To Walmart with Contempt

Submitted By: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger

bins1-15660341jpg-b2a282e054d52e53 walmart

The picture above really says it all. Walmart, our country’s largest retail operation is run by people who are so clueless that they’ve created a culture that doesn’t even understand the massive irony in running a Thanksgiving Food Pantry for its own employees.  The photo comes from a Walmart in Canton, Ohio. The concept of food collections for the poor at retail establishments is widespread in America, even as many Americans deny that anyone in this country goes hungry. The irony of this food drive though is that it is asking Walmart employees, who are already low paid, to donate food to fellow employees who are even worse off than they are. It is also ironic that the food drive is for Thanksgiving Dinner, since almost all Walmart Stores have been open all day for Thanksgiving for many years, so one wonders what type of Thanksgiving Dinner Walmart associates will have at all? What is new this year is that “Black Friday” for Walmart customers will begin at 6:00pm on Thanksgiving Day and run through the night.

The average Walmart Associate makes $8.81 per hour which translates into a yearly income of $15,576 if the Associate works a full time schedule.  Most Associates don’t work full time because working full time would entitle them to benefits that Walmart doesn’t want to pay. Interestingly, the current U.S. poverty level for a three person family in our country is $19,530. So we see that the rare Walmart full time employee, with two dependents, earns about $4,000 per year below the nation’s poverty level. Indeed, Walmart has made it a practice to inform its employees about benefits like Snap and Public Assistance. At the risk of being portrayed as a “bleeding heart” by some of our readers, let me state that I think this company is disgusting in its personnel policies and is an example of what is worst about our country. Let me explain further.Here is an insider’s view on the specific Walmart situation in Ohio, from an Ohio State Representative:

“A recent study concluded of all the companies in Ohio, Wal-Mart has the highest number of employees on public assistance. Of the 50,000 Wal-Mart employees and dependents, almost 13,000 are on food stamps, and 15,000 on Medicaid. What part of the American dream can the employees of this giant “welfare queen” expect? The Waltons, America’s wealthiest family, knows they are exploiting their workers, and all at the cost of American taxpayers. Wal-Mart wants its employees to take care of one another while everyone else foots the bill for health care, food and housing assistance.

Last year during the Thanksgiving season, Wal-Mart associates bravely spoke out and rallied on Black Friday to protest the company’s low wages and poor labor practices. And on cue, the retail giant’s management illegally harassed and even fired employees who participated in the protests. Thankfully, the National Labor Relations Boards found that Wal-Mart’s actions broke the law, but it is yet another example of the company’s ill treatment of their workers.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-hagan/walmart-ohio-food-drive_b_4321122.html?utm_hp_ref=business&ir=Business

From the Huffington Post article that supplied the picture and gave background to it.

“When their paychecks don’t cut it, many associates turn to public assistance to make up the difference. Walmart’s low wages and insufficient scheduling are behind the enormous costs to the taxpayer incurred by each store. One Walmart Supercenter costs taxpayers $900,000 in Medicaid, SNAP, housing assistance, and other forms of public assistance.” http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/11/18/1256468/-If-You-Aren-t-Sure-Walmart-Needs-to-Pay-Higher-Wages-This-Photo-Will-Erase-All-Doubt?detail=email

This is in essence the dirty little secret of Walmart. This company, whose ownership has been among the largest funders of those who would gut all federal regulation, makes a good deal of money from government “entitlements.” One could almost say that they are the real “welfare cheats”. This doesn’t account for all of the local governments who give tax breaks to Walmart for the honor of having a store located in the community, or that fact that in many of these small communities Walmart “buys off” local officials. Stories detailing this have become so common that there is a website devoted to watching the government subsidies being given to Walmart:

“A secret behind Wal-Mart’s rapid expansion in the United States has been its extensive use of public money. This includes more than $1.2 billion in tax breaks, free land, infrastructure assistance, low-cost financing and outright grants from state and local governments around the country. In addition, taxpayers indirectly subsidize the company by paying the healthcare costs of Wal-Mart employees who don’t receive coverage on the job and instead turn to public programs such as Medicaid. This website brings together available information on both kinds of subsidies involved in Wal-Mart’s “double-dipping.” In the future we will add data on other ways Wal-Mart relies on taxpayers to finance its growth.” http://www.walmartsubsidywatch.org/

This website is very helpful because it allows you to search its archives by putting in a location of your choice and supplying the information. At random I typed in Florida as the State and when given a menu of locales to choose from I chose Crescent City, a place I know nothing about. Here’s what I found:

“This distribution center project, announced in 2005, was approved by Putnam County over the objections of neighboring Volusia County, where there was concern over the traffic impact. In 2006 Wal-Mart warned a group of residents that their land would be seized through eminent domain if they did not sell to the company, which apologized after the story came out in the media. The state, through Enterprise Florida, has agreed to pay for infrastructure improvements in the area, including $2 million for upgrading roads and $675,000 for water and sewer plant upgrades. The project is also expected to be eligible for benefits under the enterprise zone and Qualified Target Industry programs, which could be worth thousands of dollars in tax credits for each worker hired.”

At the close of this guest blog I will supply links to much of the information I am synthesizing to write this piece. Everything that I am writing is backed up by copious evidence. I think that my contempt for this company is well-founded and well-grounded in facts. The case against Walmart is proven, but the problem of the Walmart syndrome is one that continues to plague this country. The object of any corporation should first be to make money. I believe that is a valid observation. Since I also believe that a mixed Capitalistic system can assure the most benefit, for the most people, I don’t object to people making money. However, where I draw the line is the difference between making money and using a corporation’s resource to exploit its own workers, as it continues to exploit the rest of us. This is the Walmart business model. From a management perspective I believe it is a horrible one, which may make money, but eventually damages not only the corporation itself, but the entire society in which it operates.

When Henry Ford began his company he purposely paid higher than the prevailing wage at the time. Ford explained that it was just good business since if his employees got higher pay they could afford to buy his cars, which they then did. We know that when working class and middle class people earn more, they spend more. Giving workers a good wage isn’t bad business, it is good business. Better paid workers are better workers and better workers make the company even higher profits. This isn’t rocket science after all. Even business-centric commentators believe this as was stated in this article from Fortune Magazine, which uses the ideas of conservative economists to make the case that Walmart can and should pay its workers more, without sacrificing either the bottom line or their stock prices.

There are a number of ways to answer the question of what Walmart should pay its employees. One possibility is this: The lowest wage that Walmart can get away with paying. That is probably the way many employers do it, but it’s far from the best economic answer. Better-paid employees are likely to work harder and stick around longer. If employees made more, they would have more to spend at Wal-Mart. http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2013/11/12/wal-mart-pay-raise/

I’m sure most readers will remember the former electronics giant Circuit City, which is now defunct. In 2007 this company made a fatal decision that hastened its downfall. The decision was premised on the same lines as those who use the Walmart theory of employment, which is that employees are merely easily disposable cogs in the corporate wheel and should be treated as such:

In 2007, the starting wage [at Circuit City] for new employees was dropped from $8.75 an hour down to $7.40 an hour ($6.55 being the federal minimum wage at the time). In a press release on March 28, 2007, Circuit City announced that in a “wage management” decision in order to cut costs, it had laid off approximately 3,400 better-paid associates and would re-staff the positions at the lower market-based salaries. Laid-off associates were provided severance and offered a chance to be re-hired after ten weeks at prevailing wages. The Washington Post reported interviews with management concerning the firings.[24]The Post later reported in May 2007 that the layoffs, and consequent loss of experienced sales staff, appeared to be “backfiring” and resulting in slower sales” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circuit_City

Far too many insufferable young adults at the nation’s MBA factories have come away with degrees and with a feeling of superiority and contempt for the average worker. They see workers and treat workers as somehow a sub-human species to be used, abused and thrown out to the streets when they are no longer useful to the company. When I was a business major in Marketing and Management many years ago this was known as “Theory X”. Back in those early days of the 60’s “Theory X” was viewed as counterproductive and outdated. Somehow “Theory X” has reemerged to become the norm for worker treatment in America and perhaps our decline as an industrial nation has been spurred by it. I think when Ronald Reagan signaled corporations that it was okay for them to reopen their battle with Labor Unions via firing the striking air traffic controllers, “Theory X was resurrected. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PATCO_strike

Right now Walmart is suffering labor problems of its own as a Union is trying to organize its workers. The company has resisted any possibility of its workers organizing into a Union and has fought it in the courts and by firing and/or harassing those workers who are trying to organize.

“The wheels of the National Labor Relations Board grind slow and not especially fine, but they have ground to the point of authorizing complaints against Walmart for several alleged violations of workers’ rights, including threatening retaliation against workers for striking and actually carrying out such retaliation. According to the complaints, which will be brought before an administrative law judge if Walmart and the workers don’t reach a settlement:

  • During two national television news broadcasts and in statements to employees at Walmart stores in California and Texas, Walmart unlawfully threatened employees with reprisal if they engaged in strikes and protests on November 22, 2012.
  • Walmart stores in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Washington unlawfully threatened, disciplined, and/or terminated employees for having engaged in legally protected strikes and protests.
  • Walmart stores in California, Florida, Missouri and Texas unlawfully threatened, surveilled, disciplined, and/or terminated employees in anticipation of or in response to employees’ other protected concerted activities.”

The truth about Walmart is that they actually have a negative effect on our nation’s economy and the economy of other nations that they insinuate themselves into:

  • Walmart store openings destroy almost three local jobs for every two they create by reducing retail employment by an average of 2.7 percent in every county they enter.
  • Walmart cost America an estimated 196,000 jobs – mainly manufacturing jobs – between 2001 and 2006 as a result of the company’s imports from China.

http://walmart1percent.org/issues/top-reasons-the-walton-family-and-walmart-are-not-job-creators/

As shown above Walmart jobs are jobs that ensure, rather than rescue workers from poverty and also:

  • “Walmart pays less than other retail firms. A 2005 study found that Walmart workers earn an estimated 12.4% less than retail workers as a whole and 14.5% less than workers in large retail in general. A 2007 study which compared Walmart to other general merchandising employers found a wage gap of 17.4%.
  • Last year, Walmart slashed already meager health benefits again, dropping health insurance for new hires working less than 30 hours a week and leaving more workers uninsured.”

As mentioned above Walmart puts a tremendous burden on the taxpayers in this country and in doing so harms the tax base in the localities where they set up shop.

  • “Taxpayers subsidize Walmart’s low wages and poor benefits. Just one Walmart store costs taxpayers an estimated $1 million in public assistance usage by employees, according to a new report from the Democratic staff of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
  • In many of the states across the country that release such information, Walmart is the employer with the largest number of employees and dependents using taxpayer-funded health insurance programs. A few examples:
  • In Arizona, according to data released by the state in 2005, the company had more 2,700 employees on the state-funded plan.
  • The company also topped the list in their home state of Arkansas, with nearly 4,000 employees forced onto the state’s plan according to data released by the state in 2005.
  • In Massachusetts, in 2009, taxpayers paid $8.8 million for Walmart associates to use publicly subsidized healthcare services.
  • Despite all the damage they have done to US workers and communities, a 2007 study found that, as of that date, Walmart had received more than $1.2 billion in tax breaks, free land, infrastructure assistance, low-cost financing and outright grants from state and local governments around the country. This number has surely increased as Walmart continues to receive additional subsidies.
  • Meanwhile, the Waltons use special tax loopholes to avoid paying billions in taxes. According to a recent Bloomberg story, the Waltons are America’s biggest users of a particular type of charitable trust that actually allows the donor to pass money on to heirs after an extended period of time, without having to pay much-debated estate and inheritance taxes. According to Treasury Department estimates reported in Bloomberg, closing the two types of loopholes the Waltons appear to use would raise more than $20 billion over the next decade.” http://walmart1percent.org/issues/top-reasons-the-walton-family-and-walmart-are-not-job-creators/

This Thanksgiving Season Walmart has been running a syrupy TV commercial that shows veterans returning home from our wars overseas. It guarantees that it will hire any veteran with an honorable discharge. To me this is yet another bitter irony that this company seems oblivious to. Walmart is “showing its support for our troops” how? By offering them some of the lowest paying jobs in America. This honors our troops in what to me is a rather backhanded way. Our veterans deserve to be well-treated after their service in these awful wars. Far too many of them can’t find work when they leave the service, but is working at Walmart honoring them, or is it offering them another low paying career, albeit without the danger?

