Two new reports today about Walmart, the world's top provider of crap. One points out that Walmart is a tax dodger; the other points out that Walmart worsens our national hunger crisis. A banner day for Walmart!
The first report, from Americans For Tax Fairness, examines the costs to America that result from Walmart's systematic strategy to avoid paying taxes as much as possible. It's easy to say "all corporations do that," but all corporations are not America's biggest employer, nor do they wrap themselves in the American flag as much as Walmart does, even while costing the American public billions of dollars. Essentially, Walmart has an ongoing corporate policy of offshoring money to save on taxes and lobbying the US government to try to cut its own tax bill permanently:
This report finds that Walmart avoids $1 billion a year in taxes by exploiting existing federal tax loopholes. It is trying to cut its tax bill by at least another $720 million a year – more than $7 billion over 10 years – by getting Congress to lower the corporate income tax rate by 10 percentage points, from 35 percent to 25 percent.
Walmart is also pushing hard to permanently eliminate from U.S. taxation profits that are reportedly earned in other countries – known as a territorial tax system.
One of the only things that a multinational corporation can do to demonstrate actual patriotism is to contribute to the public coffers of its host nation. This is exactly what Walmart seeks to avoid doing.
The second report, from Eat Drink Politics, looks at Walmart's role in the U.S. "hunger crisis"—that is, in an exceptionally rich nation in which almost 50 million people face hunger issues, and an equal number receive government food assistance. But why should that affect the millions of Americans employed at Walmart, who are paid by a company worth $271 billion? Well, because Walmart, which employs an estimated one in ten retail workers in America, is so powerful that it is able to drive down the wages of the entire retail sector, thereby pushing millions of Americans closer to poverty, rather than pulling them out of is. From the report:
Estimates of hourly Walmart wages vary, but one study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that Walmart cashiers average just $8.48/hour, while another industry report found the average pay to be $8.81 per hour. At this rate, an employee who works 34 hours per week, which is Walmart's definition of full-time, is paid $15,500 per year, which is about $8,000 below the federal poverty line for a family of four.
Walmart has confirmed that the company pays the majority of its workers less than $25,000 a year. As a result, many Walmart workers are at or near the federal poverty line and are unable to feed and clothe their families and provide basic necessities for their children.
Atop this post is a newly released photo of a canned food drive for employees of an Oklahoma Walmart store. That is never a good sign. Just a good holiday season reminder that Walmart is a self-serving, tax dodging, poverty wage-paying monolith that has made its founder's children unimaginably rich while keeping millions of people who work for it poor as hell. Never forget that Walmart is a lie.