Some leftists are in a tizzy because Barack Obama has appointed an economic policy adviser who has dared to praise the benefits Wal-Mart's low prices bring to low income consumers: Jason Furman.
Recognizing the reality that efficiency brings benefits is almost taboo to many left wingers, especially when it comes to Wal-Mart, whose stubborn refusal to cave in to unionization makes it enemy number one to Big Labor. So Obama's appointment of a man who appreciates this reality has raised some hackles. Josh Gerstein of the New York Sun reports:
"It's surprising because this guy seems to feel that Wal-Mart's low-wage, low-benefit business model is good for America. That's just flat-out wrong," the executive director of Wal-Mart Watch, David Nassar, said. "This guy helped to lend credibility to the Wal-Mart business model. That was disappointing then and it's disappointing now given this position," said Mr. Nassar, whose group is backed by a board that includes the president of the Service Employees International Union, Andrew Stern. Mr. Nassar quickly added that he was "not critiquing the Obama campaign."
A New York-based labor organizer and writer, Jonathan Tasini, said he was puzzled by the selection of Mr. Furman. "It's legitimate to give you pause," Mr. Tasini, who ran an unsuccessful primary challenge to Senator Clinton in 2006, said. "There have been concerns raised about where Obama's economic policies will trend," the writer said.
This appointment does not necessarily signal a move to the center on Obama's part, though it is a welcome indication he is not allowing labor union interests to dominate every economic policy appointment. And when a Democrat is willing to support the interest of consumers over those of unions, that is a good thing.
Hat tip: Ed Lasky