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jugoso

Walmart Nervous as Black Friday Strike Nears

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Yes, you are correct. You never want to argue with a Walmart employee.

Yes. you are correct. If Walmart wasn´t around there wouldn´t be other stores for these people to work at nor other stores for people to shop at.

jugoso you are oversimplifying this issue. Did it ever occur to you that the very reason Walmart became the monster corp it is - is due to it providing what most people want? How can you argue with that? I understand the desire to "spread the wealth" but that's like stomping your feet and holding your breath about the lack of world peace. Human nature will have it's say in all things. Perhaps the business model of wally world is greed codified, so? It's just the way the world is and if you want to try and change it then you have my applause but not my faith.
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It's not Walmarts fault these people haven't made the best life decisions. And to be technical, Walmart doesn't "have" anyone on assistance. Anyone applying to Walmart isn't looking for a career. They pay above minimum wage on average and offer more and pay more than many other similar public service jobs.

And without those low wages there wouldn't be low prices. As a consumer it makes sense.

I wouldn't say all these people have made poor life decisions, that's quite a broad statement you've made.

As for what you were saying before about reaping the benefits. I don't think CEOs and such need to make millions each month, it's not necessary. There's people out there really struggling to make ends meet due to lack of cash where these people are just throwing another million onto a stack that they will never end up spending.

I mean, there's people dieing out there simply because they don't have enough money and we've got people with more than they could possibly need swimming in it.

There's something wrong with this picture.

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Yes, you are correct. You never want to argue with a Walmart employee.

I sense sarcasm. Considering Spartan is who you're out to defend that's kind of rude. I think you're mad cause he works there and doesn't agree with you.

Yes. you are correct. If Walmart wasn´t around there wouldn´t be other stores for these people to work at nor other stores for people to shop at.

Well considering how difficult it is to set up a business and succeed these days there may not be so many. That assumes Walmart disappears. Had it never existed then of course there'd be more stores. But that's not the reality. After everything else I've put in here and that's all you have to say would you agree with me that there isn't much room for raises across the board or room for union involvement if Walmart is to continue functioning as it does? If you don't then there'd be no Walmart or Sams club and 2M people hitting the unemployement lines.

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I wouldn't say all these people have made poor life decisions, that's quite a broad statement you've made.

As for what you were saying before about reaping the benefits. I don't think CEOs and such need to make millions each month, it's not necessary. There's people out there really struggling to make ends meet due to lack of cash where these people are just throwing another million onto a stack that they will never end up spending.

I mean, there's people dieing out there simply because they don't have enough money and we've got people with more than they could possibly need swimming in it.

There's something wrong with this picture.

I didn't mean to say that working at walmart is a poor life decision but whomever I was talking to was implying that it's Walmarts fault if these people are down on their luck and i disagree. Walmart is not the mafia. They don't come to make you an offer or break your knees if you decline. you go to them. If they say they'll hire you it is you who says OK.

Well thats how it is though and you don't have to like it. And if Walmart CEO had press conference and announced to the world that he was giving away 10M dollars spread across evenly to all employees that would be a whopping $5 per employee and then everyone would call him a cheap b****** and if he gave 10M dollars to one employee then he would be labeled something else ignorant for only helping out one guy and that one guy would now be rich and did nothing for it and that's what you all hate about spoiled rich guys anyway.

Did you even read any of the posts I made with math figures? Anyhow, it all makes sense. Go look and you'll see that to keep 2M people employed that there isn't anything wrong with the picture and in fact is absolutely right or else Walmart tanks.

Edited by -Mr_Fess-

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jugoso you are oversimplifying this issue. Did it ever occur to you that the very reason Walmart became the monster corp it is - is due to it providing what most people want? How can you argue with that? I understand the desire to "spread the wealth" but that's like stomping your feet and holding your breath about the lack of world peace. Human nature will have it's say in all things. Perhaps the business model of wally world is greed codified, so? It's just the way the world is and if you want to try and change it then you have my applause but not my faith.

yes I am oversimplifying the issue. My response was to a hypothetical question asked by aztec. Most people want cheap. Cheaper products sometimes come at a higher social cost.

I sense sarcasm. Considering Spartan is who you're out to defend that's kind of rude. I think you're mad cause he works there and doesn't agree with you.

I was being sarcastic but it more toward your comment: "Besides, how can anyone argue with this guy? A Walmart employee. I´m sure there are many different opinions amongst walmart workers. I certainly never implied he hasn´t made the best life decisions as you did.

