Thomas Sowell

 Are they supposed to be subsidized by Wal-Mart's customers through higher prices or subsidized by Wal-Mart's stockholders through lower earnings? After all, much of the stock in even a rich company is often owned by pension funds belonging to teachers, policemen and others who are far from rich.

 Why should other people have to retire on less money, in order that Wal-Mart employees can be paid what the New York Times wants them paid, instead of what their labor is worth in the marketplace? After all, they wouldn't be working for Wal-Mart if someone else valued their labor more.

 Nor are they confined to Wal-Mart for life. For many, entry-level jobs are a stepping-stone, whether within a given company or as experience that gets them a better job with another company.

 Think about it: What the busybodies are saying is that third parties like themselves -- who are paying nothing to anybody -- should be determining how much somebody else should be paying those who work for them.

 It would be devastating to the egos of the intelligentsia to realize, much less admit, that businesses have done more to reduce poverty than all the intellectuals put together. Ultimately it is only wealth that can reduce poverty and most of the intelligentsia have no interest whatever in finding out what actions and policies increase the national wealth.

 They certainly don't feel any "obligation" to learn economics, out of a sense of "social responsibility," much less because of any "social contract" requiring them to know what they are talking about before spouting off with self-righteous rhetoric.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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