding that Walmart increase wages to $12/hour and this article called our company one of the “biggest abusers of low-wage labor.”
In an ironic twist, ProPublica recently reported that starting this fall, “interns at the Nation Institute will be paid minimum wage for the first time in the history of the 30-year-old program.” As ProPublica noted, The Nation has been paying its full-time interns a weekly stipend of $150 per week — less than the current federal minimum wage rate of $7.25 per hour.

Furthermore, Reason’s Katherine Mangu-Ward archly noted that the foundation funding The Nation’s internship program, in planning to up the compensation for said interns, expects to employ two fewer than previously. Exactly. When prices and profits remain unchanged, but one input’s costs rise, you make do with less of that input. This is a classic case against the minimum wage: artificially raise the wages and fewer workers will be employed at the higher rate.

Something’s gotta give. Businesses don’t run on magic and wishful thinking.


Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.