Well considering how difficult it is to set up a business and succeed these days there may not be so many. That assumes Walmart disappears. Had it never existed then of course there'd be more stores. But that's not the reality. After everything else I've put in here and that's all you have to say would you agree with me that there isn't much room for raises across the board or room for union involvement if Walmart is to continue functioning as it does? If you don't then there'd be no Walmart or Sams club and 2M people hitting the unemployment lines.

Again, we were discussing a hypothetical question. And no I don´t agree with you that Walmart cannot afford raises across the board for their employees but I do agree that union involvement isn´t necessary for them to do so. They can do what the want without union involvement. They don´t have to hire only part-time employees to avoid paying health-care costs. They choose to do so to reap bigger profits. Somebody has to pay for it in the end

As gromdor so succinctly put it: The thing that annoys me about Walmart is the fact that for them to get a profit, I have to pay welfare and food stamps for their employees.

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lol, i see many still live in the past, and some are not just in the past, but in their imaginary\fare\just world, lol, i feel sorry for ppl like that, reality has a tendecy to smack ppl like that very hard right over the head.

Edited by aztek
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I can argue that the devil seeks out his victims. Walmarts "victims" come to them and it's hardly a case of dealing with the devil. When someone interviews for a part timejob at Walmart they aren't being fed a lot of false hopes. It's more like they offer you a position with a certain amount of on average hours and this is what we can pay you. None of it sounds too good to be true as the way the devil would strike his deal.

Never said they come and seek you out, they don't haft to. They know who will come to them and who they're hiring. Mostly people who are less educated and from a low income family. And they exploit that situation in a subtle way, by keeping the average Wal-mart worker in his place with very few raises and pay caps, while having the Wal-Mart worker work just enough hours to keep him/her not able to afford health insurance and just barely make it paycheck to paycheck. Wal-Mart knows the average cost living these days, for one person, but instead of helping the worker get ahead in life, they do nothing with their selfish attitudes. The average Wal-Mart worker never seems to get ahead while working for Wal-Mart, unless he's got his head buried so far up the Assist. Store Manager's or Co-Store or Store Manager's buttock's; well then the Wal-Mart worker might get ahead that way, with a promotion in his future. But that takes a lot of butt kissing, more than just doing your job and the pay is not worth it quite frankly.

So Mr_Fess, don't feed me that mindless corporate business sentiment, that "no one put's you in that situation" when there are corporations like Wal-Mart, that keep you there. Yeah, they don't put Wal-Mart workers there, but they keep Wal-Mart workers there. That works for the Gordon Gekkos, Richie Richs and all the other "Greed is my new god" elitist of the world, but not for the rest of us who are down on our luck.

Edited by Purifier

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It seems odd that the same ones who defend Walmart's corporate stance are the also the same ones that complain about Small Business owners having too much tax burden.

Walmart has put more Mom and Pop shop's out of business than any governement tax schedule.

I don't want to see Walmart disappear from the landscape, but I do think they should be a somewhat responsible corporate citizen.

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but I do think they should be a somewhat responsible corporate citizen.

\what exactly do you mean by that?

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yes I am oversimplifying the issue. My response was to a hypothetical question asked by aztec. Most people want cheap. Cheaper products sometimes come at a higher social cost.

I was being sarcastic but it more toward your comment: "Besides, how can anyone argue with this guy? A Walmart employee. I´m sure there are many different opinions amongst walmart workers. I certainly never implied he hasn´t made the best life decisions as you did.

Again, we were discussing a hypothetical question. And no I don´t agree with you that Walmart cannot afford raises across the board for their employees but I do agree that union involvement isn´t necessary for them to do so. They can do what the want without union involvement. They don´t have to hire only part-time employees to avoid paying health-care costs. They choose to do so to reap bigger profits. Somebody has to pay for it in the end

As gromdor so succinctly put it: The thing that annoys me about Walmart is the fact that for them to get a profit, I have to pay welfare and food stamps for their employees.

I didn't imply that. You just snipped the part from my post you just quoted where I said this...

I didn't mean to say that working at walmart is a poor life decision but whomever I was talking to was implying that it's Walmarts fault if these people are down on their luck and i disagree. Walmart is not the mafia. They don't come to make you an offer or break your knees if you decline. you go to them. If they say they'll hire you it is you who says OK.

So a job at walmart may or may not be a poor decision. It's entirely cirumstantial and is not for me to decide which it is for somebody.

I agree that they may be able to afford across the board wages but I doubt it could even amount to $1hr while still being able to operate as they do providing what consumers want but it doesn't matter because you'll still find fault. How about you do some math like I did and show us how they can acheive anymore without having to up their prices thus rendering them less competetive.

