Feel The Liberal Love For...Walmart?

Who said this in praise of Walmart's in-house check-cashing operations?

If you’re cashing, for example, a $1,000 biweekly paycheck then $6 is almost one third the price MoneyGram is asking. Nothing too earth-shattering about this, but it underscores the point that a lot of the time the best solution to abusive business practices is to find ways to get competing firms into the business.

Incidentally, the Wall Street Journal notes that Wal-Mart once tried and failed to get a full bank charter which would have allowed it to accept deposits and make loans. If they had the license, how many of the 17 million Americans who currently lack a bank account would have one today? And how much damage would it have done to the business models of incumbent depositary institutions?

The answer, in a post titled, "Competition Works," may surprise you.

Hat Tip: Alan Vanneman.

Reason gave Walmart love back when it was called Wal-Mart. And here's a brief on the good things done by the check-cashing industry.

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  • ||

    Wow, nice to see the retarded kid finally get a question right. Next thing you know he will figure out that poor people benefit for lower prices for everything. I doubt it, but I can dream.

  • ||

    Sullivan has the Yglesias Award for those who criticize their own side. The award was there for many years, and all this time I couldn't figure when Yglesias was known for criticizing his team. He always struck me as a total hack.

  • ||

    Yes, besides traditional banks, who opposed Walmart's pursuit of a industrial loan company charter?

    Also, couldn't the same thing be done in, say, healthcare?

  • PR||

    considering you can get prescription lenses and frames for $38 from WalMart, I would trust them to deliver affordable healthcare more than the USGOVT. but who would the govt loot then to pay for their unsustainable pensions?

  • Michael Ejercito||

    considering you can get prescription lenses and frames for $38 from WalMart, I would trust them to deliver affordable healthcare more than the USGOVT. but who would the govt loot then to pay for their unsustainable pensions?


    Wal-Mart could expand to provide low-end medical care.

  • Cowboy||

    Absolutely. And what has government done to match Walmart's $4/month and $10/3months prescription prices on most drugs taken by seniors? The fact is, the VA charges vets twice as much...

  • Jersey Patriot||

    How the hell do you make $2000 a month and not have a checking account?

  • ||

    NSF problems.

  • Skip Town||

    And judgements.

  • ||

    You would be shocked. If you are an illegal and don't have any real form of ID, you can't open a checking account. Also, if you are just off the truck from some village in rural central America and no one in your family has ever had a checking account and you plan to send every dime you make home, you won't have one.

    Also a lot of people are just stupid. I had a friend in law school whose parents owned a convience store in a bad neighborhood. They made a fortune cashing checks for people who were not illegals and had IDs but were just too stupid and lazy to get a checking account. Some people are poor for reasons other than bad luck.

  • ||

    From my consumer finance days, I can tell you that quite a few American citizens don't like banks. Particularly in rural America. Doubtless an artifact from the age-old dislike that farmers have for banks and from the Depression-era bank failures.

  • zoltan||

    I know quite a few people here in Austin who are from smaller Texas towns and don't have one. Sometimes it's upbringing and sometimes it's distrust. It's not like you need one.

  • B||

    It's just one way for "the man" to track you and place you on his grid (end "Enemy of the State" movie reference).

  • ||

    Never forget Jersey; some people really are that stupid.

  • ||

    ""How the hell do you make $2000 a month and not have a checking account?""

    And that's after taxes.

  • ||

    Fess Parker just died. With Peter Graves gone, I fear for Shatner.

  • ||

    Or Clint Eastwood. He was on Rawhide. And the ending to Grand Torino is a little too perfect of an end to a career.

  • ||

    For me, it was a Graves/Arness/Shatner/Parker cabal--loved their respective shows as a kid.

  • ed||

    Clint will never die. He'll just get more raspy, until his raspiness blends into the fabric of our shared nostalgic raspiness.

  • creech||

    His land is biggest and his land is best, from the grassy plains to the mountain crest. He's ahead of all meeting the test, and following his legend into the West.

  • ||

    a lot of the time the best solution to abusive business practices is to find ways to get competing firms into the business.

    It'll never catch on. Where's the graft in that?

  • Paul||

    And besides, as we've seen from the California medical marijuana dispensary situation, we don't just want a free-for-all of businesses popping up, willy-nilly with no oversight, or no limits to how many can exist in a given area.

    Regulate us! Tax us! Set us free!

    It will forever be a euphemism for "protect the turf of the early adopters by limiting access to future competitors!"

  • ||

    "The answer . . . may surprise you."

    Only if you have a very short memory:

    http://reason.com/blog/2009/07/01/caps-wal-mart-cash

  • matt2||

  • zoltan||

    According to the comments, Wal-Mart is perpetuating a class divide...by allowing poor people to afford things that middle class people can afford?

  • ||

    this isn't the first time he's said something sort of "liberaltarianish" I distintcly remember him praising the "economic freedoms" of chile from a post a few weeks past. He's also for reforming local government pension funds because they are unsustainable. Once in a while he surprises...

  • SIV||

    joe is all over the comments to the Yglesias piece

  • The Angry Optimist||

    So who is going to be the first to totally twist libertarian beliefs to denigrate Wal*Mart? It's been done here; I am surprised I haven't seen it yet.

  • coronaadvances||

    "Competition Works" is the keyword

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