When all of the truth began to come out about Walmart’s treatment of its workers I stopped shopping there. The truth is I can afford not to shop at Walmart, even though I’m on a fixed income that leaves me hanging onto the middle-class. There were times, when my family was young, that our income kept our heads barely above water. Therefore I can understand what it is like to clip coupons and go to multiple stores looking for sales. So I won’t say that anyone who shops at Walmart is bad because I’m not in a position to judge an individual family’s financial needs. I would ask people though, to raise their voices about the way that Walmart treats people. My request is that we find ways to oppose the “Walmartization” of our country, because if we don’t we will soon become one of those “third world” nation’s that we used to talk about disparagingly. My view in this is neither a liberal, nor conservative view. It is a question of fairness and it is an ethical question of how a capitalist enterprise should treat its workers. One can be a conservative, in the true meaning of the word and still decry such backward employment policies. From the perspective of those who don the mantle of fiscal conservatives alone, a fair analysis is that this company is costing us all billion$.

Submitted By: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger

http://www.ilsr.org/new-study-finds-walmarts-miserly-wages-cost-taxpayers/

http://www.goodjobsfirst.org/sites/default/files/docs/pdf/wmtstudy.pdf

http://jonathanturley.org/2012/04/24/wal-mart-accused-of-covering-up-millions-paid-in-bribes-to-mexican-officials/

http://jonathanturley.org/2010/03/28/jury-awards-houston-woman-9-million-against-wal-mart-in-dispute-over-200/

http://jonathanturley.org/2010/03/18/wal-mart-expresses-sympathy-for-terminally-ill-worker-and-then-fires-him/

http://jonathanturley.org/2009/11/04/save-money-live-shorter-wal-mart-accused-of-violating-cdc-guidelines-in-policies-that-spread-flu/

http://jonathanturley.org/2009/01/03/wal-mart-declares-war-on-us-history/

http://jonathanturley.org/2008/04/01/big-box-small-heart-wal-mart-sued-by-us-over-termination-of-veteran/

http://jonathanturley.org/2013/10/18/walmart-worker-intervenes-to-help-woman-in-parking-lot-walmart-fires-worker/

http://www.credomobilize.com/petitions/president-obama-meet-with-walmart-strikers?akid=9484.955171.fJQgNm&rd=1&suppress_one_click=true&t=6

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/21/walmart-black-friday-death_n_4312210.html

http://blackfridayprotests.org/

128 thoughts on “To Walmart with Contempt

  1. Since when is it being a “bleeding heart” to expect a successful American company to earn its enormous profits fairly, without requiring a hefty subsidy from the American taxpayer in order to keep its employees fed just enough so they’ll be able to come to work just one more day?

  2. Great story Mike. Wal Mart is a cancer on our economy and our culture. They not only abuse their own employees, they force out competition from small local businesses.

  3. I have a liberal relative who shops regularly at Wal-Mart. She is on Social Security and Medicare and is able to get needed supplies much less expensively there. I asked her if she would be willing to pay slightly more so that the Wal-Mart employees could earn slightly more and the Wal-Mart owners could get slightly less.

    She said no. So, there you have it. Unfortunately, she’s not the exception.

  4. Why blame Wal-Mart? This is what they do.
    BLAME the local politicians who cleared the way for Wal-Mart!
    Clear our “Representatives” who’re (!) against restoring the minimum wage to its realistic values of some 20 and 40 years ago!
    Wal-Mart is just the parasite entering into areas with reduced immune resistivity, rendered so by our said representative.

  5. What I hate the most is if you even mention unions you will be fired. When hired they make you watch a video about how bad unions are and why you dont need them. They tell you that all unions want to do is take money from you. The video was a joke and very misleading. It made me sick all I wanted to do was stand up and leave b/c my grandfather was in a union that helped him when he needed help. It is a very creepy video

  6. Wal-Mart is the poster child of predatory capitalism. It is among the very few sources of jobs for unskilled workers, and for many skilled workers. If better paying jobs were available Wal-Mart would have no employees. Wal-Mart is the 21st century application of “free trade” where poverty-stricken workers (the makers) around the world are provided with “a job”, while those who inherit fortunes (the takers) receive massive tax-payer-funded handouts. It is a perfect example of an upside-down economic system where those who work hard live in poverty and those who contribute nothing are multi-billionaires.

  7. “WordPress ate my comments :(

    RWL

    And their meal was so thorough that when I went in they were not to be found anywhere. I’m sorry but WordPress works in mysterious ways its’ “wonders” to perform.

    Peter Figen,

    Good catch. Thank you.

  8. Walmart is another example of how the US is now an oligarchy and not a democracy. The present health insurance debacle is another example. These immense entities contribute so much money to political campaigns that they own most of the politicians. The 1,965 health insurance companies that are reinsured in turn all the way up to Lloyds and AIG contribute over $250,000,000 yearly to political campaigns. Walmart, the coal industry, the oil industry, the gas industry, etc all contribute enormous sums to insure that their SPECIAL interests come before the American Dream.

    Watch the cheap Chinese big screen and see the commercials. Almost 20% of the pharmaceutical industries’ budget is spent on advertising. Lawyers plead for you to call them because they are honest and have your best interests at heart, when they end up taking half of the settlement.

    We are addressed as ignorant people for one reason. Most Americans are ignorant. If most Americans were indeed aware of the fact that you don’t listen to a commercial to inform yourself about medicine then the US wouldn’t be the only country in the world that allows this. We are in this mess because we are complacent, fat, and ignorant.

    Before the French Revolution the leaders made sure that table wine and tobacco was cheap so the rabble would have something that could take their mind off of what was going on.

    We have cheap TVs, ding dongs, tons of garbage called food, cheap booze, nothing but pure distraction in the way of culture, and next to no substance coming from our elected representatives.

    The talk to us like we are idiots because we are idiots. They treat us like they can do anything they want because we let them do anything they want. Some even call this America.

  9. I once asked a person I know who has outsourced all his manufacturing to China, what would happen if people here were so poor even they could no longer afford Walmart goods. He said then we’d all be screwed. He didn’t seem to mind that the poor are already screwed. Walmart sells his products. He’s made a great living off the Chinese workers and again off of poor Americans, of which Walmart employs many. It’s not shameful to be poor, it’s shameful to be so rich yet force your employees to take government assistance, because it enriches Walmart even further. Walmart pays them rock bottom wages so that they take up a collection from their already poor employees instead of paying a living wage and donating a turkey dinner to its employees? That is damn shameful. I will not step foot in another Walmart.

  10. Well done, Mike.

    One thing though that you didn’t address directly but did touch tangentially is that Walmart’s business model has left a great many consumers (especially in rural or small town venues) with no other option but to shop at Walmart. Their corrosive effects on small local business has in many places eliminated or severely curtailed competition and in effect created a captive audience.

  11. [sigh] Another fallacious hit piece against the world’s largest private job provider. Mike is using wage figures from more than a decade ago. The average full time employee at Walmart earns $12.40 an hour, which is well above minimum wage and about the same as the national average for a retailer. A family with two full time employees working at Walmart would be earning over $50,000 a year and be considered middle class. See how presenting statistics in a different way leads to a different perspective?

    Now some Walmart stores allow employees to share food with one another for Thanksgiving, a mechanism whereby those who have enough can share with those who do not have enough, and you criticize this? I find the tenor of this article completely nauseating.

    I just gave all my employees $50 gift cards to Walmart for Thanksgiving. I guess Mike will be mad at me for doing that too. He expects me to boycott Walmart. Won’t that cause them to lose business, eventually causing them to have less money, causing them to have to lay people off, eventually causing everyone working there to lose their jobs. Really? This is a good idea? For who?

    Instead of tearing down one of the greatest entrepreneur success stories in American history, we should find ways to celebrate it. Can there be improvements? Of course. I just wish we would take a more positive approach toward problems. Walmart is not Satan destroying the lives of every American in its path. If not for their low prices, the standard of living for many poor and middle class people would be much worse. In America they employ about 1% of our workers. That is incredible. Do you really want to destroy all those jobs in the name of the right for higher wages? Encourage higher wages, sure, encourage more sharing of profits, but do it in a positive way, not with fallacious statistics that make those in charge of Walmart know that you are their enemy who uses subterfuge to turn the public against them. That tactic accomplishes nothing but polarization.

  12. Actually David, how you choose to spend your money is between you and whatever conscience.

    That you’d choose to support a bad employer simply because they have a profitable business model that just happens to operate at the expense of both employees directly and the public via expecting the social safety nets to cover the gaps created by paying substandard wages and questionable employment practices says a lot about how you value people.

  13. “That tactic accomplishes nothing but polarization.”

    Much can be said of every single one of David’s post, and it seems to be both internally and externally consistent.

    Wall mart is no “success story.” It’s a business that does not care about its workers.

  14. david,
    I guess it doesn’t concern you that the full time workers average is at or near the poverty level? The so-called low prices are driving out small businesses and the net result in jobs in many areas when Wal Mart comes to town is a net loss.

  15. James Knauer wrote: “Wall mart is no “success story.” It’s a business that does not care about its workers.”

    McDonald’s pays its workers less than Walmart does. They also earn bigger profits per employee than Walmart does. Why is not the same level of animus being expressed toward McDonald’s?

    Do you know who earns even more profit per employee than either Walmart or McDonald’s? Apple.

    Walmart’s profits are about $13,000 pre-tax dollars per employee.

    McDonald’s profits are about $18,200 per employee.

    Apple’s profits are $697,000 per employee!

    http://www.alternet.org/labor/apple-walmart-mcdonalds-whos-biggest-wage-stiffer

  16. Juliet N wrote: “I guess if you don’t include your part time workers, you can manipulate your statistics to say whatever works for your narrative, right?”

    Yes, that is pretty much my point. In many cases, statistics can be manipulated to tell the story you want it to tell, so pay attention to what they actually mean.

  17. Alice Walton has a fortune…. She lives not to far from here…. Soon she’ll not need the money….. Maybe she can donate it to the deserving at Walmart…..

  18. To the Walton Family, Walmart Executives, Major Shareholders, Feds, etc:

    From the book of James 5:1-6 (NIV)

    “Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you.”

    From the book of Ezekiel 21: 6-7

    “Therefore groan, son of man! Groan before them with broken heart and bitter grief. And when they ask you, ‘Why are you groaning?’ you shall say, ‘Because of the news that is coming. Every heart will melt and every hand go limp; every spirit will become faint and every knee become as weak as water.’ It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign Lord.”

  19. Mike did you get a job as a spokesman for the retail clerks union? I remember when the super markets came in rubbed out all the mom and pop stores in the neighborhood. Just like Home Depot is rubbing out all the local hardware stores. In the city of Los Angeles they banned Walmarts so Walmart built stores in adjacent cities ergo L.A. has no walmarts and they don’t get sales taxes from walmart. The genius of politicians. If you don’t like Walmart don’t shop there but don’t push your prejudices on the general public.

  20. rafflaw wrote: “I guess it doesn’t concern you that the full time workers average is at or near the poverty level? The so-called low prices are driving out small businesses and the net result in jobs in many areas when Wal Mart comes to town is a net loss.”