Glad we agree on non union involvement and it is unfortunate that the great benefits they offer don't extend to low hour employees but many of them are going to be high school kids or people just looking for some extra cash. Walmart is not a monopoly so it stands to reason that if somebody looking for part time work with benfits will not choose to work there. Why would they if they aren't getting what they're looking for and if they do then that's still not walmarts fault.

About gromdors statement, sure I can find a way to b**** about that too but at the very least these people are putting something back into the system but far be it from me to defend them if they're just working the system. If you follow me in the politics threads you will know that. I might also add that there is a great probabilty that many of these folks would be on some type of welfare regardless of where they may or may not work but I will not say that for all of them.

Never said they come and seek you out, they don't haft to. They know who will come to them and who they're hiring. Mostly people who are less educated and from a low income family. And they exploit that situation in a subtle way, by keeping the average Wal-mart worker in his place with very few raises and pay caps, while having the Wal-Mart worker work just enough hours to keep him/her not able to afford health insurance and just barely make it paycheck to paycheck. Wal-Mart knows the average cost living these days, for one person, but instead of helping the worker get ahead in life, they do nothing with their selfish attitudes. The average Wal-Mart worker never seems to get ahead while working for Wal-Mart, unless he's got his head buried so far up the Assist. Store Manager's or Co-Store or Store Manager's buttock's; well then the Wal-Mart worker might get ahead that way, with a promotion in his future. But that takes a lot of butt kissing, more than just doing your job and the pay is not worth it quite frankly.

So Mr_Fess, don't feed me that mindless corporate business sentiment, that "no one put's you in that situation" when there are corporations like Wal-Mart, that keep you there. Yeah, they don't put Wal-Mart workers there, but they keep Wal-Mart workers there. That works for the Gordon Gekkos, Richie Richs and all the other "Greed is my new god" elitist of the world, but not for the rest of us who are down on our luck.

About the bold... Speaking in generalities, At what point in history have such people found much better livings? Should Walmart require higher standards of education? Yea right. And that would able the company to provide low cost goods? Thought so. Even if they did you'd be whining about how fairness and inequality because such people couldn't find work.You want better pay? There is an old saying "Justification for Higher Education".

It is not Walmarts job to help people get ahead in life. I'm sure there are corporate opportunities but it is up to the individual to seek them out and I'm sure Walmart would be happy to point the way butit is your mindset that is so wrong with America these days. You want everything to be given and see no reasoning or find any fault with individuals who don't seek the opportunities. And butt kissing to get ahead is as old as human history. There are just some realities that you must accept are here for good. But even butt kissing, sorry as it is, is still a form of seeking the opportunity however slight in many cases.

As for your last paragraph, yes the individual DOES put themselves in that situation and Walmart does not KEEP you there. That sort of invalidates your whole arguement. On one hand you say it's a horrible place to work for. On the other hand you deride humans, Americans at that, of free will and the ability to seek new or better opportunities when in fact we have the ability to for both. It's not a prison or an end game. It's a personal choice with escape routes.

It seems odd that the same ones who defend Walmart's corporate stance are the also the same ones that complain about Small Business owners having too much tax burden.

Walmart has put more Mom and Pop shop's out of business than any governement tax schedule.

I don't want to see Walmart disappear from the landscape, but I do think they should be a somewhat responsible corporate citizen.

Well those are two entirely different issues but only one affects every small business.

And what would you suggest while also maintaining the famous roll back prices? It's not a sweat shop or a chain gang. Owners of big companies get rich. You would too if you could.

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Looks like the strike was an epic fail for the union backers;

http://www.foxbusiness.com/industries/2012/11/23/wal-mart-just-50-workers-participated-in-protests/

Despite concerns about pro-union protests hampering Black Friday sales, Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) said Friday that fewer than 50 of its employees nationwide participated in the demonstrations while about 22 million customers flooded into its stores.
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I didn't mean to say that working at walmart is a poor life decision but whomever I was talking to was implying that it's Walmarts fault if these people are down on their luck and i disagree. Walmart is not the mafia. They don't come to make you an offer or break your knees if you decline. you go to them. If they say they'll hire you it is you who says OK.

Well thats how it is though and you don't have to like it. And if Walmart CEO had press conference and announced to the world that he was giving away 10M dollars spread across evenly to all employees that would be a whopping $5 per employee and then everyone would call him a cheap b****** and if he gave 10M dollars to one employee then he would be labeled something else ignorant for only helping out one guy and that one guy would now be rich and did nothing for it and that's what you all hate about spoiled rich guys anyway.

