First World Problems With A Third World Income

October 15, 2013

FIRSTWORLD

FACT: Wal-Mart and J.P. Morgan Chase are destroying America. But who runs a bigger criminal enterprise? Is Wal-Mart a more despicable corporation than J.P. Morgan Chase? Are the hottest flames of hell reserved for the vile, repugnant and revolting Mike Duke, CEO of Wal-Mart? Or will the flames of hell burn brightest for the loathsome enemy of Christ, America, families and sick children Jamie “Gangster Thug” Dimon? We discuss with Jon Hotchkiss and Mark Thompson. Plus Cynthia Adler.

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About David Feldman

David Feldman is an American comedy writer and performer.

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30 Responses to First World Problems With A Third World Income

  1. Bold And Beautiful October 15, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Loved this show. Hutchkiss (Spelling?) was wrong on every count, but Mark and David were polite with him, and I learned so much about Walmart and why I’ll never shop there again. Bring theser guys back asap david. I’m going to buy something on Amazon through your site right now.

    Reply
    • Jon Hotchkiss October 15, 2013 at 10:03 pm

      Bold And Beautiful —

      Can you provide some facts when you say “wrong on every count?” I mean, I want to trust you that I’m wrong… but, I’m going to need more than just your supposition.

      Thanks.

      Best regards,
      Jon “Wrong on Every Count” Hotchkiss

      Reply
      • Josh October 16, 2013 at 10:45 am

        I don’t know about every count, but you and Feldman both missed the huge elephant in the room.

        The real question that went unaddressed: why is it that we have a service-oriented economy?

        Completely left out of the discussion is how Wall St. decimated Main St. in the ’80s and ’90s thanks to “free trade” and offshoring our manufacturing base. And the only reason this was done was so those at the top of the income ladder could get even richer than they already were.

        So now the average American armed with a grossly inadequate public education thanks to deliberately underfunded schools, with no manufacturing sector, with no union protections, is left to grovel for whatever crumbs our beneficent corporate overlords see fit to let fall from the table.

        I agree you can’t blame Wal-Mart for acting as any good entrepreneur does by exploiting a labor pool that has few alternatives for work, but let’s address the root cause of the dysfunction which is the wealth addiction of the top 0.01%.

        Reply
        • David Feldman October 16, 2013 at 11:08 am

          I agree about the wealth addiction. Also fourth paragraph is really sweet. But I don’t think Wal-Mart is “any good entrepreneur.” They’re predators who need to be reigned in. Well thought out comment, thanks.

          Reply
          • Josh October 16, 2013 at 1:27 pm

            Perhaps I should have said “good” entrepreneur. I meant only in the very narrow sense of them seeing an opportunity and seizing on it. Though I think one could make the case that their immorality is simply the immorality of unfettered capitalism, and due to its scale it’s that more destructive.

    • David Feldman October 16, 2013 at 11:09 am

      Thanks you. It’s Hotchkiss. Great guy. Even better comedy writer. Not sure why he’s so misguided on WalMart.

      Reply
  2. Carrie October 15, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    So yeah, this was amazing. There are about ten podcasts I listen to, and was on the fence with David, almost dropped him from my list. But you’re back on it Mr. Jew. Mark Thompson sounds like something from my dreams.

    Reply
    • David Feldman October 16, 2013 at 11:12 am

      Thanks. Glad to be back in your rotation.

      Reply
  3. Fred October 15, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    I can listen to Feldman talk about his performance art of a life all day. He’s sick and pathetic, and I feel sorry for everyone who knows him. Keep up the great work Jew.

    Reply
    • David Feldman October 16, 2013 at 11:13 am

      Thanks, I think?

      Reply
  4. Gregory G. October 15, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    Is my email going to be made public with this? Fck eat. Feldman my nigga! 2 funnee bro.

    Reply
    • David Feldman October 16, 2013 at 11:13 am

      Keeping it real Double G.

      Reply
  5. Drake M. October 15, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    A perfect podcast. Almost forgot what a loser Feldman is.

    Reply
    • David Feldman October 16, 2013 at 11:15 am

      If this is the Drake I’m pretty sure it is, let’s not talk about who the real loser is. I mean, it’s still me, but you’re not far behind.

      Reply
  6. Emmy Loser October 15, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Great job Feldman. You were almost likeable.

    Reply
    • David Feldman October 16, 2013 at 11:16 am

      Thanks, D-Bag.

      Reply
  7. ac October 15, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Not since Howard in the early days have I sat in the parking lot listening until a radio show ended. This is as compeling as radio gets. Feldman could possibly be doing the best show out there.

