Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is the biggest day for retailers throughout the U.S. Some companies have even opened their doors on Thanksgiving to get an advantage over competitors. Who loses? Workers who often have to leave family meals and then have to work on days when their neighbors are getting the best deals.
REI, a co-op retailer for outdoor wear, is taking a very different approach. The company has decided to close on Black Friday and give its employees a paid day off. Rather than fight frenzied consumers at the mall, REI suggests that its employees should enjoy a day in the outdoors. REI is putting its people first, and it should be cheered for doing so.
I heard an interesting report on the radio today via CNBC. The good news is that ADP estimates that the U.S. economy added nearly 240,000 in December. Here’s the bad news: Retail sales are down. What I found most interesting was CNBC’s interpretation of this situation: “People have jobs, but not enough money.”
Not enough money. Progressives and liberals have been beating the drum about the economic consequences of inequality for several years. Conservatives still cling to their sacred truths about deficit reduction and tax cuts, neither of which have done much to spur the economy. What about alternatives, such as raising the minimum wage or passing a jobs program or doing more to promote manufacturing in the U.S. The solutions are out there. The rich and their allies have done a great job of concealing them or repackaging them in a way that makes working people vote against their interest. CNBC captured the problem: “Not enough money.”