Did you even read any of the posts I made with math figures? Anyhow, it all makes sense. Go look and you'll see that to keep 2M people employed that there isn't anything wrong with the picture and in fact is absolutely right or else Walmart tanks.

I did read the figures. I just simply don't think anyone really needs that kind of money or find such huge excesses necessary. You say, well as long as they are keeping all these people employed, it's OK. I really don't think it is justified.

I really think you should read up on some of the details on the GFC. CEOs walking away with millions upon millions where employees just lose their job. Paying CEOs this kind of money means they can still make big mistakes and walk away a millionaire. Regardless, companies already in the ground fork out massive payments when the CEO decides to leave. This caused huge problems in the GFC.

Some CEOs walked away with 500 million. Like c'mon... You need to draw the line somewhere. This sort of thing eventually destroys businesses.

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I did read the figures. I just simply don't think anyone really needs that kind of money or find such huge excesses necessary. You say, well as long as they are keeping all these people employed, it's OK. I really don't think it is justified.

I really think you should read up on some of the details on the GFC. CEOs walking away with millions upon millions where employees just lose their job. Paying CEOs this kind of money means they can still make big mistakes and walk away a millionaire. Regardless, companies already in the ground fork out massive payments when the CEO decides to leave. This caused huge problems in the GFC.

Some CEOs walked away with 500 million. Like c'mon... You need to draw the line somewhere. This sort of thing eventually destroys businesses.

Alright I hear ya. Excessive greed is slimy but all I'm saying is even operating at zero profits and no CEOs and every penny was funneled into every paycheck the signifigance would hardly have a profound impact on paychecks reaching a max of $11hr +/- evenly distributed across all employees in a pure socialist type fashion. Still, that's not to say it doesn't have any signifigance So you have to take into account some profits to be realistic and then still funneling all that money would be even less significant and then when you factor in the absolute need for liquid working capital the distribution becomes less. I'm not out to defend the CEOs so much as I am the need for Walmart to maintain it's current business strategy if they are to remain who they are. Other than that I don't know what to tell you about the big wigs. What would you suggest they do with their money? They could either insult the masses with small bonuses or truly help just a few and that isn't right either.

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lol, i see many still live in the past, and some are not just in the past, but in their imaginary\fare\just world, lol, i feel sorry for ppl like that, reality has a tendecy to smack ppl like that very hard right over the head.

I assume this post is in reference to mine? I don't live in the past. I was simply pointing out that I view some aspects of the past preferable to some aspects of the present. I don't necessarily , as some seem to, view every capitalistic venture as 'progress'. If such thought processes are beyond your understanding, that's ok.

.. and Fair is spelled F a i r

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\what exactly do you mean by that?

Well, for starters, I don't think that people that work full time at one of the Worlds Richest Companies should have to also be on the public assistance dole.

I think they should stop the crap they do like keeping employees "on demand". Meaning that some don't get an actual work schedule, but have to wait for a phone call to see if they do or do not work that day.

I think they should take responsibility for what was called the "dead janitor" insurance policies. That's where they took out Life insurance on some of their elderly employees (without the employee knowing about it). But, the 'beneficiary' of these policies wasn't the family, but the company itself.

I think the current policy of making sure employees are sent home as to retain their 'part time' status (so they don't have to pay health care) should stop.

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i doubt you will ever see those things done, in fact i almost positive you wont. or there wont be walmart in today's business environment.

but hey if someone feel walmart treats them bad, they are free to leave and find another job. no one is holding gun against their head. you know, jobs are everywhere and all of them treat ppl better than walmart, and pays more, oh wait..

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Alright I hear ya. Excessive greed is slimy but all I'm saying is even operating at zero profits and no CEOs and every penny was funneled into every paycheck the signifigance would hardly have a profound impact on paychecks reaching a max of $11hr +/- evenly distributed across all employees in a pure socialist type fashion. Still, that's not to say it doesn't have any signifigance So you have to take into account some profits to be realistic and then still funneling all that money would be even less significant and then when you factor in the absolute need for liquid working capital the distribution becomes less. I'm not out to defend the CEOs so much as I am the need for Walmart to maintain it's current business strategy if they are to remain who they are. Other than that I don't know what to tell you about the big wigs. What would you suggest they do with their money? They could either insult the masses with small bonuses or truly help just a few and that isn't right either.

Well I think giving back to the community is a start. Possibly funding local initiatives, supporting certain charities and such. I think that's a lot more useful than what different car one guy wants to drive each day. Or if the CEOs started a charity or something themselves with their huge amounts of cash. These businesses just need to put more back into the community.