    I am concerned about wages not being sufficient for the needs of a worker, but I see more complexity to this issue than this simple storyline. I also recognize many other large and successful retailers do the same thing.

    Walmart can do better. I just checked their website and see that the average salary of a full time worker has actually gone up. That means improvement. They now pay an average of $12.83 per hour to full time employees. That’s good news.

    I think Walmart can still do better than this, but the approach of flinging fallacious statistics painting an inaccurate picture is not going to persuade Walmart to do better. Boycotting their business is not going to accomplish anything constructive. Highlighting their profit per employee is a much better approach, and also highlighting the profits paid out to the Walmart family members who basically inherited their positions.

    In regards to the statistics of net job loss when a Walmart comes to town… this is misleading. What the study is actually showing is that the Walmart model is MORE EFFICIENT than the small town business model that cannot compete. Walmart can sell more product and better product as judged by consumers and at better prices with less employees. That is a good thing. Those other employees representing the so-called net loss in employment aren’t sleeping in the streets without a job. They move on working other jobs, sometimes in other industries. Again, you have to look at what the statistics are actually saying, not the storyline that the pundit reporting the study is spinning it to say.

    Competition in the marketplace can be a bit ugly. There are winners and losers. Nobody likes to see losers, but the winners are not always winners because they are evil profit marauders.

  21. OS wrote: “They use rather creative bookkeeping in how they calculate overtime and holiday pay.”

    That strategy of using the hours worked two weeks prior to the holiday is rather commonplace. The reason for it is because employees have a habit of taking time off before and after holidays because they know they are getting extra pay for the holidays. It makes it difficult to run a business when employees do that. The article claims that Walmart is forcing them into shorter hours. I find that rather suspicious. The goal of the policy is to keep them working. They probably just found a person whose hours were being cut for other reasons, perhaps for unsatisfactory work.

  22. OS – Did you see the update on the article to which you linked? The woman is not scheduled to work on Thanksgiving, nor did she work last Thanksgiving day. Yet, Walmart still pays her holiday pay as long as she works her regularly scheduled days. How nice of Walmart, to pay her even when she does not work. I consider that to be a caring employer, don’t you?

  23. “He expects me to boycott Walmart. Won’t that cause them to lose business”

    DavidM,

    Re-read my piece and tell me where I asked people to boycott Walmart. As a matter of fact I wrote:

    “Therefore I can understand what it is like to clip coupons and go to multiple stores looking for sales. So I won’t say that anyone who shops at Walmart is bad because I’m not in a position to judge an individual family’s financial needs. I would ask people though, to raise their voices about the way that Walmart treats people.”

    However, in your rush to defend any wealth, no matter how ill-gotten, you seemed to have missed that. The reason for that is that you are not a true conservative, but merely a worshiper of wealth.

    Now as I said:

    “One can be a conservative, in the true meaning of the word and still decry such backward employment policies. From the perspective of those who don the mantle of fiscal conservatives alone, a fair analysis is that this company is costing us all billion$.”

    And I proved my case.

  24. “If you don’t like Walmart don’t shop there but don’t push your prejudices on the general public.”

    Bruce,

    Are you really stating that I don’t have a right to express my point of view, just as you are doing by commenting on what I wrote?

  25. “At the close of this guest blog I will supply links to much of the information I am synthesizing to write this piece. Everything that I am writing is backed up by copious evidence.”

    Where is the cite showing the average wage?

  26. Once American industry bragged about paying its workers the highest wages in the world a la Henry Ford. Now we have our largest employer begging to help compensate its workers that it pays below subsistence by its own admission. We call that progress.

    Wal*mart stock closed at $79.81 Friday. just pennies under its 52 week high.

  27. Mike Spindell wrote: “Re-read my piece and tell me where I asked people to boycott Walmart.”

    It seemed like the only exception in your mind would be those who were too poor to stop shopping Walmart. So you are okay with me still shopping at Walmart and facilitating my employees to be shopping there as well?

    Mike Spindell wrote: “…in your rush to defend any wealth, no matter how ill-gotten, you seemed to have missed that. The reason for that is that you are not a true conservative, but merely a worshiper of wealth.”

    That does not describe me at all. I certainly do not worship wealth, and there are a lot of ways of earning wealth that I disagree with. For example, insurance companies earn great wealth by preying on the fear of people. This is one of the reasons I object to Obamacare, which I view as a cleverly deceptive insurance bailout, not much different than the way he bailed out the banks and GM.

    Mike Spindell wrote: “…a fair analysis is that this company is costing us all billion$. And I proved my case.”

    I don’t think you did prove your case. My sense of reality is that if we magically removed all the Walmart stores from this country immediately, the poor and middle class people in this country would be in worse shape, not better shape. Over a million people out of work having to find new jobs. Walmart is the largest grocery store (half of its sales is groceries), so all the people shopping good deals on groceries would have to find another store with higher prices. Christmas time would be a little more sparse for many of the poor in this country.

    The primary people who would not be hurt by closing down Walmart are the very wealthy people who don’t shop there anyway. Then the others hurt would be the Walmart family who owns about 48% of the stock in the company, and the other holders of stock would be hurt who perceived Walmart to be a good company and good investment.

    If a vote were taken to close down Walmart or keep it open, I would vote to keep it open. I vote this way not because I love wealth. Walmart doesn’t make me wealthy, but it does make my poor neighbors more wealthy. Walmart helps the poor by providing jobs, products and services that they can afford. I know you provided a lot of statistics claiming the opposite, but these statistics do not say what the people presenting them claim that they say.

  28. Mike Spindell:

    good article and another reason to get government out of the economy and let market forces and not government planning dictate location, wage rates and other things.

    But I will say this, Wal Mart doesnt put small business out of business, we do by shopping at Wal mart. When small town mom and pop shops flourished, they didnt pay high wages and they charged high prices. These small town merchants ran the towns and controlled the local economies just as you say Wal Mart does today.

    A low wage job isnt something to raise a family on, you need some skills to increase your worth in terms of wage rates.

    What is your feeling about Amazon? They put my favorite book store out of business and are probably going to kill the others as well.

    Or is that Ok because Bezos is a democrat? Amazon has revenues of 750k per employee and profits on average of $24,000/employee whereas Wal Mart has gross revenues of around 200k/employee and profits of $7,800/employee.

    “Amazon’s fiercest competitor, Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500), said it pays its warehouse workers an average of $19 per hour, with benefits. This average includes entry level workers to managers.

    What does all this add up to?

    The average warehouse worker at Wal-Mart makes just under $40,000 annually, while at Amazon would take home about $24,300 a year. That’s less than $1,000 above the official federal poverty line for a family of four.”

    I think you better start busting on Amazon too. Really, Amazon pays its warehouse workers less than Wal Mart? What kind of sh*t is that?

    Hey, enjoy that kindle, I guess it isnt down with the cause after all. :)

    http://money.cnn.com/2013/07/30/news/companies/amazon-warehouse-workers/

  29. Wouldn’t it have been beautiful if Mr. Walton would have left his wealth divided evenly between his co-workers?

    That’s my next dream.

  30. Nate wrote: “Wouldn’t it have been beautiful if Mr. Walton would have left his wealth divided evenly between his co-workers?”

    In a way, he did when he offered the company publicly in the 1970’s. Because of that, the Walton family actually owns less than half the company right now. Mr. Walton also started an automatic profit sharing plan for employees. A few years ago, Walmart did away with that automatic profit sharing plan, and instead did a match to 401K contributions. Employees always have the option to buy shares just like anyone else in the public. The thing is, with a family business like Walmart, the family is in on it from the beginning. They trust each other, and so they value buying shares in the business bearing their name. Many employees will not invest themselves in their company. The end result is that if the company is successful, the ones who believed in the company and bought the shares are wealthy and the ones who didn’t are not.

  31. Henry Ford was an anti-Semitic Nazi sympathizer who created an automated industrial process that while incredibly productive, turned employees into robots. And then, as we know, many were replaced by robots decades later.

  32. Nick, what people sometimes don’t realize is that the assembly line worker situation was new in 1914, and the wage was substandard compared to other industries. A painter was earning $4.50 a day, a carpenter was earning $5.85 a day, and a plumber was earning $6.21. Ford was paying his workers only $2.34 a day for monotonous labor, so they were quitting on him left and right. Ford had to do something. So, he doubled the pay to $5 a day, which made the wage more competitive with other jobs. His motivation wasn’t altruism toward the worker, but he was trying to fix the problem he had with employee turnover. He acted in the best interests of himself and his company.

  33. David, And Ford has remained a smart company. As you know they were the only auto company who didn’t have their hand out to the taxpayers when the economy tanked.

  34. There’s an easy solution to the WalMart problem. Don’t buy their crappy junk and don’t apply for their crappy jobs.

    I’ve only been to WalMart twice and I don’t know why I went back the second time. Both times the experience was pretty bad. In fact, judging by the workers I dealt with there, I’m not sure they were worth even the minimum wage.

    Ditto for McDonalds and their workers.

    These places aren’t political problems, they are social problems and their existence is directly attributable to people who voluntarily give them money in exchange for low quality goods.

    The political problem is that the same idiots that shop and work at these hellholes also vote.

  35. DavidM2575:

    Thanks for your comment. I was going to say something similar, but you beat me to the punch.

    I will add that Henry Ford was worried about high turnover (employees left after a few weeks due to low pay and dangerous work conditions) because there was a rather steep learning curve with new workers, and the newest workers were slowing down the assembly line, thus Ford could not produce as many cars unless workers stayed and Ford could then speed up the assembly line. I’m guessing that it was only after Ford raised the wages to prevent turnover did he figure out that, gee, now my workers can also become customers.

    In my estimation, the Ford Motor Company has remained a selfish, and criminally implicated, company. I’m old enough to remember that Lee Iacocca would not allow a very inexpensive part for the gas tanks of Ford Pintos that would have ended the tendency of Pintos to burst into flames if hit from behind in a slow-speed accident. And personnel at Ford KNEW about the Pinto gas tank problem BEFORE the Pinto was first sold. And Ford was implicated in a similar manner for school buses bursting into flames due to a refusal to simply move the gas tanks where they were less likely to be flammable if the bus was involved in an accident; children were burned to death as a result. Ford also has engaged in shady, possibly criminal acts, in quashing the formation of unions in their South American plants.

  36. MabelMabel,
    Not just Ford. General Motors had an interesting lawsuit against them. Seem that if an axle fails a quality control test, they mark it with white paint, to show it is a defective part. Then they send the marked parts back though a machine called the “tocco unit” which is supposed to reheat the bad metal which caused it to fail the quality control in the first place. In machine shop or blacksmiths terms, this is called “annealing.” Only one problem with their procedure; they don’t re-test the part after the “taco machine” supposedly fixes it. When it comes out of the tocco unit the splotch of white paint is now a dirty yellow. The supposedly fixed part is then installed on vehicles coming down the assembly line.

    In 1984, Terry Jackson of Tupelo, MS bought a brand new GMC Jimmy SUV. His wife just had a new little girl, Amanda. When new mommy Linda Jackson was on her way to get Amanda’s six-week checkup, the rear axle broke, and the new GMC Jimmy flipped. To make a long story short, Amanda was brain damaged and Linda had severe pelvic injuries. GMC fought them tooth and nail, trying to blame the wreck on Linda.

    In his introductory remarks, the plaintiff’s lawyer held that broken axle up for all to see, the formerly white paint now a burnt yellow. He pointed out that axle cost GMC about twelve dollars to make. In order to save twelve dollars, a young woman can no longer have any more children, and Amanda, who was an Apgar score of nine at birth, was a now five-year-old little girl with an IQ of about 35 and is partially blind.

    The jury awarded Amanda $5 million for the lifetime of total care she will need. Linda was awarded $2 million for her extensive injuries, and Terry Jackson $150.000 for loss of consortium (Linda could no longer have intimate sexual relations without significant pain, and could not give him another child).