    Reply
    • David Feldman October 16, 2013 at 11:17 am

      Thanks, for some reason this episode struck a chord. Don’t know why. We got linked to by someone at Sports Illustrated and this ended up getting downloaded a lot. Not sure why. Maybe the conversation about concussions in football. But thanks.

      Reply
  8. WiselinePRT October 16, 2013 at 10:47 am

    ‘No one forced her to take that job’ and defense of Walmart serving ‘underserved’ areas with made-in-China goods & services is Republican economic theory in a nutshell. Hotchkiss is a free-trade Republican or, at best, a neo-liberal. I might respect him if he would just own that.

    Reply
    • David Feldman October 16, 2013 at 11:18 am

      Define “neo liberal” please…

      Reply
  9. WiselinePRT October 16, 2013 at 11:50 am

    A neo-liberal harkens back to the 19th century meaning of liberal, reflecting the power struggle of the times — capitalists were the ones trying to topple landed aristocrats from control of the economic system and government.

    About the turn of the 20th century the progressives and socialists arose to counter the capitalists. Later ‘liberal’ took on the meaning it does today.

    Today a neo-liberal is someone who sounds like a Democrat but does things like deregulate banking, pass NAFTA, ‘reform’ welfare, and other moves undercutting the progress of the New Deal and Great Society.

    Howie Klein would probably say Steve Israel is a neo-liberal.

    Reply
    • Jon Hotchkiss October 16, 2013 at 1:04 pm

      I am not a neo-liberal. As if that’s a thing. In fact, what I am — in a big picture sense — is someone who cares about helping people in need. Most often, that lines up with being liberal. BUT that doesn’t mean that I just line up on whatever side “liberals” are supposed to be on.

      I’m also not a huge fan of spending money and time on fixing global warming. I don’t think we should recycle (except for aluminum cans) and I have seen nearly every episode of NCIS. We’ll save my reasons for all this for a future podcast.

      More so than anything else, what I am is someone interested in facts. Not opinion. It’s something I wish more people would be interested in. Unfortunately, it’s easier to look at the world in black and white… When the truth is, most issues are gray.

      Anyway – I looked at the facts re: Wal Mart — weighed the bad (and yes, there is a lot of bad) with the good — and I decided that in this case, the good outweighed the bad.

      I don’t think that makes me a bad liberal. I think it demonstrates a quality more of us should practice: thinking for yourself.

      Reply
  10. Jon Hotchkiss October 16, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    PS.
    David, do you mind if I mention This vs That? No? OK. Good.

    I hope you’ll check out my series, This vs That, which you can see at: http://thisvsthatshow.com

    It’s a 6 hour series that investigates the science within arm’s reach… and has been featured on NBC News with Brian Williams, on CBS, CNN, in Emmy Magazine and The David Feldman Show podcast.

    Reply
  11. Ragnar October 16, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    I don’t think there’s any argument that will change Hotchkiss’ mind at this point; he’s made up his mind. When he asked, “How much do you wanna pay for pizza?”, this summarized his overall position:

    Walmart is good because they supply consumer goods at lower prices than their competitors, regardless of how they get there. The end-consumer’s ability to buy products at the lowest possible price is the most important factor in determining if a company like this is “good”, above all else.

    Secondarily, they are also good because they employ so many Americans. Never mind the nature of their employment; the fact that they are employed is simply good.

    This is mainstream American ‘free market’ fundamentalism/fetishism, and as WiselinePRT points out, it sits comfortably within the spectrum of Republican thought. Unfortunately large numbers of Democrats join them in this thinking (see: neo-liberalism).

    Hotchkiss claims to “not be against” worker’s rights, yet had no reply when David pointed out that foreign governments do not allow Walmart to do business in their countries without labor’s right to organize.

    And as David pointed out, their business model is explicitly based on major taxpayer subsidies: they hand out pamphlets and have instructional meetings on how to sign up for government assistance, while simultaneously sucking money out of the local economy and sending it back to Arkansas to be hoarded in vast quantities by one very right-wing family.

    “We have decided in our country that this is what a person’s labor is worth”. Does he really think its the masses who actually make decisions like this?

    Hotchkiss points to McDonalds and Taco Bell as comparisons, but I would ask, is anyone going around on radio shows explaining how we should actually all be lauding the wonderful McDonalds corporation because they sell us dollar hamburgers and employ so many people? How much do you want to pay for a hamburger?

    Reply
  12. Paul R. Potts October 16, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    Longtime listener, first-time commenter…

    Mr. Feldman, you need to have a research intern if you’re going to get into this fight. You tried to get some quick facts on the side but you’ve got to have better stats — numbers and sources. They are out there.

