The Obama years have been good for the public sector labor unions.
They have not been so good for the urban poor who voted for Obama. (Let's be honest enough to stop calling them middle class.)
The story has been told many times, but it’s always worth re-examining.
The inhabitants of Harlem, for example, are suffering from an unconscionably high unemployment rate. On top of it they lack access to affordable healthy food. This causes abnormally high levels of diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. Of course, this produces numerous health problems and more Medicaid.
In fairness, the information about poor eating habits comes to us from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Still, New York’s politicians do not care.
Politicians formulate policies that immiserate people and then come riding to the rescue with more and better programs to help the poor.
Politicians who have a flair for the demagogic tell the poor that the fault lies with the wealthy 1% who are hoarding their money.
But what good are food stamps when healthy food is not available?
It’s a scam and a fraud. As long as people in New York’s inner cities keep voting for the politicians who are perpetrating the fraud they will have to do without our sympathy.
As everyone knows, there is a solution. It is a private sector solution. Thus, it disempowers government bureaucrats and their union bosses. It offers a multitude of jobs and an improved diet and a better lifestyle to the inhabitants of the inner cities. It will also provide less expensive medication and more organic detergents. And it will cost the taxpayer nothing.
It’s name is Walmart.
As you know, Walmart is not unionized. Thus, local politicians hate it. Bravely they have taken a stand against jobs and healthy food and lower priced medications in order to preserve the power of their union bosses.
As long as the people of the inner cities vote for these politicians they will suffer the consequences.
Writing at Reason.com Greg Beato lays out the parameters of the scam.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Springer recently commissioned a new report that claims to show how one Walmart would devastate the food distribution network in Harlem.
This comes as something of a surprise. Numerous reports have characterized Harlem as grossly underserved, a “food desert.”
In Harlem, food distribution takes place through bodegas. Beato describes them well: “[They are] convenience stores, corner stores, or that place up the block where one sad rotting banana and a can of Spaghetti-O’s, vintage 2009, serve as décor for the merchandise that really moves there: booze, tobacco, lottery tickets, candy, ice cream, and Slim Jims.”
Nourishment is not their middle name.
Beato continues: “If you’re a libertine with a zeal for the grittiest aspects of urban life, bodegas are a boon to any neighborhood. They pioneered the sale of single cigarettes. They’re more likely to stock shrink-wrapped value-packs of recycled porn magazines than value-packs of, say, diapers. They’re excellent venues for food stamp fraud. As purveyors of fresh fruits and vegetables, however, or even reasonably priced cat food, they enjoy a less stellar reputation.”
To the Manhattan Borough President this means that bodegas are islands of gastronomical “diversity.”
Compared to Walmart they are models of inefficiency.
Beato explains: “Ultimately, even bodegas committed to selling fresh produce will never be optimal delivery channels for such fare. They’re small, often undercapitalized enterprises that can’t afford to invest large sums of money on goods that may end spoiling before anyone buys them. The prices they charge will always be higher than those charged by larger entities that can obtain volume discounts from suppliers. They lack the sophisticated inventory management and sales analysis tools that helps operations like Walmart serve their customer bases so effectively.”
We can identify the problem. We know the solution. Thanks to the politicians that they elected the people of these neighborhoods will continue to suffer.