The thing about "mom and pop" stores as you call them over there. Is that they not only provide local jobs, but generally more cash goes back into the community as they live there. Whereas with big chain stores, the money could be going to some part of the country or overseas.

Sure, they call the shots and if they do well they should be rewarded. But what's a company without the rest of the taskforce?

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I guess I don't know why it's an all or nothing proposition.

Instead of Wal-mart posting 4 billion dollar profits, they post 3.5 billion and do the right thing.

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Well I think giving back to the community is a start. Possibly funding local initiatives, supporting certain charities and such. I think that's a lot more useful than what different car one guy wants to drive each day. Or if the CEOs started a charity or something themselves with their huge amounts of cash. These businesses just need to put more back into the community.

The thing about "mom and pop" stores as you call them over there. Is that they not only provide local jobs, but generally more cash goes back into the community as they live there. Whereas with big chain stores, the money could be going to some part of the country or overseas.

Sure, they call the shots and if they do well they should be rewarded. But what's a company without the rest of the taskforce?

Seems to me that as far as corporations go there a few more charitable than Walmart. Searched google "Walmart charity". You guys seem to make a lot of assumptions. I'm not going to do it but if you find out who the CEOs and owners are I'm sure you will find that they aren't as evil as you'd like to believe. I could be wrong but everybody just assumes that rich CEO equals Ebaneezer Scrooge.

Btw, I am a small business owner, not a store but a contractor and these big chain stores keep me in business or at the least make it so much easier to conduct. Without the convenience of Lowes or Home Depot things wouldn't be as they are. I'd spend more time driving to different stores for different things thereby reducing productivity and increasing wasted time. Also though I do plenty of business with plenty of local suppliers but they aren't always around when you need them nor do they always have what I need whereas the big chains are almost everywhere and almost always have what I need. So I appreciate them.

From this link.... http://foundation.walmart.com/

In 2011walmart donated 338 million pounds of food for hunger relief

In 2011, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation gave $958.9 million in cash and in-kind contributions around the world. This includes $872.7 million in cash and in-kind gifts in the United States and $86.2 million in cash and in-kind gifts in international markets. In addition, Walmart associates volunteered more than 1 million hours that resulted in more than $13 million in grants to local nonprofits.

More here with links to previous years... http://news.walmart.com/news-archive/?tpc=community+giving

How about this from several years ago... http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17803920/ns/us_news-giving/t/wal-mart-keeps-spot-top-corporate-charity/#.ULJBd3y9KSM

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. increased its U.S. charitable giving 10 percent last year to $272.9 million, the world’s largest retailer said Tuesday, likely defending its position as the country’s largest corporate donor of cash.

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i work at wal-mart i havent noticed any union stuff at all. it is probably because im not in a huge city. But honestly we dont need any sort of union i get paid more then my freinds who work at krogers. And krogers is union

Wow! How much do you get paid to post per hour in support of Wal mart. I mean serriouly you joined the day this whole thing about strikes started as a PR move by WAL MART. Do you not understand 25,000 is not enough to live off let alone having Sam Walton dream turn in too something he dispised. The Walton Heirs are nothing like Sam Walton who started the bussiness they are spolied little rich brats who want MORE MONEY. He took pride in having products made in America but now they have things from CHINA that is not having things made in Amercia sweetheat. Things have really changed since Walmart heirs took over.!

i AM very far right since I am a Libertaian However, I disagree with the pratices of Walmart type stores, since they destory the free markets ideas I live by and this IS, why I support Small bussiness. I hate spolied rich brats who want nothing but Vulture captilism not actual captilism to work.

Edited by Ryinrea

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He took pride in having products made tin America but now they have things from CHINA that is not having things made in Amercia sweetheat. Things have really changed since Walmart heirs took over.!

Do you think Walmart could provide they way they do these days if everything they sold was Made in America? I don't think the prices could be as they are. You could look to government over-regulation as a reason for that and not to mention the high costs of living and everything else. And $25,000 a year for a single person is entirely livable.

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Do you think Walmart could provide they way they do these days if everything they sold was Made in America? I don't think the prices could be as they are. You could look to government over-regulation as a reason for that and not to mention the high costs of living and everything else. And $25,000 a year for a single person is entirely livable.

They did when they started along with other small bussiness provide that living wage and benfits as well Why not do it now? Goverment over regulations laughing my ass off at that notion. I mean serioully where have you been living under a rock for the pass eight years or so? We wouldn't have had so many product recalls this year if they had been over regulated. Over regulted is another word for cuting things that work for the middle class. favor and not the profits for the rich spoiled heirs.. . I also don't care if I pay 15 cent more if people get paid a livieable wage and benfits. Enough of the Vulture captilsm your suporting.

