Awkward Irony for Edwards
This Editorial appeared in today's New Hampshire Union Leader.
Former Sen. John Edwards is to spend an hour at the Manchester Barnes & Noble tonight promoting his new book. We find his choice of venue very interesting.
In Manchester, the local Wal-Mart store sits right behind the Barnes & Noble. It has more floor space, a parking lot several times the size of Barnes & Noble's, and is easier to access by car or public transportation.
But Edwards would not be caught dead inside a Wal-Mart. Saying that the company pays its employees too little, Edwards has embarked on an anti-Wal-Mart crusade. He instructs his staff members and all Americans not to shop at Wal-Mart.
"Wal-Mart makes plenty of money. They need to pay their people well," Edwards said at a Pittsburgh anti-Wal-Mart rally in August.
So naturally Edwards is holding his book signing at Barnes & Noble instead of Wal-Mart. Which is too bad for his anti-low-wages campaign, because in Manchester Wal-Mart pays hourly employees more than Barnes & Noble does.
The Barnes & Noble where Edwards will hawk his book pays $7 an hour to start. The Wal-Mart that sits just yards away pays $7.50 an hour.
Oh, the humanity!
From 7 to 8 p.m., Edwards will bring business to a retailer that pays wages he thinks are so immorally low that they should be illegal....
Asked back in January what he thought would be an appropriate minimum wage, Edwards told The New York Times, "My view is it should be $7.50 an hour...."
Seven-fifty an hour? Why, that's what Wal-Mart pays! And without a federal mandate, too.
Of course, Barnes & Noble is no less virtuous than Wal-Mart because it pays 50 cents an hour less. And Wal-Mart is no less virtuous than other companies that pay more. Both businesses provide useful, productive employment at competitive market rates. That in itself is virtuous.
John Edwards should take the virtuous path and stop his anti-Wal-Mart demagoguery. Anyone can see that it is nothing more than a populist ploy to make him look like a champion of low-income people. But those very people he is trying to help end up saving hundreds of dollars a year by shopping at Wal-Mart. Its efficiencies provide them with low-cost items they might not be able to afford otherwise.
We'd bet that if America's poor could choose between Wal-Mart and John Edwards, they would choose Wal-Mart. They understand that Wal-Mart has done more to improve their lives than John Edwards ever will....Here's a description of the book---
In Home, John Edwards has collected nearly sixty moving stories that reflect how these places, in many ways, are the blueprints of our lives...
Those featured include:
Isabel Allende, niece of former Socialist President of Chile Salvador Allende.
John Mellencamp, Socialist with or without the "Cougar'
And Danny Glover, recalls his family's house in the Haight-Ashbury section of San Francisco as the source from which he and his siblings inherited their lifelong consciousness of "equanimity and responsibility, ownership and aspiration."
Edwards is scheduled to sign copies of his book Wednesday at the Barnes & Noble in West Des Moines.
I wonder what they pay here?