    Mr. Hotchkiss is wrong, and his big weakness is that he doesn’t want to do the reading. He’s suffering from bad case of epistemic closure. He mentioned a desire to be educated or proven wrong, and he’s looking at sources from pro-Union groups or other partisan groups with a jaundiced eye, but he’s perfect willing to parrot Walmart corporate talking points without the least skepticism. But mainly, his world view is closed, and it’s because it is self-serving world view. His insistence that lower prices on products are a virtue and valuable end in and of itself and all the “externalities” are irrelevant is just incredibly narrow-minded and selfish. It’s like he’s standing on the edge of the manure pond eating a ham sandwich crowing about how cheap the ham was, and how good it tastes. It’s not even a conservative point of view; a traditional conservative wants to conserve their community’s families, town, institutions, and businesses. It’s a selfish neo-liberal point of view.

    A lot of investigative journalism has been done on this subject. One of the best pieces is ten years old but still incredibly relevant: about how Walmart destroys its own suppliers by forcing them to outsource production, on the grounds of that same “externalities” argument — that everything comes down to unit price.

    http://www.fastcompany.com/47593/wal-mart-you-dont-know

    One of his claims in particular I want to try to knock down. He claims that the rise of the Walmart stores that are close to so many Americans saves shoppers gas and travel time. But this isn’t true — Walmart stores are generally outside the traditional downtown areas that used to serve the people. Of course this is part of the whole narrative of sprawl, which is bankrupting our communities and which some mistake for growth, because they see buildings going up — but the numbers don’t work. And David’s point about the idea that we might have to get out and walk is a good one, as we all devolve into land whales due to our sick Walmart lifestyle.

    He’s wrong that everyone shops at Walmart. My family does not. The people we respect do not. I am old enough to remember when Walmart had a hyphen, when they first went national, and their advertising claims back then — that they promoted American industry and American values by selling primarily American-made goods. That has not been true in decades. They are still trading on that line of bullshit, and they are helped by the fact that selfish neoliberals want to believe. But informed, activist progressives, Christians, Jews, and true conservatives do not. I have not set foot in a Walmart in twenty years — and I won’t. Well, I might, if they became a worker-owned, unionized cooperative, but I think it’s safe to say that this won’t happen anytime soon.

    When he started talking about parking your RV in a Walmart parking lot, I started to get suspicious. Walmart parking lots are crime magnets. I mean, does the guy actually read nothing? How can a comic write jokes if he reads nothing?

    Then he started talking about Walmart’s layaway plan for your holiday shopping needs — and then blathering about national brand products, like “Newman’s Own Salsa” — seriously, what kind of a person buys garbage like that preferentially, instead of out of desperation or inertia?

    And when he started talking about Walmart’s competitors, every one he mentioned was a national chain. National chains are entities designed to suck money out of the communities where they are installed, and funnel it elsewhere. That’s their business model. That’s all they are about. They don’t have to be accountable to anyone locally. So why shop there? (Besides the sad fact that in most communities, there are no locally owned stores left?) The (externalities) price of supporting them, like the rent, is just too damned high.

    A light went on over my head. Why would a comedian, a guest on your show, promote a national chain store? Why would he defend a store? There’s only one sensible explanation. Because he’s getting paid. He’s a shill. They’re getting desperate. Wow. You’ve been duped, David. Sorry, man. They’ve hired bloggers before:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/07/technology/07blog.html?ex=1299387600&en=ae7585374bf280b9&ei=5088&_r=0

    So why not comics? You’ve got to call him out on this, David. He’s either a paid shill or the world’s biggest troll. Wow. If you won’t, I am — Mr. Hotchkiss, you’re a fool or a troll. You can’t be for real. I refuse to believe that an American citizen could be this benighted, this unsophisticated, so lacking in basic understanding of — well, anything. Economics, ethics, cause, effect… wow. I’d better stop. I’m going to give myself an aneurysm…

    I’d like to say “great show,” David, but it really wasn’t so great. Better prep, better guests, and don’t let it descend into the Fox News model or ignorant people shouting at other ignorant people. Thanks for reading.

    Reply
    • Josh October 17, 2013 at 1:14 pm

      Some good points for sure.

      Something else that struck me while I was listening: I live in San Francisco and the fairy tale about how much driving time you save by shopping at WalMart only illustrates what a stupid idea car-centric design for cities and suburbs is. I walk to a neighborhood farmer’s market for groceries, I walk to restaurants, to an honest-to-goodness non-corporate bookstore, etc. I bike to work, to run errands, or take public transit, etc.

      WalMart represents a bankrupt ideal which environmental degradation is going to render irrelevant sooner or later.

      Reply
  13. Paul R. Potts October 16, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Ah, just delete me, please. I’m too pissed off to think straight.