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I just came across this article on theblaze and this Pete Suderman guy came up with the same logical conclusions I did, especially points 6,7,8 & 9. So you don't blow it off I'm just going to paste the whole article. And I'm also going to follow up by posting the articles from the links on points 14 & 17. All these articles really do wonders to render your arguments invalid.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/reason-senior-editor-dismantles-the-lefts-cheif-anti-walmart-talking-points/

It’s no secret that many on the left (and even some on the right) really, truly dislike Walmart and its business practices. Indeed, just yesterday the union-backed OUR Walmart tried to disrupt the big box retailer’s Black Friday sales by staging a nationwide protest. Luckily for Walmart, the protest did little damage and the much-touted employee walkout never materialized.

But let’s talk about the long-standing and persistent hatred against the company. Let’s face it, ever since Walmart became an economic powerhouse, they’ve been attacked, maligned, smeared, and, in some cases, blocked by certain communities from even opening stores.

We all know the arguments against the retailer: Walmart puts mom-and-pop stores out of work; Walmart doesn’t pay its employees enough; Walmart doesn’t offer the healthcare benefits its employees deserve; Walmart operates on “greed.”

But there has to be another side to this argument. Is there anything to be said that might explain the retailer’s massive and continued success? Perhaps.

Peter Suderman, senior editor for Reason.com, on Saturday used Twitter to lay out his observations on the big box giant. Luckily for us, a tweet from The Heritage Foundation’s excellent Lachlan Markay notified us as to what was happening on Suderman’s timeline and we were able to follow along.

Below are Suderman’s thoughts on Walmart, its employee pay, and what would happen if unions get their way [author's note: We've put Suderman's tweets into list format because it’s much easier to read that way]:

Really enjoyed talking Walmart and Black Friday on @upwithchris [MSNBC’s Chris Hayes] this morning. I’m going to add a few stray observations on twitter.

1. Walmart’s customer base is heavily concentrated in the bottom income quintile, which spends heavily on food.

2.The bottom income quintile spends about 25 percent of income on food compared to just 3.5 percent for the top quintile.

3. So the benefits of Walmart’s substantially lower prices to the lowest earning cohort are huge, especially on food.

4. Obama adviser Jason Furman has estimated the welfare boost of Walmart’s low food prices alone is about $50b a year.

5. Walmart’s wages are about average for retail. Not amazing. But not the worst either.

6. Paying Walmart’s workers more would mean the money has to come from somewhere. But where?

7. Erase the Walmart CEO’s entire salary, and you can raise average hourly wages by just a penny or so.

8. Erase the entire Walton family fortune and you get an average $1/hour boost to Walmart workers.

9. Raise prices to pay for increased wages and you cut into the store’s huge low-price benefits for the poor. It’s regressive.

10. But what about Costco? They pay more, right? Yes, but it’s a different, smaller market.

11. Walmart’s average customer earns roughly $35k. Costco’s average customer earns about $75k.

12. Costco only has about half as many employees as Walmart. What would happen if Walmart adopted a Costco model and shrank to Costco size?

13. Not at all clear that the remaining half of Walmart workers would be better off. Many would almost certainly be worse off. Unemployed.

14. Obama econ adviser Jason Furman did a lot of the work on Walmart’s progressive benefits. His case: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/dialogues/features/2006/is_walmart_good_for_the_american_working_class/the_low_prices_are_good_news.html

15. Finally, as someone who’s actually been a regular, small-town Walmart shopper, I’d like to argue for its community benefits.

16. Yes, some small stores close when Walmart opens. But in small towns, Walmart can become real community hubs – more so, because of size.

17. As for Walmart workers getting health benefits thru Medicaid, that’s due in part to a policy liberals argued for: wapo.st/axXXNE

We’re not sure which is more impressive: The all-encompassing nature of Suderman’s observations or the fact that he was able to do it in 140-character bursts.

From #14

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/dialogues/features/2006/is_walmart_good_for_the_american_working_class/the_low_prices_are_good_news.html

Is Wal-Mart Good for the American Working Class?

Although we've never met, I'm tempted to call you "Barb," the name you were given in your weeks as a Wal-Mart employee. I myself have never worked at Wal-Mart, and I can only remember shopping there once. In fact, I instinctively recoil at the big-box shopping centers spreading their uniformity across the American landscape. But I try hard not to let my personal and somewhat elitist shopping inclinations get in the way of an appraisal of Wal-Mart's positive role in America's economy and society. (For my full appraisal, see this paper I did for a panel at the Center for American Progress.

