Relegating the poor to more misery - Granite Grok

Relegating the poor to more misery

Was reading this article over at Honolulu Advisor (why not, I lived in Honolulu for a few months years ago!). 

The Kaua’i County Council yesterday passed the state’s first ban on "big-box" stores, with a prohibition on any retail or wholesale establishment bigger than 75,000 square feet.

Council members said they oppose big-box stores for many reasons, among them protecting communities and local stores.

"Big-boxes, regardless of what company, when they come into town they do cause mom-and-pop stores to close," said Councilman Mel Rapozo.

Gee, legalizing prejudice against the poor, eh?  It is that vs keeping mom-and-pops alive.  While it may be "good" for tourism for the small stores to be available, the governing bodies have just declared "hey poor person (and there are many there), we want the money from tourism over helping you out".  Could the poor sue for discrimination?

I have found that anytime the government insinuates itself in the economy, it distorts it.  The reasons may vary and may actually sound valid.  But by descriminating against the big box stores ("BBS"), they have also disallowed the efficiencies in purchasing and logistics that the BBS bring – and thus, the lower prices that gives.

The US is a capitalistic society and our economy depends on it.  I live in a fairly rural area, and felt the same way when some of the bigger chains moved in.  Yet, while a couple of stores did go out of business, prices fell and we benefited.

And some small businesses that should have been impacted have flourished.  Not on price, but on service and offering a mix of products that the BBS wouldn’t bother to touch. 

The island already has Costco, Wal-Mart and Kmart stores — all in Lihu’e — that are in excess of 100,000 square feet. But those would be the last such stores under the new zoning regulation.

And now they have codified a competitive edge to these folks over any other competition. Nice way to enrich the stockholders, eh?

The first target of the law is likely to be Wal-Mart’s proposal to expand its 119,000-square-foot Lihu’e store into a Supercenter with nearly 200,000 square feet. The store would have both the normal Wal-Mart fare and a grocery component.

"This limits consumer choice. On behalf of our customers and consumers on the island, we’re disappointed with this decision," said Eric Berger, western regional public affairs director for Wal-Mart.