And Microsoft isn’t always the great satan: A regular feature in James Taranto’s Best of the Web, is a running “What would we do without experts?” gag that links to headlines that include an obvious statement along with the clarifying, “experts say,” as in this one he points to today, “Wal-mart isn’t all bad, experts say.” I love to hate Wal-mart, but I shop there and at Sam’s and believe one needs to visit a Super Wal-mart at least once a quarter to understand an aspect of the American experience that few (including me) fail to understand related to affluence and poverty.
Moreover, some economists note, lower prices for the kinds of basic goods on sale at Wal-Mart superstores, such as food and clothes, are of the greatest benefit to the less affluent. Grocery prices, for example, drop an average of 10 percent to 15 percent in markets Wal-Mart has entered, analysts say.
“Wal-Mart is the greatest thing that ever happened to low-income Americans,” said Michael Cox, chief economist of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. “They can stretch their dollars and afford things they otherwise couldn’t.”