    The wreck was in 1984. The jury trial was five years later. GM fought the lawsuit until the state supreme court finally rendered a verdict in 1992, eighteen years after the wreck that nearly killed Linda and baby Amanda. The jury verdict was upheld, but by the time GM actually had to write a check, the amount was into eight figures because of accrued interest and lawyers fees.

    All to save twelve bucks.

    Read it and cringe:
    http://www.leagle.com/decision/1992946636So2d310_1946

  37. Raff,
    My testimony in that case was written up in the ABA Journal. Presented as “how to do it right” when establishing damages, especially for a sympathetic plaintiff. When I got through, several of the jury were in tears.

    The judge let the grandmother bring Amanda into the courtroom, where I sat her down at the end of a table right in front of the jury box. I had her do a few simple tasks borrowed from a children’s IQ test. She couldn’t do even the simplest ones.

    As the ABA Journal author put it, “When the doctor asked Amanda to put a three piece puzzle of a duck into a duck-shaped cutout in a board, and she couldn’t do it, the jury understood her injuries perfectly.

    Defense lawyers admitted they were not going to argue against damages, and admitted damages were as plaintiffs claimed. They tried to make it an engineering case instead. They knew better than to try and minimize the injuries.

  38. **pdm 1, November 24, 2013 at 12:18 am

    This is a terrific blog post from a woman who describes herself as poor and talks about why she. and others who are in the same boat, makes certain decisions. **

    With some people & their unborn babies maybe the govt giving them Rat Poison, Sodium Fluoride in their water & mercury & other crap, etc., actually helps them.

    So go ahead friends shoot up!

    (Sarc off)

  39. OS, my heart is with the Jacksons. And nobody argued the terrible damages to the family. But damn, as I understand it, the mechanical explanation is not clear cut. There were no marks on the highway where the axle was supposed to have failed and the left wheel reacted in ways that seem to break the laws of physics (as stated by a dissenting judge.) I also wondered what caused their first expert witness Mar—- (I forget his name) to decide that the accident was not GM’s fault. I do understand why he was not allowed to testify. Did you hear any of mechanical testimony and, if so, why did disagree with the GM defense?

    Had I been on the jury, I probably would have found for the Jacksons, but I’m not sure that that was a just verdict. Your link had someone saying the jury was prejudiced toward the Jacksons. You could have put me in that category.

  40. OS, something else I wondered about which you are uniquely qualified to discuss. When reading your comment and the description of their injuries, I thought the award was too small to provide lifetime care. I would think that $5 million is long gone by now. Is it just impossible to get juries to understand the effect of inflation in these kinds of lifetime disabilities?

  41. Otteray:

    Very sad story; I feel terrible for the family. No amount of damages can make up for the losses they suffer. I’m glad they had your testimony. And, yes, all so a wealthy corporation could save 12 bucks. According to Popular Mechanics, the Pinto would have needed an 11 dollar part to rectify the problem. Reminds me of the engineer who was consulting with NASA and on multiple occasions warned NASA that the infamous O-rings might fail if lift-off occurred when the weather was too cold (if memory serves me correctly); NASA didn’t listen, and the rest is history. It is no wonder that yet another corporation, Wal-Mart, is a bad actor.

  42. pdm,
    I did not stay for the whole trial because I had to be back at work. I would have liked to stay and hear the arguments. However, when an expert is disallowed from testifying, it is usually because the testimony is not backed up by science. There is a little matter called “rules of evidence,” and scientific testimony has to be backed up with something other than ipse dixit, which is Latin for “it’s so because i said its so.”

    Linda had a concussion and her memory is a bit foggy, but she is certain she did not run off the road and break an axle. She described to me losing control, and her description was more consistent with a wheel departing the vehicle than an impact and then losing control.

    I have an opinion on that myself. An SUV should, and is, well built enough to drop a wheel off a shoulder or hit a pothole without breaking an axle. It can break if it is weakened from flawed metal, but under ordinary circumstances would not break. I have an engineering metallurgy handbook that gives all the stress fracture tolerances of various kinds of steel, but it is in storage at the moment and I am not about go looking for it now. Suffice it to say that an axle on a brand new SUV should have not broken under ordinary driving conditions. I looked at that fractured axle, and the cross section at the point of break did not look right.

    There was one other detail that I don’t think was ever emphasized. Amanda was in an approved rear facing infant car seat. In those days, it was OK to strap the seat into the front seat. Thirty years later, we know you should put the car seat in the rear seat. At any rate, the inertia reel of the seat belt did not hold on impact. When they found Amanda, she was still buckled into the car seat, but the seat belt had extended full length. Amanda was under the dashboard, on the floorboard. I read some time after that, there was a recall on that model seatbelt because the inertia reels were not holding.

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/fre/rule_702

  43. OT:

    Letter: ‘Affordable Boat Act’
    November 21, 2013
    Letter from: Glenn Jacobs, Eagar, Arizona

    [I didn’t write this gem of satire. Maybe one Dallas Horton, Philosopher, did.]

    The U.S. government has just passed a new law called: “The Affordable Boat Act,” declaring that every citizen must purchase a new boat by April 2014. These “affordable” boats will cost an average of $54,000-$155,000 each. This does not include taxes, trailers, towing fees, licensing and registration fees, fuel, docking and storage fees, maintenance or repair costs.

    This law has been passed, because until now, typically only wealthy people have been able to buy boats. Now every American will have an affordable boat, because everyone is “entitled” to one.

    In order to make sure everyone purchases an affordable boat, the costs of owning a boat will increase on average of 250-400 percent per year. This way, wealthy people will pay more for something that other people don’t want or can’t afford to maintain. But to be fair, people who can’t afford to maintain their boat will be fined again and again. Children under the age of 26 may use their parents’ boats until they turn 27 – then they must purchase their own boats.

    If you already have a boat, you can keep yours (Just kidding. No, you can’t). If you don’t want or don’t need a boat, you are required to buy one anyhow. If you refuse to buy one or can’t afford one, you will be fined again and again until you purchase one or face imprisonment.

    Failure to use the boat will also result in fines. People living in the desert; ghettos; inner cities or areas with no access to lakes are not exempt. Neither age, motion sickness, inexperience, lack of knowledge nor lack of desire are acceptable excuses for not using your boat.

    A government review board (that doesn’t know the difference between the port, starboard or stern of a boat) will decide everything, including; when, where, how often and for what purposes you can use your boat along with how many people can ride your boat and determine if one is too old or unhealthy to be allowed to use a boat. They will also decide when you have to buy a newer model, and when you must purchase specific accessories (like a $500 compass).

    Those who can afford yachts will have to buy them. It is only fair. The government will also decide the name for each boat. Failure to comply with these rules will result in fines and/or imprisonment.

    Government officials are exempt from this new law. If they want a boat, they and their families can obtain boats free, at the expense of tax payers. Unions, bankers and mega companies with large political affiliations ($$$) are also exempt.

    [Dallas Horton: If the government can force you to buy health insurance, they can force you to buy a boat – or anything else. Yeah. It’s that stupid.]

    http://tulsabeacon.com/affordable-boat-act/

  44. ** However, when an expert is disallowed from testifying, it is usually because the testimony is not backed up by science. There is a little matter called “rules of evidence,” and scientific testimony has to be backed up with something other than ipse dixit, which is Latin for “it’s so because i said its so.”

    Linda had a concussion and her memory is a bit foggy, but she is certain she did not run off the road and break an axle. She described to me losing control, and her description was more consistent with a wheel departing the vehicle than an impact and then losing control.

    I have an opinion on that myself. An SUV should, and is, well built enough to drop a wheel off a shoulder or hit a pothole without breaking an axle. It can break if it is weakened from flawed metal, but under ordinary circumstances would not break. I have an engineering metallurgy handbook that gives all the stress fracture tolerances of various kinds of steel, but it is in storage at the moment and I am not about go looking for it now. Suffice it to say that an axle on a brand new SUV should have not broken under ordinary driving conditions. I looked at that fractured axle, and the cross section at the point of break did not look right. **

    OS,

    Sorry my heads a mess the last few days, but I’ve I lot I wish to see done, but some sucess.

    I know some of the engineering on GM vehicles. No not ipse dixit.

    GM has a history of known front axle failure. One cause of this is a check value type system on brake lines. Moisture is suspected of getting in the system cause a failure of the check value to release properly. That causes the brakes to keep rubbing on that hub/axle. Axle over heats, vehicles hits a point off stress, axle fails.

    (IE: Heat or cold & a small Axle)

    ( OS: I have an engineering metallurgy handbook that gives all the stress fracture tolerances )

  45. OS, Mar…… inability to testify had nothing to do with scientific fact (or lack of). Apparently, it is the law (just in Mississippi?) that an expert hired by one party cannot then testify for the other party. Those are the grounds on which he was barred. It also had nothing to do with rules of evidence.

    Linda said the axle broke (she felt a bump) as she was traveling on the highway then lost control and flipped three times.

    If an axle breaks while you are traveling 55 mph (Linda feels the bump), won’t there be some scars on the highway on which you were traveling where the undercarriage will hit and mar the highway? There were none. “Yaw” marks were found in the other lanes, not the lane on which Mrs. Jackson was traveling. And there was a lot of discussion of how the left wheel folded and traveled in very unexpected directions if the accident happened as Mrs. Jackson described.

    I don’t think metallurgy is in question on these particular points. Take another look at your link if you are curious. It’s the damn missing scars on the highway when Mrs. Jackson describes the axle breaking.

    OS, I’m sure my heart would break over that little child, too. But I don’t think this case is the one to prove that GM is the bad guy. And it embarrasses me to say it, but Mrs. Jackson is not a disinterested party here. Still, I’m glad they prevailed but I’m not convinced it was a correct verdict.

    My fingers are turning into stone as I type this, but I wonder why Nick doesn’t offer his opinion. This is right up his alley. But Nick, no fair offering some similar case you have run into. Promise you will read the court record link if you decide to comment on my observations.

  46. OS,

    A massive difference between someone having a few drinks & not expecting trouble & Bean counters & Lawyers overruling the engineers specs!!!

    But society, sold out lazy DA’s, well that’s just the Idiocracy we live in.

    The death/injury count, Bean Counters/Lawyers in Jail vs DUI/DWI in jail? Ya, I hardly need to view the real stats as those are irrelevant to the muffets.

    IE: Jap/GE Fukushima Nuke. The world didn’t need that Jap Island anyway, did we? (wink)

  47. pdm,

    Are the rear brake lines made the same as the front? I’m not sure & I don’t know every model.

    One of the ones I do know the rear axle is larger then the front. A few drivers may notice a problem long before it becomes a larger problem, but many wouldn’t.

    IE: My wife says something maybe wrong/any wife, hubby says, ya, ya I’ll check it later….

    Any rate the issue I’m talking about shows up in the service/parts records. Maybe it’s made it to the internet by now?

  48. Mike S,

    Excellent! You’re right of over the target, one of America’s homegrown corporations that went terrible bad after the proprietor passed & the lawyers & the bean counters took over. “They Hate America’s Guts!”

    Funny, I see no more of those Sam Walton/W’mart commercials of Sam introducing us to Joe/Suzie 6 pack that they were making WalMart’s Made in America products, where’d they go?

    Need proof, look at the trade agreements, Nafta, Gata, & now TTP, & the roaring in our ears of loss of national sovereignty, that Ross Perot, Giant Sucking Sound, Clinton, GW, Obama sucking New World Order ….

    Pity, you & I just don’t grab now what we know soon will be. WE can have citizens work with not a dime out of their paychecks just as everyday when we pull into a gas station, fill up, pay the bill & go marry on our way.

    “Where are “Your” Royalty Payments” from Your/My USA’s Assets???

