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In the Forbes “Unsolicited Advice” column, Wal-Mart gets the following unsolicited endorsement:

“The White House still won't say we're in a recession. But it may be the only household in America that feels that way. Everyone who buys his own gas or shops for his own food or reads the local real estate listings or worries about his job sees his quality of life receding.

“It hasn't felt this bad in a long time. Consumer confidence - always an indicator, sometimes a self-fulfilling prophecy - is at a 28-year low. There is a palpable air of frustration as people look for silver linings and see only dark clouds, from the inexorable escalation of gas prices to the depressing decline of the dollar.

“At times like these, the nation looks for its leaders to provide both reassuring words and actions. But the administration is a lame duck with scarce ability to use its bully pulpit, and the challenging party tends to see its interests served by bad news. If our politicians are helpless, or hopeless, what's to be done? Who can step into the void? Ironically, help might come from a scourge of the very populists who tend to argue longest and loudest for government intervention: Wal-Mart.

“Yes, Wal-Mart. With its vast purchasing power and strong hold over the suppliers of most of the basics of daily life, it can do something government cannot: effectively control prices.”

And, the column continues: “Big, bad Wal-Mart coming to the rescue of beleaguered consumers would turn traditional populist thinking on its head. And it could be very good for Wal-Mart.

“When people have concerns that marketing can address, marketing should address them. And the economy is clearly the country's No. 1 concern. Wal-Mart has always touted its everyday low prices. But the opportunity now is to claim higher ground—to take a leadership role on the most pressing issue of the day--and to reap the rewards for doing that.

“One of those rewards is to solidify the loyalty of millions of customers, and to gain the loyalty of millions more. That's the obvious one. But for a company that has seen its ambitions expand into lucrative new territory, such as New York City, blocked by politicians who see ‘big’ and think small, the PR value could be incalculable. Imagine pickets marching for Wal-Mart.

“You have to go back almost 100 years to find a company so well positioned to address an issue as prominent in the public mind--to the days of Rockefeller, Carnegie and Ford. Could it be that what's good for Wal-Mart is good for the country?”

KC's View:
Well said.