"One family, the Walton family of Wal-Mart, owns more wealth than the bottom 40 percent of Americans." Senator Bernie Sanders
The government gives tons of favors to the largest corporations,
increasing the significant advantage they already have over smaller
competing businesses. If, in the court of public opinion, Wal-Mart has
been tried and convicted for the murder of main street, mom-and-pop
America, then the government could easily be found guilty as a willing
accomplice. Wal-Mart receives hundreds of millions of dollars of
subsidization by local governments throughout the country. These
subsidies take the form of bribes by local politicians trying to
convince Wal-Mart to come to their town with the dream of significant
job creation. Of course, from that follows a larger tax base. For
example, a distribution center in Macclenny, Florida received $9
million in government subsidies in the form of free land,
government-funded recruitment and training of employees, targeted tax
breaks, and housing subsidies for employees allowing them to be paid
significantly lower wages. A study by Good Jobs First found that 244
Wal-Marts around the country had received over $1 billion in government
The six Wal-Mart heirs possess more wealth than the bottom
40% of families in this country. Or, in other words, six
surrealistically-rich people who say they can’t provide
decent wages or benefits for their workers have more wealth than
roughly 160 million other Americans combined. Much of that Wal-Mart
wealth is directly attributable to the ways U.S. taxpayers
subsidize the Wal-Mart labor pool, offer tax breaks, and tilt the
playing field so that so much wealth flows into those few hands.
Six people. Think about that, if your own head isn’t too far
up your nether orifice, then think of the people and policies that
created such disparity. Smirking Chimp:
12 Signs America Is Insane By Jaime O'Neill
In its ascent to dominance, Wal-Mart deliberately targeted
small, independent retailers primarily located in rural areas. These small businesses did
not have cost advantages that allowed them to compete with Wal-Mart, and as they were driven to
extinction, so were the middle-class incomes earned by the small business
owners. Wherever Wal-Mart has a presence in the market, middle-class
incomes of small-scale entrepreneurs are replaced by the bottom-tier
incomes of Wal-Mart employees, and middle-income manufacturing jobs are
eliminated though outsourcing to low-wage markets offshore. This process is now
known as the familiar "Wal-Mart Effect," and the upshot of this effect is
income polarization." Joel Magnuson: Mindful Economics.
So how, exactly, does Wal-Mart get us those low prices, yet
Mostly, they choose products made in the very lowest wage
countries, not those made in the US. They don't care if it costs
They aggressively oppose unions.
Employees might have some leverage for higher wages or better
benefits if they were allowed a union, but Wal-mart would rather
close than allow it. They closed at least one store when it
looked like organizing was successful. The right to organize a
union is part of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Wal-Mart
employees don't have that right.
are much less likely to be promoted than men.
When Wal-Mart builds new stores, it often sites its stores in
the town adjacent with the lower taxes, it goes for taxpayer funded
incentives, and the result in many places is boarded up downtowns,
small business closed up, and a lot fewer retail choices. The
town's tax base implodes, and services are curtailed to correspond.
Urban sprawl accelerates, downtown rots, and low wage jobs replace
decent ones lost. Competition is driven out. How is that for a deal
They are very hard on their suppliers. To compete for
Wal-Mart's business, it is necessary to stop manufacturing here in the US and
ship jobs to a capitalist paradise like China where there are
subsistence wages, long hours, sweatshops, and no environmental
regulations. The products can themselves carry toxic ingredients.
With loose or non-existent regulations on imported products,
consumers are on their own to figure out the consequences. So part
of the deal is we lose manufacturing, and get toxic products.
If Wal-Mart is tough on its suppliers, it is just as tough on
its employees. It tends to pay minimum wages which are barely
living wages, it effectively is subsidized by taxpayers because its
employees qualify for food stamps and medical subsidies. Your tax
dollars subsidize those low Wal-Mart prices because they are making
up for those low Wal-Mart wages.
Wal-Mart is a prime example of a monopsonist:
a company which is such a
powerful buyer that it can pressure its suppliers
into suicidal terms. The only way suppliers can meet Wal-Mart's
demands is by moving manufacturing to third world countries. The US
has lost millions of manufacturing jobs in the last few years.
Not only has Wal-Mart
devastated thousands of small
towns, vigorously opposed
labor unions. pushed their minimum wage employees onto
public dole, strained public health facilities, it helped
strip the manufacturing base from this country. The US trade
deficit has soared, and overseas
sweatshops have flourished.
If the new normal is low paid, low skill employees then we
will not have a middle class or a robust economy again.
bringing the southern plantation model to the world.
....It is very smart...for the Walton family. Not
Walmart expanded rapidly with generous taxpayer-paid incentives.
In return it blighted many downtowns, forced their suppliers to send
jobs off shore, fought off unions, kept wages low, and will even take
"The Waltons have long supported efforts to privatize
education through the Walton Family Foundation as well as individual
political donations to local candidates. Since 2005, the Waltons have
given more than $1 billion to organizations and candidates who support
privatization. They’ve channeled the funds to the pro-charter and
pro-voucher Milton Friedman Foundation for Education Choice, Michelle
Rhee’s pro-privatization and high-stakes testing organization Students
First, and the pro-voucher Alliance for School Choice, where Walton
family member Carrie Walton Penner sits on the board. In addition to
funding these corporate-style education reform organizations, since
2000 the Waltons have also spent more than $24 million bankrolling
politicians, political action committees, and ballot issues in
California and elsewhere at the state and local level which undermine
public education and literally shortchange students." Bill
Before Ronald Reagan there might have been anti-trust enforcement for Wal-Mart,
but since Reagan, Republicans don't
enforce anti-trust. That
Investigation: The Blueberry Children --Children as Young as 5
and 6 Working in the Fields of Large Blueberry Grower Featured by
Walmart 30 Oct 2009
Walmart and the Kroger supermarket chain have severed ties with one
of the country's major blueberry growers after an ABC News
investigation found children, including one as young as
five-years-old, working in its fields. The children were discovered
at the Adkin Blue Ribbon Packing Company, in South Haven, Michigan,
this summer by graduate school students working with ABC News as
fellows with the Carnegie Corporation. The owner of the company,
Randy Adkin, was once featured on a Walmart billboard advertising
his "locally produced and locally sold" blueberries.
the FEC to investigate Wal-Mart According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal,
Wal-Mart threatened employees that if they voted for pro-worker
candidates like Barack Obama, the Employee Free Choice Act will
pass, making it easier to form unions in Wal-Mart stores. Telling
employees how to vote in a U.S. election is not only
morally reprehensible, it's potentially illegal.
The High Cost of Low Price. Walmart (Watch it free on-line.)
What is behind the low prices at your neighborhood Wal-Mart?
"Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price" is a feature length
documentary that uncovers a retail giant's assault on families and