    Gulf of Mexico Oil, only that Red Coat B*tch Queen gets a cut, not us? Nothing for our poor/elderly, SSI, Medicare/M’caid?

    WalMart may have started out great under Sam W, but when I heard he passed on the radio I told my wife, watch, within a decade the bean counters/lawyers will Ph that corp up & they did.

    I few years back I remember seeing it cost something like $1.5-$2 bucks for every dollar spent in WalMart.

    Yes, I proud to have been boycotting WMT for years now. Every dollar I spend elsewhere helps a worker not associated with those Wally World/American hatin terrorist.

    ( Even people on food stamps/SNAP should be looking for a local butcher for their meats. )

    As we’ve all been warned we should protect yourselves from the abuse of Gov’t power just as much as we should protect yourselves from corporation’s abuse of power.

    I’ve got this I feel is a very key piece here though, we can have a small bit of socialism, libertarianism, authoritarianism, we just can’t allow ourselves to become buried under a dump truck load of too much of any one of the them.

  49. Mr. Scribe
    Thanks for the link, but there is no date at that site. And if you follow its link, you will see a piece from 2011(the year of the data was not clear to me) showing that WalMart pays sales associates $8.8, which is more than Target or Kmart do. I don’t know whether “sales associates” are the same as “associates,” which is what Mr. Spindell wrote, but I suspect not. I do know that $8.81 is more than a national grocery chain in my area pays its cashiers.

    Mr. Spindell,
    Please provide a cite to the wage data.

  50. James Knauer
    1, November 23, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Wall mart is no “success story.” It’s a business that does not care about its workers.

    *****

    They don’t give a damn about American manufacturers, other American companies, and what’s good for this country either. All they care about is making more and more money.

    *****

    NOT MADE IN AMERICA: TOP 10 WAYS WALMART DESTROYS US MANUFACTURING JOBS
    July 2, 2012
    Amy Traub
    http://www.demos.org/publication/not-made-america-top-10-ways-walmart-destroys-us-manufacturing-jobs

    Excerpt:
    Why is it that America no longer makes things the way we used to? Between 1980 and 2011, the United States lost 7 million manufacturing jobs,[i] many of them middle-class positions that enabled workers to support their families with dignity. Today, the nation’s largest employer is not a manufacturer, but mega-retailer Walmart – which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this week. Walmart pays its associates just $8.81 an hour on average.[ii] In this economy, a quarter of full-time working-age American adults are not earning enough money to meet their families’ economic needs.[iii] While the decline of American industry was caused by a variety of complex factors, the actions of the nation’s biggest corporation and largest retailer play an under-estimated role.

    As America’s biggest company, Walmart wields tremendous market power. Walmart could use this might to help build up the American economy, offering good jobs to its own employees, encouraging contractors to do the same, and helping to strengthen U.S. manufacturing through its relationships with its suppliers. Instead, Walmart has wielded its market power to eliminate good-paying manufacturing jobs and lower labor standards in the retail sector and throughout its entire supply chain. On this Fourth of July, here are 10 ways Walmart has facilitated America’s industrial decline:

    1. Buying billions of goods that weren’t made in America.
    The vast majority of merchandise Walmart sells in the U.S. is manufactured abroad. The company searches the world for the cheapest goods possible, and this usually means buying from low-wage factories overseas. Walmart boasts of direct relationships with nearly 20,000 Chinese suppliers,[iv] and purchased $27 billion worth of Chinese-made goods in 2006.[v] According to the Economic Policy Institute, Walmart’s trade with China alone eliminated 133,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs between 2001 and 2006 and accounted for 11.2 percent of the nation’s total job loss due to trade.[vi] But China is hardly the only source of Walmart goods: the company also imports from Bangladesh, Honduras, Cambodia, and a host of other countries.

    2. Pushing U.S. companies to move their factories overseas.
    With $419 billion in annual net sales, Walmart’s market power is so immense that the even the largest suppliers must comply with its demands for lower and lower prices because they cannot afford to have their goods taken off its shelves. Companies that used to manufacture products in the United States, from Levi’s jeans to lock maker Master Lock, were pressured to shut their U.S. factories and moved manufacturing abroad to meet Walmart’s demand for low prices.[vii]

    3. Making it easier for other U.S. retailers to buy from foreign factories.
    Walmart was a leader in sourcing goods overseas, establishing a centralized purchasing system, technological infrastructure, and linkages to foreign factories that other companies imitated and built on. While researchers find that Walmart still imports disproportionately more goods than other apparel retailers,[viii] its innovations accelerated the use of offshore suppliers by its competitors, speeding the loss of American manufacturing jobs.

    4. Forcing layoffs among its U.S. suppliers.
    Even when Walmart products are made in the United States, manufacturing jobs still get eliminated as suppliers cut costs to meet Walmart’s demands for low prices. A spokesman for the National Knitwear and Sportswear Association noted that producing goods for Walmart “forces domestic manufacturers to compete, often unrealistically, with foreign suppliers who pay their help pennies on the hour.”[ix] A Walmart spokesperson admitted that this was the point of the company’s efforts to buy domestic goods: “one of our big objectives was to put the heat on American manufacturers to lower prices.”[x] Even as manufacturing costs increase, Walmart demands that suppliers’ prices go even lower, a dynamic that helped push Kraft Foods to plan the closure of 39 factories and lay off 13,500 workers. [xi]

    5. Promoting domestic sweatshops.
    Layoffs aren’t the only way manufacturers contrive to meet the low prices Walmart demands. Walmart’s domestic suppliers lower wages, cut benefits, aggressively fight employee efforts to unionize and bargain collectively, and skimp on worker comfort and safety. For example, Louisiana seafood processor C.J.’s Seafood, which sells an estimated 85 percent of its processed crawfish to Walmart, has recently come under scrutiny for allegedly abusing employees working in the U.S. on temporary immigrant visas (known as guestworker visas).[xii] A complaint to the U.S. Department of Labor claims that the Walmart supplier “engaged in extremely coercive employment related actions, including forcing guestworkers to work up to 24-hour shifts with no overtime pay, locking guestworkers in the plant to force them to continue to work, threatening the guestworkers with beatings to make them work faster, and threatening violence against the guestworkers’ families in Mexico after workers contacted law enforcement for assistance.”[xiii]

  51. I normally don’t like to comment on “off-topic” comments, but the information about the GMC verdict will be an exception. The link provided goes to a long opinion. The key point to me is that reasonable minds can differ: Three Justices found that there was plenty of evidence supporting GMC’s version of events and recommended a new trial. I suspect those three do not agree that the facts show that this was about saving $12.

  52. mahtso,
    Don’t forget I know all those judges, some of whom are no longer on the Court. For example, I knew Jim Smith back when he was still a brand new lawyer. He makes Alito and Roberts look like flaming liberals. This is Mississippi after all, and big business friendly ultra conservatives get elected to the bench.

    In fact, whenever a more moderate judge wins a seat on the bench, big business front groups go after them. They did it to Chuck McRae, and tried to do it to Ruben Anderson. In Anderson’s case, TV ads showed his photo and his opponent side by side with the caption that he is “not like us.” Ruben happens to be of African-American descent.

    In Rankin County, where Jim Smith had been a lawyer and local judge, local law enforcement tried to arrest Justice McRae several times. The usual charge was “suspicion of DUI.” Chuck McRae has a slight speech impediment (dysarthria), and that was “evidence” of drinking.

    The jury made the right decision, and despite millions of dollars in lawyers fees by GM, they lost every round before a conservative Mississippi court after 18 years of stalling.

  53. You folks must think these employees were chained and led to the employment office at walmart. Nobody starts at the top of the food chain. you have to work your way up if you don’t like the process go get an education, change jobs, look for a better opportunity and improve yourself.

  54. Mike you can say what you want. You know the old saying “open mouth and insert foot” someone should tell Pelosi and Maxine Waters that

  55. Obviously, some are missing the point that the system that enables Walmart’s success, is a scheme that was established through corruption and relentless undermining of workers rights. Walmart could never have been so big, so successful and so powerful had it just relied on low prices . Part of its scheme is to elbow out smaller competitors, the mom and pop stores that have always been the backbone of local economies. In order to do that, it relies on cornering the market on goods, cornering the market on production, on legislation and employment standards (lack of). This in turns makes it to our local communities what JP Morgan is to the national economy, a too big to fail entity that manipulates the system to increase its success yet never really pays a price for it. Now local government are bound to Walmart’s whims, never really able to free themselves from its fiefdom now that the hardware store has closed, the shoe repair shop is shuttered, the bakery is no more, the general store is gone.
    The Walmart model is the model that is killing this country. For example, 4 companies produce 84% of our meat; which enables them to determine its price, its quality (lack of), and through the subsidies the government (you and me) gives them, to make us pay twice for a product we have no control over. But worse, they force the farmers who produce the meat, to at best work for free, caught up as they are in that antiquated feudal relationship that pays them little for their product, forcing them to cut corners and produce meat mistreated and stacked on top of each other, stressed to the marrow, which we eat and are diseased, then head off to that other industry, the pharmaceutical one, that is also too big to fail, and get these drugs that make sure we don’t die of the disease, but surely of the side effects of the treatment.
    When I lived in Northampton, MA, a Walmart was proposed in town. The whole community rose up against the idea, making sure that it would not happen. At that time, I was not particularly engaged in that battle, not feeling to have a dog in it, as I knew I wasn’t there to stay. One day, as I was taking a stroll through the downtown, eating ice cream with the kids, and saying hello to a couple of people I knew sitting at the cafe on main street, inspired, I took a 360 degree view of my surroundings, looking at all the 100’s of little stores that lined the street, some manned by young people, others by older gents who have been around for decades, each offering a specific service, a specialty, a unique knowledge and experience. Around me were many other people, of all ages and backgrounds, some local and some tourists, going in and out of the shops, the cafes, the restaurants, a beehive of interaction and vibrancy. Had the Walmart been built locally, all of that would gone the way of countless other Main streets nationwide, resulting in phantom towns where the single local economy is through walmart, which then gets to dictate what the local government would let it get away with, and what the local people would get paid to stock its shelves.
    Additionally, bringing any entity other than Walmart in this discussion is like bringing in Al Sharpton when discussing Zimmerman, you are really not making a point, you are simply trying to score points.

  56. Bruce,

    You’re in denial!

    Wally World is another deadbeat globalist corporation that uses trickery/fraud to avoid paying the rent they owe.

    They use our roads, bridges, infrastructure, other govt services & our citizens & then the skip out on paying our nation back the rent that’s due.

    That in turn leaves the govt putting Wally Worlds bill on our govt’s credit card.

    I haven’t kept up on the numbers on this case but last I seen I’ve had many others join my boycott against Wally World & it’s showing up in the US quarterly numbers.

    When the “Move Your Money” campaign against “Too Big to Succeed” Banks/Insur/Dirt Bag Corporations there was about 6-7 billion moved out of those big banks.

    Earlier this year that number was reported at about 70 billion had been moved out.

    If you wish to support Welfare Queens like Wally World fine, I just want you to be fair about.

    Let me know your address & I send you my bills for heat, food, maintenance, etc., & your can pay it for just like you’re doing for Wally World/Wallst now.

    And I send you back a :) every month.

  57. oky-1:

    that is what you get when government is involved in the economy.

    let the companies fail or suceed without any intervention by government.

  58. Also,

    If I should be injured in the course of my activities of course you’ll be expected to honor the compensation claims. lol

    **

    By ROD McGUIRK
    Associated Press

    (AP:CANBERRA, Australia) Australia’s highest court on Wednesday denied workers’ compensation to a bureaucrat who was injured while having sex in a motel room during a business trip.

    The judgment is a final decision, reversing lower court rulings, and could have ramifications for other federal employees who claim compensation for unconventional work-related mishaps.

