The great American tragicomedy that is Wal-Mart continues. Last fall, a diverse crew of suckers, ranging from the far-right editorialists at the Wall Street Journal editorial page to yours truly , took seriously CEO Lee Scott’s call for a higher federal minimum wage. We speculated on why he was doing that, and whether it was in his company’s interests. But there was another possibility we should have considered: that Scott’s statement was absolutely meaningless and devoid of content. According to Wake Up Wal-Mart, of the 46 Senators who yesterday voted against raising the minimum wage (all of them Republicans), 42 have received campaign contributions from Wal-Mart. And the Retail Industry Leaders Association, an industry group of which Wal-Mart is the most powerful member, aggressively lobbied to defeat the minimum wage increase.
Then there’s the news this morning, from the New York Times, that the company has hired one of its critics, former Sierra Club president Adam Werbach, who has in the past likened Wal-Mart to a “virus” and a “toxin.” Perhaps I should send my resume.