Fracking in Williston, North Dakota, drives unemployment rate to less than 1%, so Wal-Mart offers $17.40 an hour

A Wal-Mart in Williston, North Dakota is offering starting salaries of $17.40 per hour.

The reason that this particular Wal-Mart is offering $17.40 an hour has nothing to do with unions, social justice, compassion, or any other such thing.

Instead, it’s simple supply and demand.

In particular, the article says that fracking has made it possible to access oil which had previously been unobtainable. This has driven the unemployment rate to less than 1% in the city where this Wal-Mart is located.

This presents an interesting situation for anyone who favors higher wages while simultaneously opposing fracking, i.e, a large percentage of people on the political left. Tradeoffs are a common part of life, and I am interested in hearing what other people think of this situation.

The Daily Signal reports:

Why One Walmart in North Dakota Is Paying $17.40 an Hour

A Walmart store in Williston, N.D., is offering to pay entry-level workers as much as $17.40 per hour…

… the historic oil boom in North Dakota has provided real, sustained growth in wages and lowered unemployment in North Dakota to 2.6 percent—the lowest statewide rate in the nation—and to less than 1 percent in Williston, which is near the oil fields in the western part of the state.

Those jobs are safe for the foreseeable future, too. Last year, a study conducted by the United States Geological Service estimated conservatively that 7.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil sit beneath North Dakota. Scientists have long known about these oil reserves, but two miles of solid rock precluded development. Recent advances in hydraulic fracturing and smart drilling technology have made production possible and triggered the present economic boom.

 

wal-mart $17.40 an hour

June 11, 2014. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Economics, Environmentalism, Politics, Technology. 2 comments.

“The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete,” praised by Michelle Obama, is actually quite good

As I’ve explained in this 40,000+ word post, I am no fan of President Obama. So when I recently read this article where Michelle Obama praised the recent movie “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete,” I was expecting it to be left wing propaganda.

Boy, was I wrong.

Having just watched the movie, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it is heavily critical of heroin use, prostitution, and child molestation, and that it portrays education and work in a positive light. There’s even a scene that praises a big chain, corporate supermarket as being far superior to a mom and pop grocery store.

The two lead characters are boys named Mister and Pete, who are ages 13 and 10, respectively.

Mister’s mother is a heroin addicted prostitute. One day, Mister goes to the store, buys a newspaper, brings it home, circles a bunch of help wanted ads, and shows it to his mother. He tells her that he circled the ones that she’s qualified for, and that they probably wouldn’t care about background checks. She objects, saying that those jobs are beneath her.

The point of this scene is that any legal, legitimate job, even one with low wages, is deserving of respect. Her rejection of such jobs is portrayed in a negative light. The fact that she’d rather work as a prostitute is seen through the eyes of her son as being very sad.

In the real world, the radical left hates big chain supermarkets. For example, in Chicago, radical leftist activists prevented Wal-Mart from opening a new supermarket. So, Wal-Mart opened the new supermarket one block outside the city. 24,500 people applied for the store’s 325 job openings, and 98% of them listed Chicago as their address. Clearly, these radical leftist activists do not care about those people who applied to work at Wal-Mart, or about the people who are now happily choosing to shop there. These radical leftists are acting against the interests of the people who live in Chicago.

By contract, “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete” portrays a big chain supermarket in a very positive light. In the movie, the local mom and pop grocery store has rotting fruit, and is run a guy who falsely accuses Mister of being a thief. By contrast, the big chain supermarket in the movie is shown to have an abundance of high quality food, and the employee that Mister talks with is quite friendly toward him.

In real life, a movie director named Roman Polanski drugged and raped a 13 year old girl. More than 100 people in the film industry, including Woody Allen, Terry Gilliam, John Landis, David Lynch, and Martin Scorsese, signed a petition calling for Polanski to be released from jail. This is sick, filthy, and disgusting.

By contrast, the child molestor in “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete” is portrayed in a very negative light. The devastating  effects that molestation has on its victim, Pete, is revealed several times in the movie when Pete seems to have an obsession with “privacy.”

My point here is that conservatives and libertarians should not dismiss this movie just because it was praised by Michelle Obama. This is an excellent film, and it deserves to be seen.

February 6, 2014. Tags: , , , , . Movies, Politics. 2 comments.

Wal-Mart employee says he “can’t afford” $15 a week for health insurance, but has no trouble paying for cigarettes

CBNC reports:

Wal-Mart Stores’ U.S. employees will pay between 8 percent and 36 percent more in premiums for its medical coverage in 2013, prompting some of the 1.4 million workers at the nation’s largest private employer to say they will forego coverage altogether.

“I really can’t even afford it now, so for it to go up even a dollar for me is a stretch,” said Colby Harris, who said he makes $8.90 per hour and takes home less than $20,000 per year working in the Walmart store’s produce department in Lancaster, Texas.

Harris, a 22-year-old smoker, was set to see his cost per paycheck rise to $29.60 from $25.40. He says he has decided not to sign up for coverage.

The same article also refers to Wal-Mart’s “two-week pay period.” So this guy is saying that he “can’t afford” to pay $15 per week for health insurance, and yet he somehow manages to pay for his cigarettes.

I wonder how much he spends on cigarettes each week. The article doesn’t say – but I’m guessing it’s more than $15.

November 12, 2012. Tags: , , , . Health care. 1 comment.

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