    The 4-1 decision from the High Court said the woman’s employer did not induce or encourage her to participate in the sex, so the federal government insurer, Comcare, was not liable to compensate her. The lower court said the woman was injured in the course of her employment and should be compensated.

    The woman cannot be identified for legal reasons. She was a federal civil servant in her 30s when she was hospitalized for the injury in 2007. She and a man were having sex in her motel room when a glass light fitting above the bed fell onto her face, injuring her nose and mouth. She later suffered depression and was unable to continue working for the government.

    Comcare initially approved her claim for workers’ compensation but rejected it after further investigation. An administrative tribunal agreed that her injuries were not suffered in the course of her employment, saying the government had not induced or encouraged the woman’s sexual conduct. The tribunal also found the sex was “not an ordinary incident of an overnight stay” such as showering, sleeping and eating.

    Federal Court Judge John Nicholas overturned that last year, rejecting the tribunal’s findings that the sex had to be condoned by the government if she were to qualify for compensation.

    “If the applicant had been injured while playing a game of cards in her motel room, she would be entitled to compensation even though it could not be said that her employer induced her to engage in such activity,” Nicholas wrote then.

    Comcare lost its appeal to the Full Bench last December, with the three judges finding that the government’s views on the woman having sex were irrelevant.

    But the High Court ruled that Comcare was not liable to pay compensation. The judges did not say how much compensation had already been paid. Comcare declined to comment on the amount, but said it was considering recovering it.

    “The relevant question is: Did the employer induce or encourage the employee to engage in that activity?” a summary of the court ruling said. A majority of judges _ Justices Kenneth Hayne, Susan Crennan, Susan Kiefel and Virginia Bell _ answered: “No.”

    Justice Stephen Gageler dissented.

    The crucial facts were that the overnight stay was within the two-day period of the work trip and her employer had encouraged the woman to stay in the motel in Nowra, 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of her hometown of Sydney.

    “In the absence of any suggestion that she was engaged at the time of injury in misconduct, those facts were sufficient to conclude that the injury the respondent sustained during that interval, and when at that place, was sustained in the course of her employment,” Gageler said.

    Employment Minister Eric Abetz hailed the ruling as a victory for common sense.

    “Instances such as this where an employee seeks to stretch the boundaries of entitlements are of great concern and the High Court’s intervention is welcome,” Abetz said.

    Comcare declined to say what effect the ruling would have on other compensation claims. The government insurer also declined to say whether other claims in comparable circumstances were pending.

    Australian National University law professor Peter Cane said that while he had not yet read the High Court’s reasons, there is always “wriggle room” in any test of whether an accident happened in the course of employment.

  59. Bron,

    Paul C Roberts was a key player in Reagan’s “Trickle Down Economics”, ie: pissing down my back & telling me it was raining.

    I used to hate his guts for it, but he seems to have repented to a position I can support. ie: Some govt regs are needed, just like say a stop sign on the road.

    I can’t force you/others to watch the video I posted above, but it is a key piece of the large positions I will be defending.

    ** Oky1 1, November 24, 2013 at 4:01 am **

  60. It seems to me that Walmart is just one example of the modern era distinguished by a marked reduction in the ability of workers to negotiate the terms of their employment.

    Advice like ‘go get an education’, which has some truth, still rings hollow because of what some call the ‘hollowing out’ of the US labor market where there are jobs at the bottom and at the top but far fewer jobs in the middle.

    The loss of good paying jobs for the middle class represents a serious problem for the economy and some would claim for democracy itself.

  61. Mike,

    My mind keeps going back to how at the end of WWII, Japan, Germany, Britian, France, all these countries were destroyed which left only the U.S. as an economic powerhouse. Fast forward 60 years or so and the tremendous lead that the U.S. had has all been squandered.

    Between wars and Wall Street, prosperity for the common man just disappeared. What gets me is how the American people haven’t learned a damn thing. Wars and Wall Street, they still reign unmolested.

    I’m happy for the other countries that have done well for themselves and brought themselves to a better place; China (in some ways), Brazil, etc, but I just can’t get over how the U.S. has squandered itself without learning anything.

    “Hollowed out” is a good way of putting it. “Stupid” works too.

  62. OS, I am really disappointed that you have not discussed my questions.

    I do not doubt Smith was akin to Atilla the Hun. My guess is that all five judges were ultra conservative. That does not answer my question about the missing highway scars.

    You say it took 17 years and then state the accident was in 1984 and the final verdict was 1992. Huh? Your link on Smith/Hawkins decision shows 1994. I still can’t get to 17 years.

    Please read part VI on the Smith/Hawkins decision. It goes into great detail regarding inadmissability of the Marcosky testimony. (The Jacksons wouldn’t have wanted his testimony anyway. He agreed with GM.) My question is why, having been hired by the Jacksons, he then agrees with GM. Integrity? A pay-off? It just seems really odd. How often will a plaintiffs expert witness switch sides? Smith cites M.R.C.P. 26(b) (4) (B) and MRE 403 as the rules. To me, that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with a lack of scientific basis.

    You asked that we read your link. I did and was intrigued. I’ve asked some questions. I’m not being argumentative (although that should be permissabile in this forum) but even Nick won’t respond! (A noteworthy lesson for us all.)

    What’s up with that?

  63. Po wrote: “Walmart could never have been so big, so successful and so powerful had it just relied on low prices . Part of its scheme is to elbow out smaller competitors, the mom and pop stores that have always been the backbone of local economies.”

    You seem to be forgetting that Walmart began as a single mom and pop store in Arkansas in 1962. The business model was: “The Lowest Prices Anytime, Anywhere.” In 5 years, there were 24 stores. In 1970, he made the public offering to investors and brought his business model national. If you were smart, you would have bought stock in Walmart and be wealthy today.

    Yes, Walmart does elbow out the smaller competitors, because people choose to buy there over buying at the competitors, and because people choose to work there over choosing to work at the competitors place of business. Walmart is more efficient at retail. That’s why it is successful and why it elbows out its competitors.

    The same kind of success follows retailers like Target and Home Depot. Most people like big stores with a wide selection of good merchandise at good prices.

  64. OS, I’ve just taken a look at the Cornell link. I had delayed looking at it ’til now thinking it dealt with seatbelts. It seems to be talking about “reliability” of expert testimony and to your point. But Smith/Hawkins was talking about a witness hired by the plaintiff and then switching sides to go over to the defendants. Different issue, no?

  65. Because most of govt’s, demo/repub have been reg. captured by/through outfits like Chamber Commerce, BBB, ALEX, Ford/Rockefeller/etc. Foundations, they use those govt’s/regs to exert monopoly control of most every sector of the economy to block all Micro biz from competing.

    Even if some of us can comply with their regulatory capture we now find it counter productive to do so in this country.

    They/Wallst/City of London/Dc wish to keep playing their scam fine, but we are going to throw up our own legal road blocks everywhere we can. Hitting them on their bottom lines.

    One would think with about half of the people in the US able to work, 104 million, + or – a few, that biz colleges, their students, govts’ charities would be teaming up to organize those out of the work force people + resources into self sustaining biz models in which the out of the work force people & the local communities held ownership position in new micro businesses.

    Part of the profits could be plowed back in to do more start ups later.

    I’ve heard of a few such programs but not on the scale that is currently needed.

    I may never get what I’m calling for, but I will keep pounding the table for:

    1. Get Rid of the Federal Reserve System & bring back an independent, competing currency/currencies.

    2. Get rid of the direct tax/income tax system. There are plenty other ways to collect revs to run the govts’.

    3. Remove all withholdings from workers pay checks. Young families have to have funds to raise their kids today not later. There are other ways to raise funds for SSI, Medicaid, etc.. ie: mineral royalties, import tariffs, Airwaves, road use, financial transaction taxes, etc…

    4. Remove Investment Banking from Commercial Banking.

    Re-instate the ban on the illegal practice of selling fraudulent OTC Derivatives. It’s an unsustainable Ponzi Scam.

    The current system Banking/Insurance drain needed resources from local communities & kill growth/sustainability.

    At least huge parts of Banking/Insurance biz needs run as non- profits on/at the local level with state/fed oversight of regs/capital requirements only.

    North Dakota has one type of a model that works.

    5. Elimination/change back away from Federalized para-military policing, fire dept, schools, prisons, MIC, etc…

    6. I don’t know there’s much more, but for now, Free Beer & Cannibals.

    That’ll at least get most everyone chilled the Phk out. lol :)

    The point is, we might as well argue for free beer, that under today’s condition most likely not a single corrective/positive action will be take because Wallst/City of London have the demo/repub party leaders working their divide & conquer strategy against us all.

    And many can not even allow themselves to consider the fact that this system is dying fast & people need to began immediately to withdraw all support & move their savings, pensions, investments out from under the control of all Wallst type outfits & into secure areas, inside/outside this country.

  66. david,
    how Walmart started out has no bearing on how they operate as a company now. They force and strong arm suppliers to give them exclusively lower prices so the small guys can’t compete. Daddy Walton also started out selling all or mostly American made goods, but they are not even close in that department any longer.

  67. repost: 1 of 2

    Because most of govt’s, demo/repub have been reg. captured by/through outfits like Chamber Commerce, BBB, ALEX, Ford/Rockefeller/etc. Foundations, they use those govt’s/regs to exert monopoly control of most every sector of the economy to block all Micro biz from competing.

    Even if some of us can comply with their regulatory capture we now find it counter productive to do so in this country.

    They/Wallst/City of London/Dc wish to keep playing their scam fine, but we are going to throw up our own legal road blocks everywhere we can. Hitting them on their bottom lines.

    One would think with about half of the people in the US able to work, 104 million, + or – a few, that biz colleges, their students, govts’ charities would be teaming up to organize those out of the work force people + resources into self sustaining biz models in which the out of the work force people & the local communities held ownership position in new micro businesses.

    Part of the profits could be plowed back in to do more start ups later.

    I’ve heard of a few such programs but not on the scale that is currently needed.

  68. 2nd attempt at repost:

    2 of 3
    **

    …………..they use those govt’s/regs to exert monopoly control of most every sector of the economy to block all Micro biz from competing.

    Even if some of us can comply with their regulatory capture we now find it counter productive to do so in this country.

    They/Wallst/City of London/Dc wish to keep playing their scam fine, but we are going to throw up our own legal road blocks everywhere we can. Hitting them on their bottom lines.

    One would think with about half of the people in the US able to work, 104 million, + or – a few, that biz colleges, their students, govts’ charities would be teaming up to organize those out of the work force people + resources into self sustaining biz models in which the out of the work force people & the local communities held ownership position in new micro businesses.

    Part of the profits could be plowed back in to do more start ups later.

    I’ve heard of a few such programs but not on the scale that is currently needed. **

  69. pdm,
    Been busy. Believe it or not, I actually have a life away from the electrical computing machine.

    I don’t really know what the reasoning was regarding the witness. Often those decisions are made in chambers, where the judge will make a ruling after listening to the arguments of the lawyers. And as I said, I wasn’t there for that part of the trial. Since plaintiff’s injuries were no longer an issue when Swan Yerger got up and in his opening remarks agreed completely they were horribly injured, it became a battle of engineers. I don’t really know what transpired, since I never read the trial transcript. The long and the short of it is the jury found for the plaintiffs.

    As for dates, I read the date wrong. I had multiple windows open and read the date on the wrong case. However, the final tab ran GM over ten million. I forgot the exact amount.

    One other piece of fallout from that case. The trial judge lost the next election. He went back to the private practice of law, and asked me to help him on several cases. I had an opportunity to ask him why he thought he lost the election. He replied that he did not let the jury consider punitive damages. A lot of people in the community were angry with him because he did not let them consider punitive damages. The jury wanted to gig GM on punitive, but he said the reason he didn’t allow them to deliberate on punitive damages was that he figured that would get the case overturned by the state supreme court, and they would have it all to do over again.