    Reply
  14. Thomas Attila Lewis (@tomdog) October 17, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    David, you could have referred to the articles I posted on your earlier Walmart argument/podcast instead of going for the easily labeled “biased” material from StopWalmart.org or wherever you got it from (http://davidfeldmanshow.com/pointing-fingers-caused-mess/).

    Again: Walmart is not just a huge polluter in terms of greenhouse gasses but also toxic waste (per the articles in the link above). They also actively lobby local communities for tax breaks because of “all the jobs they will create” as well as the “increased property tax base” – and once they achieve their saturation point, they go to the state level to have their taxes reduced. Point in fact: Massachusetts (per the article in the link above).

    Also, nobody involved in the podcast seems to have any awareness or experience in living outside a metropolis. Using Inglewood as an example of “revitalization” via Walmart is bunk as Inglewood is part of the megalopolis of Los Angeles where people have the option of a short drive to many other locations to shop and _anything_ put in that abandoned area would have “revitalized” it, including a radiation waste processing plant, etc.

    A very large majority of Americans do not live in a metropolis environment – they live in rural/suburban small towns that used to have Main Streets until Walmart moved in. While these Main Streets could have already been under severe pressure from the loss of manufacturing or other industries, they were still an economic, cultural and social center for these communities that had anchor grocery, hardware, clothing and appliance stores until Walmart moved in and undermined those stores.

    I live in a town that had that happen to it and only now has our downtown shown signs of life after a decade of investment in the arts. Now we are under attack again as “a group of investors” is exploring options to develop a large plot of land for yet another retail area. Some investigative reporting suggests this would be for a Walmart Supercenter which would mean even more pressure on local businesses as well as abandoning their other retail location.

    Reply
  15. Thomas Attila Lewis (@tomdog) October 17, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    And hey, here’s some more info on McDonalds, Burger King, etc., other companies whose virtues Hotchkiss seems to extoll: Fast food companies outsource $7 billion in services onto the backs of taxpayers because they don’t pay a living wage. http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2013/10/16/reports-fast-food-companies-outsource-7-billion-in-annual-labor-costs-to-taxpayers/

    Reply
  16. Buck Jones October 17, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    I won’t launch any ad-hominen attacks against your friend, Mr. Hotchkiss, but I will say that Mark Thompson is always funny, witty, urbane, and wonderful.

    This was such a great episode. Hardly anyone has commented on your Chase Manhattan incident, which I absolutely loved, and am with you almost 100% (I think I’ve done a similar stunt at times facing off against corporate-fascistic-bureaucrats) … I just would have drawn the line, in your case, at after haranguing them for an hour, having my account closed finally so as never having to step foot in their offices.

    As for the larger discussion topic regarding Hotchkiss and his love affair with convenience and 100,000 SKU’s to choose from – I don’t know what to think about him. Convenience seemed to be the dominant issue for him. That and being able to find multiple sizes of Newman’s Salsa in a variety of sizes, saving a few pennies from competitors.

    Personally, I find the whole convenience argument totally facile. Driving in traffic, looking for a parking space in some huge shopping center parking lot, entering the airplane hangar sized store pushing a grocery cart loaded down with hundreds of his beloved SKU’s, waiting an interminable period of time in line to check out, and then starting the whole ordeal dealing with traffic again – really? He calls that convenience? Or is it the possibility of being able to shop at 3:00 AM (provided Walmart is open 24 hours)? Does he really need to get his Newman’s Salsa in a 14 oz. jar at 3:00 AM? How about better time management?

    I agree, it doesn’t sound like he’s spent any time in small town America. I grew up in (and later thankfully moved out of) small town America. I grew up in a place called Centerville, Iowa, of all places – the kind of small town America that had a “square” around the county courthouse, with all of the downtown businesses having store fronts facing the square. You could walk to it from basically anywhere in town, or drive and park there easily as well. Then you could walk around the square, stopping at the Ben Franklin drug store to fill aprescription, get some candies, make small talk with the cashier. Then head over to the J C Penney’s which was the “big” department store if you wanted to get some clothes. Afterwards there was also the library, or the stationers/bookstore, or the diner (bottomless cups of coffee!)… you get the idea.

    Well, Walmart came to Centerville when I was a teenager. Within five years, most of the businesses around the square were gone – and what replaced thm was the Salvation Army “store”, and a church moved in and took over the Ben Franklin for charismatic/gospel services. The diner is still there, but business is really bad. Now everyone has to drive five miles out of town to the Walmart to shop (Walmart has to be near a highway to do their deliveries). I’m not sure how many sizes of Newman’s Salsa they have in stock at the Centerville Walmart, but I’m sure Mr. Hotchkiss won’t be disappointed.

    Reply

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