Are you as surprised as I am by how quickly Wal-Mart's critics move past the issue of low prices? You will hear comments like, "Yes, Wal-Mart may have somewhat low prices, but let's talk about its impact on workers, the environment, trade with China, etc." But given just how important these low prices are to the hundreds of millions of Americans that shop there, I hope I can beg your indulgence to linger on them for a few moments.

A range of studies has found that Wal-Mart's prices are 8 percent to 39 percent below the prices of its competitors. The single most careful economic study, co-authored by the well-respected MIT economist Jerry Hausman, found that grocery sales by Wal-Mart and other big-box stores made consumers better off to the tune of 25 percent of food consumption. That doesn't mean much for those of us in the top fifth of the income distribution—we spend only about 3.5 percent of our income on food at home and, at least in my case, most of that shopping is done at high-priced supermarkets like Whole Foods. But that's a huge savings for households in the bottom quintile, which, on average, spend 26 percent of their income on food. In fact, it is equivalent to a 6.5 percent boost in household income—unless the family lives in New York City or one of the other places that have successfully kept Wal-Mart and its ilk away.

Where do these low prices come from? Paul Krugman, writing back in 1993, provides an answer: "The most significant American business success story of the late 20th century may well be Wal-Mart, which has applied extensive computerization and a home-grown version of Japan's 'just in time' inventory methods to revolutionize retailing." Many economists didn't expect the service sector to contribute much to productivity. Many non-economists still have a hard time believing it has. But Harvard economist Ken Rogoff has the numbers, and they are mind boggling:

[T]ogether with a few sister "big box" stores (Target, Best Buy, and Home Depot), Wal-Mart accounts for roughly 50% of America's much vaunted productivity growth edge over Europe during the last decade. Fifty percent! Similar advances in wholesaling supply chains account for another 25%! The notion that Americans have gotten better at everything while other rich countries have stood still is thus wildly misleading. The US productivity miracle and the emergence of Wal-Mart-style retailing are virtually synonymous.

OK, enough indulging. Maybe you're ready to grant my point that Wal-Mart's low prices are great for the 298 million Americans who don't work there. But what about the 1.3 million Americans who do work for Wal-Mart? Here the evidence is murkier, in part because Wal-Mart refuses to release the data on its wages and benefits that could clear up a number of questions. What we do know is that its wages and benefits are about average for the retail sector—which is to say, not so great. It is harder to quantify other aspects of the job, like the quality of the work, the number of breaks, the prospects for advancement. You should let me know how you think it compares.

Studies have reached conflicting conclusions about the impact of Wal-Mart on local labor markets, with some finding that it creates more jobs than it displaces and others finding that it reduces jobs and nominal wages. Personally, I don't put a huge amount of stock in any of these findings because I believe that Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve decide the total number of jobs nationwide. If anything, the greater competition and productivity growth associated with the growth of Wal-Mart may have played a role in allowing the Federal Reserve to tolerate the high level of job creation in the 1990s.

But I understand why progressives are so upset about low wages and inadequate benefits. I am also upset by the rise of inequality and the relatively slow economic progress that the bottom 80 percent of Americans have made over the last several decades. I just think Wal-Mart is the wrong place to put the blame or to expect the solution. But I'll postpone that discussion for another day.

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From #17

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/27/AR2005112700687.html

Progressive Wal-Mart. Really.

By Sebastian Mallaby

Monday, November 28, 2005

There's a comic side to the anti-Wal-Mart campaign brewing in Maryland and across the country. Only by summoning up the most naive view of corporate behavior can the critics be shocked -- shocked! -- by the giant retailer's machinations. Wal-Mart is plotting to contain health costs! But isn't that what every company does in the face of medical inflation? Wal-Mart has a war room to defend its image! Well, yeah, it's up against a hostile campaign featuring billboards, newspaper ads and a critical documentary movie. Wal-Mart aims to enrich shareholders and put rivals out of business! Hello? What business doesn't do that?

Wal-Mart's critics allege that the retailer is bad for poor Americans. This claim is backward: As Jason Furman of New York University puts it, Wal-Mart is "a progressive success story." Furman advised John "Benedict Arnold" Kerry in the 2004 campaign and has never received any payment from Wal-Mart; he is no corporate apologist. But he points out that Wal-Mart's discounting on food alone boosts the welfare of American shoppers by at least $50 billion a year. The savings are possibly five times that much if you count all of Wal-Mart's products.