    The judge understood the state supreme court, ruling as he did despite the fact he knew it almost guaranteed he would lose the next election. I wish we had more elected officials who put doing the right thing ahead of their careers.

  70. Here is the dissenting judge’s (he argued for retrial) discussion of the missing scaring of the pavement on which Mrs. Jackson was traveling….

    “Regardless, there were absolutely no marks attributable to the accident left upon the pavement in the westbound (north) lane of the highway, which was Linda Jackson’s proper lane of travel at the time she said the axle fractured. How could this be possible if the axle broke in the westbound (north) lane? All marks associated with the accident were located in the eastbound (south) lane, which was Jackson’s improper lane of travel. (See App., Ex. D-28-5).”

    I’m damn sure I would have caved and found for the Jacksons had I been on that jury. Somebody needed to care for that broken family and GM could afford it. And it sure is a humiliating experience to find myself in agreement with Atilla the Hun. But jeez….this sure doesn’t smell right. (Although another curious thing is that GM didn’t present any evidence regarding the “non scarring” to Linda’s lane.)

  71. rafflaw wrote: “how Walmart started out has no bearing on how they operate as a company now.”

    Of course it does. Po was arguing that their strategy from the beginning was to weed out small mom and pop stores. I might ask how he knows such a thing, but I am fairly certain it is speculation on his part. The truth is that Walmart started as a mom and pop store, and to this day is still a family business. The fact that they outcompete other stores is not evil. It is nature.

    rafflaw wrote: “They force and strong arm suppliers to give them exclusively lower prices so the small guys can’t compete.”

    I think force is the wrong word choice, but being big does have that advantage. There is nothing wrong with that. So the small guys can’t compete. They need to learn to do something else that they can compete at, or maybe go ask Walmart for a job as a manager.

    rafflaw wrote: “Daddy Walton also started out selling all or mostly American made goods, but they are not even close in that department any longer.”

    In part, thank the unions for that. I use to buy some American made stuff back in the 1970’s too, but these days I find American made stuff to be of low quality and too expensive. I went to Hong Kong and China recently and found all kinds of good stuff at very low prices. I order such things off of EBay all the time. It is amazing what can be purchased and shipped for less than what is produced and sold here. Walmart is smart to buy overseas.

    It seems like all your objections deal with competition. That’s life. Get over it. When you lose one battle, pick yourself up and be smarter the next time. Don’t blame another company for being smart and successful.

    America has been on a decline for awhile now. We need to pick up our game if we are going to compete with Japan and China.

    Another thing is that we are in a post industrial age. There is nothing wrong with Americans getting out of manufacturing and excelling in another field like technology. If we can’t compete with China in manufacturing because we created a minimum wage, then let’s compete in a field where that doesn’t matter, like technology. We had better get after it though because countries like Russia are doing pretty good in that market.

  72. I guess we could shut down WalMart and let its tens of thousands of employees go on the unemployment rolls instead of making their measly $15,000 a year. Then all of the less efficient businesses allegedly put out of business by WalMart could reopen and charge the public more for what they are now getting at WalMart. With the higher cost for food and clothing then paid more people could go on the welfare rolls. And the state and local governments would save the tax revenues being used to encourage WalMart to open low cost stores, which would be good because with less employment and more people on the welfare And unemployment rolls there would be less tax revenues to use for economic development, not to mention the property taxes and income taxes that would no longer be derived from WalMart’s operations.

  73. DavidM:

    I am pretty sure that most who post here dont understand your post or its implications.

    The fix is simple, free up the economy. Capitalism is such a powerful tool, we could be producing oil rigs, tractors and trucks and ships in 2-5 years if the people who think free markets dont work would just get out of the way.

    They can sit on the side lines and make sure the rest of us are playing ethically. They should be the national conscience, God knows they certainly dont know how to have a prosperous economy.

  74. pdm,
    Keep in mind that an appellate court’s written opinion is only a summary of the evidence, and only the evidence which was preserved for appeal purposes. After a ten day trial and a trial transcript that looked like the original manuscript for “War and Peace,” there is no doubt a lot of things were presented at trial that did not make into the written opinion.

  75. OS, thanks for getting back to me. One other question: I thought the original award was too little to take care of two people with lifetime injuries and asked if it was just too difficult to get a jury to recognize the effect of 50 years or more of inflation. Any thoughts on that?

  76. My Walmart has the best lunch or dinner deal in town. For Four dollars and forty cents you can get a plate with two sides at the hot food counter. We get General Tshos chicken, potato wedges and brocholli salad. They pile it on. We go immediately to the car (my half blind guy and I). They let me in the store because I am guide dog. At the car my half blind guy gives me half. We both savor it. Then we have the driver go back to the crib and we both crash. The driver gets a whole plate of his own but only eats half. He is only a third blind but he can drive. Walmart may not pay them right but they seem content.

  77. MadDog,

    “Walmart may not pay them right but they seem content.”

    I’m spending the winter season at this awesome hostel in this awesome little town of Nelson, British Columbia, a stone’s throw from an awesome awesome community ski hill that gets some of the best powder snow on the planet. Anyways, it turns out that there’s a bunch of young Australians that also found their way down here for a season of skiing and snowboarding, all of them without jobs or lodging lined up, and of course living on a shoestring budget but following their dreams. They just showed up and started searching for work and a place to live.

    General consensus work-wise is “anywhere but Walmart.” It’s embarrassing to work there, desperation be damned.

  78. Nate wrote: “General consensus work-wise is “anywhere but Walmart.” It’s embarrassing to work there, desperation be damned.”

    LOL. We have the left to thank for the poor education on that front. Walmart is a great American success story. I guess these Aussies will take a lower paying job at McDonald’s instead. C’est la vie.

    I think I’m going to talk to one of my teenage daughters about getting a job at Walmart this summer in order to get the inside scoop of working conditions there. I was leaning toward a fast food place, maybe Dairy Queen, for the food benefits that might be available there, but I guess a 10% discount on Walmart products might be nice. Ultimately she decides, but I think I will nudge her toward Walmart.

  79. pdm,
    It is not unusual for a plaintiff’s attorney to hire a forensic economist to present that information for the jury’s consideration. I don’t know if they called an economist or not.

    One of my business partners was also a forensic life-care and rehabilitation expert. He has a vast database in his computer, and formulas for calculating what a disabled person will need over a lifetime. For example, he could tell you how many donut cushions Amanda would wear out in her wheelchair over her actuarially predicted life expectancy. I don’t believe they consulted him, but he is not the only expert in that field. I have no idea whether they consulted a life care expert.

  80. Mike S.,

    Would you like to know that both of your articles(Elaine’s ‘Rotten to the Common Core?’ article) are related?

    DESIGNED TO FAIL-EDUCATION IN AMERICA: PART ONE (http://speedchange.blogspot.com/2010/09/designed-to-fail-education-in-america.html)

    BY

    IRA SOCOL

    “Before Barnard saw schools as a path to fame and eventual fortune, he was a mercantile-oriented state legislator in Rhode Island with no interest in education. And yet before the 1840s would end he had seized the Public School Movement from Mann and had twisted that father of public education’s words into something quite different. In the end Horace Mann became the Geoffrey Canada of the 19th Century. A man who set out to make a real difference, but whose image ended up licensed to people with an entirely different agenda.

    Barnard, like Mann, looked at schools, education, and childhood from ‘way above.’ But his was not the view from heaven of Horace Mann. Rather, his view was from the banker’s office and the factory foreman’s post, and the mine supervisor.

    At first, he sounds a bit like Mann – without the learning. “The primary object in securing the early school attendance of children, is not so much their intellectual culture, as the regulation of the feelings and dispositions, the extirpation of vicious propensities, the pre-occupation of the wildeiness of the young heart with the seeds and germs of moral beauty, and the formation of a lovely and virtuous character by the habitual practice of cleanliness, delicacy, refinement, good temper, gentleness, kindness, justice and truth.” But quickly the purposes behind this desired docility are apparent. “By means of such schools, the defective education of many of the youth of our manufacturing population would be remedied, and their various trades and employments be converted into the most efficient instruments of self-culture.”

    In Barnard’s world education was training, not learning. And in pursuit of this he imports the Prussian Model of education to simulate the assembly-line (recently appearing in the gun factories of his native New England) with age-based grades. He introduces rigid time schedules to schools in order to prepare the students for the emerging shift-work of textile mills. He also pushed to lower teacher pay (through replacing male teachers with women) and status, and to standardize both school buildings and instruction. (Mann had brought a dualism to the “women teacher issue” – “That females are better fitted by nature than males to train and educate young children is a position, which the public mind is fast maturing into an axiom. With economical habits in regard to all school expenditures, it is a material fact, that the services of females can be commanded for half the price usually paid to males. But what is of far higher moment is, that they are endowed by nature with a stronger affection for children; they have quicker sympathies, livelier sensibilities, and more vivid and enduring parental instincts.” – Common School Journal (Boston), vol. 1, no. 6 (March 15, 1839), p. 85 – Barnard would use Mann’s words while emphasizing the savings and ensuring that women never held decision-making positions within the system.)

    Why this matters

    From this beginning with see two fundamentally different ways of viewing the purpose of education, or, perhaps, two and a half. And these visions persist today and explain our current battles over schools.

    Teachers, and most teacher educators, are, as Dr. Becker says, “blindly focused on their classroom and kids.” From Linda Darling-Hammond to Lisa Parisi, Dan McGuire, Patrick Shuler, Punya Mishra, Pam Moran, Dave Britten, Dave Doty, and tens of thousands more, are working with students every day, trying to make the changes we can in the lives and learning of our students. “We” are the William Alcotts of today, the Maria Montessoris of today.

    At the other end are today’s Henry Barnards (or Andrew Carnegies). Those building careers or reputations by making education work for American capitalism. Arne Duncan, Michelle Rhee, Bill Gates, Eli Broad – they look down from corporate suites and see that education is not producing the kinds of compliant worker/citizens their businesses need. These are education’s industrialists, with absolutely no sense that a student is different than any other industrially processed part, and no sense that a teacher is any different than any industrial worker. For this group, education is measured as industrial processing is measured, parts (students) which are not successfully processed in any industrial step (grade) are re-processed (retained), and unions for the line workers (teachers) interfere with cost structure.

    These two groups cannot conceivably understand each other because they simply do not see the same thing when they look at “school.”

    That half step – Horace Mann or Geoffrey Canada or Cory Booker or African-American leaders who sign-on with the industrialists – are the missionaries. Their heavenly view, however well meaning, plays into the industrialists hands, giving moral cover to brutal capitalism.

    And brutal it is. We cannot really understand why American schools use age-based grades and standardized tests, and why two-thirds of students do badly – consistently – unless we understand why Barnard and his successors built the system they did. Because the system they built endures, operating, as Cubberley noted, “factories in which raw products, children, are to be shaped and formed into finished products,” and discarding “defective” raw materials along the way.”

  81. http://speedchange.blogspot.com/2010/09/designed-to-fail-education-in-america.html

    Our educational system is designed to encourage students to pursue a career at companies like Walmart:

    “Schools should be factories in which raw products, children, are to be shaped and formed into finished products. . . manufactured like nails, and the specifications for manufacturing will come from government and industry.” – Elwood Cubberley’s dissertation 1905, Teachers College, Columbia University

    “We want one class to have a liberal education. We want another class, a very much larger class of necessity, to forego the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.” – Woodrow Wilson

  82. RWL wrote: “Our educational system is designed to encourage students to pursue a career at companies like Walmart:”

    Nonsense. Walmart is not a factory, and even if it was, schools track students into different paths: college or not college.

