Saturday, February 1, 2014

Walmart: The Parasite that Killed its Host

24/7 Wall Street: "Regarding U.S. same-store sales for the company's fourth quarter, ending Friday, Walmart said it expects sales, excluding fuel, to be "slightly negative" to its earlier guidance of flat sales at Walmart stores" --- Why are those sales negative?

Fox News: "Chief financial officer Charles Holley said Walmart saw a greater-than-expected negative impact from reductions in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps. The cuts went into effect on Nov. 1."

Daily Kos: Then Fox News provides some right-wing political cover by also blaming storms. But as anyone will tell you, the excessive buying before a storm overcompensates for the loss of business from the storm, and that storm days are the primary money makers for those selling groceries. (No other food company is blaming storms, it should be noted.)

So why is Walmart the most affected? The answer is because it is cheaper. If one is receiving SNAP (or Food Stamps) one is already poor and on a tight budget. It makes good sense if one has only $700 to spend a month, to try and get as many calories as possible for that amount of money. The best place to do that is Walmart.

Walmart did this to themselves. As one of the biggest funders to the Tea Party, Walmart is one of the few corporations responsible for putting the Tea Party Republicans in office. Ironic then that the Tea Party chose to repay the favor by costing a few Walmart executives their jobs, through the cutting of SNAP. Walmart should have lobbied their friends much harder to shelve or vote against it. They and all other grocery chains now, should both advertise to the public and lobby the Senate, NOT to pass the Farm Bill with $9 billion of further cuts to that program:

After months of negotiations with the Democrat-controlled Senate, which wanted much lower cuts of around $4 billion, the House finally passed a farm bill 251-166 Wednesday that contains a "compromise" $9 billion in reductions to the food stamp program. (That's after last November's cuts). Here's why the compromise level of cuts is a Republican win: In addition to the $9 billion in food stamp cuts in this five-year farm bill, another $11 billion will be slashed over three years as stimulus funding for the program expires.

The damage caused to all of society by not fully funding SNAP is severe compared to the consequences that would occur, if that money was saved by raising taxes on the wealthy.

Retail Food is a huge engine of our economy. Putting water into the gasoline that feeds that sector, will have dire consequences, of which we are beginning to now see. Walmart and other grocers need to get active on the Hill now, lobby against any SNAP cuts in the Farm Bill, threaten to withdraw funding for all rural conservative candidates, or face a rather dismal, ten year slump.

More from another post at the Daily Kos:

Wal-Mart and other top U.S. corporations "reap worker political donations through charities," according to a Bloomberg report. Wal-Mart's employee-to-employee charitable activities drew unkind scrutiny in November, when the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported on a worker-to-worker food drive at a local store.

A June report from the union-backed Making Change at Walmart campaign, factoring in donations from the Walton family (which owns half the company) found that 69 percent of combined total Wal-Mart and Walton donations from 2000 to 2012 went to Republican candidates or committees.

Wal-Mart also maintains the Walmart Foundation, whose grantees have included non-profits in key cities where the company seeks to expand. The legally-distinct Walton Family Foundation is a major funder of anti-union education reform efforts.

Bloomberg's story comes weeks after a day of civil disobedience actions mounted by the non-union workers' group OUR Walmart, which is closely tied to the United Food & Commercial Workers union.

In an e-mailed statement, OUR Walmart activist Barbara Gertz called the Bloomberg story "further proof that Walmart is determined to spend millions to support politicians who vote to cut food stamps and who oppose increasing the minimum wage, instead of focusing on creating good jobs in our communities.”

While OUR Walmart and allies have recently emphasized Wal-Mart employees' widespread use of public assistance programs (including Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky calling those at the top of the company "welfare kings”), in October Wal-Mart's U.S. CEO declared the company "cautious but modestly optimistic" that food stamp cuts would be good for business — a statement Congressman John Conyers told Salon "borders on the ludicrous.”

Walmart created the working poor and they profited from the same working poor. But now they are learning a fundamental rule of nature: A successful parasite does not kill its host (or at least, not before they are done with them.)

* Google "Bud Meyers Walmart" for my posts.

1 comment:

  1. UPDATE: DEC. 15, 2015

    Wal-Mart claims the "OUR Walmart" campaign violated an NLRB protective order by giving documents to Bloomberg Businessweek detailing how the retailer prepared for Black Friday strikes and rallies in 2012.

    Wal-Mart hired a division of the defense contractor Lockheed Martin to monitor activist activity online and was in contact with the FBI about the protests, the report showed.

    OUR Walmart, which is now unaffiliated with the United Food and Commercial Workers union, accessed the documents during an unfair labor practices proceeding at the NLRB. In its motion, Wal-Mart blames the leak on both OUR Walmart and UFCW and asks the NLRB to bar the groups from using the documents in future board proceedings.

    Wal-Mart says its surveillance activities were aboveboard; OUR Walmart and UFCW say the retailer's latest arguments are meritless.

    More from Businessweek's Josh Eidelson here:

    Read Wal-Mart's NLRB filing here: