Presidential candidate Ralph Nader has joined a growing list of politicians speaking out against Wal-Mart. John Kerry and his wife, have both criticized Wal-Mart earlier in the campaign. According to an account in the Associated Press today, Nader opened up on Wal-Mart in their corporate backyard in Little Rock, Arkansas. Nader held a short press conference in a hotel in downtown Little Rock, criticizing Wal-Mart for its worker policies and its relationship with suppliers. “After all, this is where Wal-Mart started. Wal-Mart does not pay a living wage,” the AP quoted Nader as saying. “More and more, the most powerful message coming from the Wal-Mart conglomerate is, ‘meet the Chinese price of serf labor.'” Nader called Wal-Mart a “pauperizing” corporation. He referred to the NAFTA trade agreements as a foreign drag on the U.S. economy, and said that Wal-Mart is a domestic burden. “It’s hollowing out communities. It’s throwing its weight around,” Nader explained. “It is the exact opposite of how our country has progressed.” Wal-Mart didn’t warm up to Nader’s comments. Spokeswoman Sarah Clark told the AP that Nader’s comments were “totally wrong and do not reflect the facts about our company. It is a shame that a presidential candidate would be so negative and share so many untruths about a company that provides good jobs to more than 1.3 million people in the U.S. and is working hard to improve the standard of living for Americans.” Nader used the Little Rock event to outline the influence of large corporations in Washington, saying they form a virtual corporate government. “They’ve managed to put ‘For Sale’ signs on many offices in the government and the executive branch. Our government should not be for sale,” he said. Nader referred to President George Bush as “a giant corporation disguised as a human being.”
While Nader was blasting Wal-Mart, Congress was passing more corporate tax breaks, and incentives for corporations to bring in cheap third world merchandise. Companies like Wal-Mart and Home Depot are flooding our shores with cheap Chinese take out, worsening our balance of trade deficit, and, at the same time, boasting about their positive impact on our standard of living. If our economy is going to Hell in a handbasket, we bought that handbasket at Wal-Mart.