These gains are especially important to poor and moderate-income families. The average Wal-Mart customer earns $35,000 a year, compared with $50,000 at Target and $74,000 at Costco. Moreover, Wal-Mart's "every day low prices" make the biggest difference to the poor, since they spend a higher proportion of income on food and other basics. As a force for poverty relief, Wal-Mart's $200 billion-plus assistance to consumers may rival many federal programs. Those programs are better targeted at the needy, but they are dramatically smaller. Food stamps were worth $33 billion in 2005, and the earned-income tax credit was worth $40 billion.

Set against these savings for consumers, Wal-Mart's alleged suppression of wages appears trivial. Arindrajit Dube of the University of California at Berkeley, a leading Wal-Mart critic, has calculated that the firm has caused a $4.7 billion annual loss of wages for workers in the retail sector. This number is disputed: Wal-Mart's pay and benefits can be made to look good or bad depending on which other firms you compare them to. When Wal-Mart opened a store in Glendale, Ariz., last year, it received 8,000 applications for 525 jobs, suggesting that not everyone believes the pay and benefits are unattractive.

But let's say we accept Dube's calculation that retail workers take home $4.7 billion less per year because Wal-Mart has busted unions and generally been ruthless. That loss to workers would still be dwarfed by the $50 billion-plus that Wal-Mart consumers save on food, never mind the much larger sums that they save altogether. Indeed, Furman points out that the wage suppression is so small that even its "victims" may be better off. Retail workers may take home less pay, but their purchasing power probably still grows thanks to Wal-Mart's low prices.

To be fair, the $4.7 billion of wage suppression in the retail sector excludes Wal-Mart's efforts to drive down wages at its suppliers. "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price," the new anti-Wal-Mart movie that's circulating among activist groups, has the requisite passage about Chinese workers getting pennies per day, sweating to keep Wal-Mart's shelves stocked with cheap clothing. But no study has shown whether Wal-Mart's tactics actually do suppress wages in China or elsewhere, and suppression seems unlikely in poor countries. The Chinese garment workers are mainly migrants from farms, where earnings are even worse than at Wal-Mart's subcontractors and where the labor is still more grueling.

Wal-Mart's critics also paint the company as a parasite on taxpayers, because 5 percent of its workers are on Medicaid. Actually that's a typical level for large retail firms, and the national average for all firms is 4 percent. Moreover, it's ironic that Wal-Mart's enemies, who are mainly progressives, should even raise this issue. In the 1990s progressives argued loudly for the reform that allowed poor Americans to keep Medicaid benefits even if they had a job. Now that this policy is helping workers at Wal-Mart, progressives shouldn't blame the company. Besides, many progressives favor a national health system. In other words, they attack Wal-Mart for having 5 percent of its workers receive health care courtesy of taxpayers when the policy that they support would increase that share to 100 percent.

Companies like Wal-Mart are not run by saints. They can treat workers and competitors roughly. They may be poor stewards of the environment. When they break the law they must be punished. Wal-Mart is at the center of the globalized, technology-driven economy that's radically increased American inequality, so it's not surprising that it has critics. But globalization and business innovation are nonetheless the engines of progress; and if that sounds too abstract, think of the $200 billion-plus that Wal-Mart consumers gain annually. If critics prevent the firm from opening new branches, they will prevent ordinary families from sharing in those gains. Poor Americans will be chief among the casualties.

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Do you think Walmart could provide they way they do these days if everything they sold was Made in America? I don't think the prices could be as they are. You could look to government over-regulation as a reason for that and not to mention the high costs of living and everything else. And $25,000 a year for a single person is entirely livable.

No, but we would live it a better country. If things were made in America, there would be manufacturering jobs where middle class workers could go for a livable wage. Then that 25,000 dollar a year salary would makes sense because a single person could use that as a starting job.

But, the way things are, those jobs are going to people trying to raise a family, not a single person just entering the job market. While that middle class America shrinks, and with it it's spiraling effect.

I firmly believe that the success or failure of our country is completely on the backs of middle class America. Wal-mart can still make incredible profits and be responsible to the communities that welcome them into the fold. The current track is to praise corporations that only look for profit, and damn the results afterwords.

If that continues, where will our kids and grandkids find jobs that pay well enough to keep a decent standard of life? On the ledger sheet, that is not Wal-marts concern, but in the big picture, it certainly is.

Henry Ford built his empire by paying DOUBLE the going wage for employees. All that did was vastly increase loyalty, moral, and productivity. He knew that he wanted to build a car that could be afforded by his workers.

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