    Most students on the college track do not perceive Walmart as an ideal career path. I don’t know as much about students on the non-college track because all my children have been college track students, but I would be VERY surprised if a majority of them saw Walmart as a highly valued career opportunity. Boys seem to favor construction type jobs, and girls seem to favor higher end department store management positions over a discount store like Walmart.

  83. “Corporate espionage undermines democracy”

    “Also involved are the retailers (Wal-Mart), banks (Bank of America), and, of course, the nation’s most powerful trade association: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.”

    By Ralph Nader
    November 26, 2013

    http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2013/11/26/corporate-espionage-undermines-democracy/

    It’s not just the NSA that has been caught spying on Americans. Some of our nation’s largest corporations have been conducting espionage as well, against civic groups.

    For these big companies with pliable ethics, if they don’t win political conflicts with campaign donations or lobbying power, then they play dirty. Very dirty.

    That’s the lesson of a new report on corporate espionage against nonprofit organizations, by my colleagues at Essential Information. The title of the report is Spooky Business, and it is apt.

    Spooky Business is like a Canterbury Tales of corporate snoopery. The spy narratives in the report are lurid and gripping. Hiring investigators to pose as volunteers and journalists. Hacking. Wiretapping. Information warfare. Physical intrusion. Investigating the private lives of nonprofit leaders. Dumpster diving using an active duty police officer to gain access to trash receptacles. Electronic surveillance. On and on. What won’t corporations do in service of profit and power?

    Many different types of nonprofit civic organizations have been targeted by corporate spies: environmental, public interest, consumer, food safety, animal rights, pesticide reform, nursing home reform, gun control and social justice.

    A diverse constellation of corporations has planned or executed corporate espionage against these nonprofit civic organizations. Food companies like Kraft, Coca-Cola, Burger King, McDonald’s and Monsanto. Oil companies like Shell, BP and Chevron. Chemical companies like Dow and Sasol. Also involved are the retailers (Wal-Mart), banks (Bank of America), and, of course, the nation’s most powerful trade association: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

    Plenty of mercenary spooks have joined up to abet them, including former officials at the FBI, CIA, NSA, Secret Service and U.S. military. Sometimes even government contractors are part of the snooping.

    In effect, big corporations have been able to hire portions of the national security apparatus, and train their tools of spycraft on the citizens groups of our nation.

    This does not bode well for our democracy.

    Our democracy is only as strong as the civic groups that work to preserve and protect it every day. To function effectively, these groups must be able to keep their inner workings secure from the prying eyes and snooping noses of the spies-for-hire.

    Corporate espionage is a threat to individual privacy, too. As citizens, we do not relinquish our rights to privacy when we disagree with the ideas or actions of a corporation. It is especially galling that corporations should employ such unethical or illegal tactics to deprive Americans of their fundamental rights.

    This is a subject with which I have some familiarity. In 1966, when I was working on auto safety, an enterprising young journalist at the New Republic wrote a story about private investigators tasked by General Motors to find “dirt” using false pretenses to interview my friends and teachers and by following me around the country. A Senate Committee, chaired by Senator Abraham Ribicoff, conducted a celebrated hearing confirming in detail General Motors’ unsavory tactics to try to silence my criticisms of unsafely designed automobiles. The uproar helped to pass the auto and highway safety laws in 1966.

    The journalist’s name is James Ridgeway, and he kept at it. More than forty years later, he broke another important story — this time for Mother Jones – about Dow Chemical’s massive corporate espionage operation against Greenpeace, and other espionage activities by a private investigation firm called Beckett Brown International.

    Ridgeway’s more recent articles, and the work of other journalists, make it clear that the self-regulation of private investigative and intelligence firms is a complete failure.

    It’s time for law enforcement to focus some attention on such corporate spies and their flagrant invasion of privacy.

    Where is the Justice Department? In France, when Électricité de France was caught spying on Greenpeace, there was an investigation and prosecutions. In Britain, Rupert Murdoch’s now-defunct News of the World newspaper was ensnared in a telephone hacking scandal involving British public officials and celebrities. The Guardian newspaper excavated the story relentlessly, government investigations followed, with prosecutions ongoing. Here in the United States, the Justice Department has been silent.

    How about Congress? Corporate espionage against nonprofits is an obvious topic for a congressional investigation and hearings. But, alas, Congress too has been somnolent.

    How much corporate espionage against nonprofits is taking place? Without investigations, subpoenas and hearings, no one really knows. But it is likely that there is more corporate espionage than we know about, because the snooping corporations and their private investigators toil mightily to hide their dirty tricks — which are designed to intimidate and deter people from speaking out and standing up against corporate crimes, frauds and abuses. Is the little we know merely the tip of the iceberg?

  84. Corporate espionage undermines democracy

    By Ralph Nader
    November 26, 2013

    http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2013/11/26/corporate-espionage-undermines-democracy/

    Excerpts:

    “A diverse constellation of corporations has planned or executed corporate espionage against these nonprofit civic organizations. Food companies like Kraft, Coca-Cola, Burger King, McDonald’s and Monsanto. Oil companies like Shell, BP and Chevron. Chemical companies like Dow and Sasol. Also involved are the retailers (Wal-Mart), banks (Bank of America), and, of course, the nation’s most powerful trade association: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

    Plenty of mercenary spooks have joined up to abet them, including former officials at the FBI, CIA, NSA, Secret Service and U.S. military. Sometimes even government contractors are part of the snooping.

    In effect, big corporations have been able to hire portions of the national security apparatus, and train their tools of spycraft on the citizens groups of our nation.

    This does not bode well for our democracy.”

    “It’s time for law enforcement to focus some attention on such corporate spies and their flagrant invasion of privacy.

    Where is the Justice Department? In France, when Électricité de France was caught spying on Greenpeace, there was an investigation and prosecutions. In Britain, Rupert Murdoch’s now-defunct News of the World newspaper was ensnared in a telephone hacking scandal involving British public officials and celebrities. The Guardian newspaper excavated the story relentlessly, government investigations followed, with prosecutions ongoing. Here in the United States, the Justice Department has been silent.

    How about Congress? Corporate espionage against nonprofits is an obvious topic for a congressional investigation and hearings. But, alas, Congress too has been somnolent.

    How much corporate espionage against nonprofits is taking place? Without investigations, subpoenas and hearings, no one really knows. But it is likely that there is more corporate espionage than we know about, because the snooping corporations and their private investigators toil mightily to hide their dirty tricks — which are designed to intimidate and deter people from speaking out and standing up against corporate crimes, frauds and abuses. Is the little we know merely the tip of the iceberg?”

  85. david,
    your idea that union are mostly to blame for Wal Mart going away from an American made product is preposterous and inaccurate and an insult to American workers. Wal Mart and other corporations sent jobs overseas to save money by paying workers less. The quality of the goods made here was not the issue. Making more money off of cheap labor was the reason and if the playing field had been level, the American made workers would still be making those products. Daddy Walton and his kids just want more money in their pockets and refuse to pay a living wage.

  86. “Boys seem to favor construction type jobs, and girls seem to favor higher end department store management positions over a discount store like Walmart.”

    DavidM,

    What I find interesting about your evolution here is that with almost each new comment you reveal more and more about what a priggish, elitist snob you really are.

  87. rafflaw wrote: “your idea that union are mostly to blame for Wal Mart going away from an American made product is preposterous and inaccurate and an insult to American workers. Wal Mart and other corporations sent jobs overseas to save money by paying workers less.”

    I agree. Actually, they just looked for low priced products, and where did lower priced products come from? Companies who produced the products overseas. And what have unions advocated for? Paying workers more. So by unions causing American companies to manufacture products while paying workers a higher rate of pay, they caused these companies to be unable to compete with companies that manufactured products overseas at a lower rate of pay. Virtually all retailers have followed this path, not just Walmart, because it makes good business sense.

    Just to be clear, I did not say unions were “mostly” to blame; rather, I said that we would thank unions “in part” for leading to a situation where retailers like Walmart have non-American made products that out sell American made products. Ultimately it is the consumer who makes that choice, not the retailer. If Americans preferred the price and quality of American manufactured products, they would choose them, causing a retailer like Walmart in turn to stock those products.

    rafflaw wrote: “Daddy Walton and his kids just want more money in their pockets and refuse to pay a living wage.”

    Sam Walton made it clear that his business model was one that would sell items at “Always Low Prices.” That naturally leads to buying merchandise from companies manufacturing products overseas where labor was less expensive. I’m not sure why you have to impugn a selfish profit motive when the goal of lower prices is sufficient motivation for what happened.

    The profit of the Walmart enterprise is actually a result of its expansion of multiplying the business model over many stores. There are more than 10,000 stores. If there was only one Walmart store, none of us would care much about Walmart and the profits, because there really would not be much profit to talk about. The Walton family owners in the business would not even be millionaires if there was only one Walmart store operating exactly the same way.

  88. DavidM, The Walton family have been a VERY low profile philanthropic family. My sister has worked for several nonprofits both in the education field and homeless area. She currently does fundraising for the Boston Food Bank. The Waltons are down to earth, little bureaucracy, extremely generous people in her dealings w/ them. They never want publicity or their names on buildings. They want to know the needs of the charity and support that need.

  89. Nick Spinelli wrote: “The Walton family have been a VERY low profile philanthropic family. … They want to know the needs of the charity and support that need.”

    That has been my experience too. I remember some volunteers last year going around trying to get some monetary support. Walmart was the first to respond. Apparently the local Walmart has a fund setup just for community help, and so they just wrote them a check right out of that fund. It sure did encourage them to keep up the good work in the community.

  90. Yes, Walmart has a fund. It’s employees fund it by payroll deduction.

    I have a part-time employee to help with my children. I pay her $15.00 an hour. If I take some portion of her paycheck and send it to charity, and take credit for it, that doesn’t make me philanthropic. It makes me a publicity hungry a$$hole.

  91. “They never want publicity or their names on buildings.”

    Walton Arena; University of Arkansas; Fayetteville, Arkansas

  92. Juliet N wrote: “If I take some portion of her paycheck and send it to charity, and take credit for it, that doesn’t make me philanthropic. It makes me a publicity hungry a$$hole.”

    I think you are only talking about one fund, the “Associates in Critical Need Trust.” You make it sound like a forced thing. This is a voluntary fund to help other Walmart associates who are in need. Read more about it at:

    http://www.walmartstores.com/sites/sustainabilityreport/2009/s_cg_wmfoundation.html

  93. OS. Some organizations, particularly educational, plead to have the names of famous people on buildings because that helps w/ future fundraising. But, feel free to hate the Waltons. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. I sincerely wish for it to be special day of food, family and friends.

  94. “some organizations, particularly educational, plead to have the names of famous people on buildings because that helps w/ future fundraising.”

    ****************************
    I am originally from there. The Walton family OFFERED to build them, and the UofA took them up on it. Those buildings are enormous. Look them up on Google Earth.

  95. Wealthy is not the same thing as greedy. It wasn’t wealthy people that sparked the French Revolution. It was greedy people. That greedy people sometimes end up wealthy is coincidence.

  96. “DavidM, I’m beginning to think folks here hate wealthy people. Could a Bolshevik Revolution be far away?”

    Hate has nothing to do with it. If you construct a system that keeps enough people cold and hungry you will surely generate social unrest.

    Since 1973 through 2007 the top 95% have had the largest gains in income by far – about twice as much as the median gain. Since the Great Recession of 2007-2008 the top earners have taken essentially all the gains from the economic recovery.

    Does anyone really believe this occurred by pain dumb luck or that the top earners really work that much harder than everyone else. Sure the top people work hard. But so does every one else.

    The fact is the rules of the system have changed and those changes tend to reward those at the top.

    And now we have the very rich trying to reduce the social safety net with the inevitable result that more people will be left cold, hungry, and some without shelter.

    Raises the question does the system select for smart of stupid leaders?

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