The world’s largest retailer, which gets more than half its sales from groceries, on Thursday gave a disappointing full-year forecast. It blamed sharp cuts in food stamp benefits and higher payroll taxes that are will hit disposable income for its core customers. Wal-Mart shares fell 2.2 percent in morning trading.
This comes a week after reports leaked out that Walmart was thinking about lending its support to raising the minimum wage. Backtracking slightly, the corporation is saying this week that its “neutral” on whether a minimum wage increase should be passed, which in and of itself is a shocking position for a major corporation with million of minimum wage employees to hold.
As many commentators have pointed out, what you’re seeing here is Walmart finally acknowledging that, no matter how much the Chamber of Commerce and individual business executives genuflect at the altar of low corporate taxes and a slashed social safety net, they will never be able to escape the fact that the very same individuals that work for companies like Walmart, are also their customers.
So when Walmart continues to pay sub-standard wages that don’t keep up with productivity OR inflation growth, meaning that the average worker walks home with less and less real money every year, at some point they are only hurting themselves. When Republicans in congress cut Food Stamp outlays year after year, and Walmart is the world’s largest food retailer, especially to the lower class, that is going to hurt Walmart!
The last twenty years, where America saw its average worker’s productivity skyrocket at least 85%, while their pay has more or less been stagnant, with a 6% increase, were highly unjust and wrong. But more than that, those years were unsustainable, and now finally, MAYBE we’re beginning to see some businesses come to this realization.