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Wal-Mart, Light Bulbs, and Food Inflation

Daily Update

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Wal-Mart, Light Bulbs, and Food Inflation

Today in the News

Wal-Mart

Last week, the Supreme Court heard a class action suit brought against Wal-Mart by female employees.

Senior Counsel Hans Bader explains why this suit should never have been a class action suit.

"Lawsuits over discrimination are usually brought on an individual basis, because even victims of discrimination at a big company often have little in common with each other. They work in different stores under different managers, and have different jobs and salaries. Even if one manager is racist or sexist, managers in different stores may be totally fair and unbiased. By contrast, class-actions are supposed to be brought on the basis of a company-wide policy, and the employees are supposed to have a lot in common with each other. In the Wal-Mart case, there is no company-wide policy of discrimination. In fact, Wal-Mart has written policies against discrimination."

 

Light Bulbs

In The New York Times last week, Gail Collins railed against critics of the ban on incandescent light bulbs.

Adjunct Scholar Fran Smith deconstructs Collins' column.

"She completely misses the argument for consumer choice, that is, some people may want to stick with the old-fashioned incandescent instead of the fluorescent bulbs for a variety of reasons — some real concerns (photosensitivity, mercury, melting plastic, fumes) and some aesthetic ones. Instead, Collins does her usual cutesy, aren’t-I-clever dismissal of those who think consumers and not the government should be deciding what light bulbs to use in their homes."

 

Food Inflation

Consumers are complaining about shrinking package sizes in grocery stores.

Warren Brookes Fellow Kathryn Ciano explains why government officials shouldn't respond to "food inflation" by throwing money at the problem.

"Subsidies are the way the government picks winners and losers. By throwing a ton of money behind certain industries, the government forces the cost of all food production to rise. Grocery shoppers who just want to feed their families have to compete with the government’s agenda to afford the price of food. It’s not just the cost of production that’s rising. When FLOTUS pushes hard for a 'get-fit' agenda and green special interests demand smaller package sizes, the market is ripe for food producers to shave a little off whatever they’re willing to trade to consumers for their dollars."