Friday, May 19, 2006

The Joe Cimperman tax

I've been reading a fascinating book called THE WAL-MART EFFECT by Charles Fishman, a business journalist, which lays out the good and bad consequences of the rapid expansion of Wal-Mart.

One undeniable effect, according to Fishman, is that Wal-Mart lowers the inflation rate in the U.S. and saves people who choose to shop there a large amount of money. Citing an academic study, Fishman asserts on Page 151 that grocery prices at Wal-Mart supercenters were found to be "on average 27 percent lower than at traditional groceries, an astonishing discount. It's like getting one week of groceries free every month, just for moving your shopping to Wal-Mart."

The pattern of Wal-Mart distribution in Cuyahoga County, where I live, is rather interesting. Democratic city officials such as Joe Cimperman have succeeded so far in blocking Wal-Mart from opening any stores in the City of Cleveland. The older suburbs have Wal-Marts. And as you get farther away from Cleveland, you are more likely to live near a supercenter, where you can save on food as well as the items that all discount stores carry. You'll also notice that Cleveland has the worst-looking neighborhoods and that the further you get away from the city, the nicer the houses look. In other words, the people who are generally better off are more likely to have access to cheaper prices for the basic goods they need to get by.

Perhaps the higher prices paid by Cleveland residents ought to be known as the "Joe Cimperman Tax," in honor of politicians who do the bidding of labor unions rather than following the best interests of their own constituents.

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