To be clear, I am not making a moral argument for the real economy (though there is surely a moral argument to be made), but rather a cold and calculated economic appeal based on self-interest properly understood. You see, I am an entrepreneur and venture capitalist invested mostly in technology companies that pay the sort of middle-class wages that enable our workers to fully participate in the economy as consumers of other companies’ products. That’s the way a market economy is supposed to work. We buy your products. You buy ours.
In other words, businesses like Wal-Mart and McDonalds are…bad for business. Hanauer also asserts they’re the real “dependent on government” deadbeats, paying so little in salary that their employees can only make ends meet with public assistance.
Today, a majority of the money we collectively spend on anti-poverty programs doesn’t go to the jobless, it goes to the working poor. According to a recent analysis by the Economic Policy Institute,69.2 percent of all public benefits go to non-elderly households with at least one working member, nearly half of whom work at least full-time.
But…here’s the real point: it doesn’t have to be that way.
…there is no line of work worth doing that cannot command a living wage. For every Walmart, there’s a Costco. For every McDonald’s, there’s an In-N-Out Burger. For every single mom waiting tables at the local diner for $2.13 an hour, there’s a healthier, wealthier counterpart earning $13 an hour or more (soon to be $15!) in Seattle or San Francisco or in the thousands of real-economy businesses nationwide where management understands that the “minimum wage” is meant to be a minimum, not a maximum.
So, Atlas could go to the Costco without compromising his inner objectivist … and his only quandaries would be the sheer number of choices and whether anyone really needs an entire pallet of one item.