Wal-Mart: 50 Years of Gutting America's Middle Class

Samantha 2012/07/03 14:01:39

Walmart's explosive growth has gutted two key pillars of the American middle class: small businesses and well-paid manufacturing jobs

Sam Walton opened the first Walmart store in Rogers, Arkansas, 50 years ago this month. Sprawled along a major thoroughfare outside the city's downtown, that inaugural store embodied many of the hallmarks that have since come to define the Walmart way of doing business. Walton scoured the country for the cheapest merchandise and deftly exploited a loophole in federal law to pay his mostly female workforce less than minimum wage.

That relentless focus on squeezing workers and suppliers for every advantage has paid off since July 1962. Walmart is now the second-largest corporation on the planet. It took in almost half-a-trillion dollars last year at more than 10,000 stores worldwide.

Walmart now captures one of every four dollars Americans spend on groceries. Its stores are so plentiful that it's easy to imagine that the retailer has long since reached the upper limit of its growth potential. It hasn't. Walmart has opened over 1,100 new supercenters since 2005 and expanded its U.S. sales by 35 percent. It aims to keep on growing that fast. With an eye to infiltrating urban areas, Walmart recently introduced smaller "neighborhood markets" and "express" stores.

Such market concentration is unprecedented in U.S. history, as is the concentration of wealth it has engendered. Sam Walton's heirs own about half of Walmart's stock and have a net worth equal to the combined assets of the bottom one-third of Americans — about 100 million people. This year alone, the Waltons will pocket $2.7 billion in dividends from their Walmart holdings.

Read More: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/07/02-7

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  • The Judge 2012/07/05 12:12:07
    The Judge
    At least Wal Mart is supporting the Chine Economy.
    Wal Mart the evil empire
  • MorbidCynic 2012/07/04 13:34:21 (edited)
    Talk about bullsh*t, just because you don't like wal-mart doesn't make it bad. It actually used to be better.
  • MidnightCowboy 2012/07/03 19:15:43
    I saw the humiliating commercial that Walmart shows on TV patronizing Valeda Snyder for 50 years of being a valued Walmart associate while her male counterparts who haven't been with the company for 10 years hold executive positions.
  • Samantha Midnigh... 2012/07/03 19:17:23
    You commented on one of the failings of Walmart. It's a terrible company with terrible practices yet, somehow, according to conservatives it's a model company.
  • MorbidC... Samantha 2012/07/04 13:36:03
    The only reason you pathetic liberals don't like wal-mart is because it's big and succesful, which you liberals seem to envy.
  • Samantha MorbidC... 2012/07/05 13:36:31
    Do you consider destroying Main Street America and good paying manufacturing facts jobs in the U.S. a success?
  • Rebel Yell 2012/07/03 14:31:44
    Rebel Yell
    .."Walmart recently introduced smaller "neighborhood markets" and "express" stores."

    In many smaller towns, WalMart has watched Dollar Stores spring up . Those stores are far cleaner than most WalMarts. No long lines and easy access. They are giving Wally a run for the money, so soon there will be a Wally Mini-Me in many locations.
  • Grabitz 2012/07/03 14:20:47
    Damn Commie shoppers . You will find the conservative standing up for the NWO free trade . Forgive them they no not what they do .
  • Reichstolz 2012/07/03 14:11:21
    50 years of the most Amazing business success stories ever written. I pity the fact you cannot celebrate the success of someone who strikes out on their own and succeeds. What is America, if not the opportunity to succeed where others fail. How sad and little a person you are.
  • Samantha Reichstolz 2012/07/03 15:01:39
    If you define success as destroying Main Street and destroying well paying manufacturing jobs then, yes, Walmart is a huge success. However, Walmart is the best example of sleazy American greed.
  • Reichstolz Samantha 2012/07/03 15:07:07
    You do understand that Walmart is a success story don't you?

    Did you cry for the wooden wheel maker, when the automobile made their business obsolete?
    Did you envy the blood letting "doctor" when he was replaced by the scientifically trained physician?
    Did you weep for the trundle operator when the power loom was invented?

    You are a disgrace. Your petty envy and jealousy is prime example of why our nation finds itself where we are.
  • Samantha Reichstolz 2012/07/03 15:29:02
    It's a success story only if you support the destruction of Main Street America and the destruction of well paying manufacturing jobs in America.
  • Reichstolz Samantha 2012/07/03 15:52:42
    You do realize it started as a main street business and stands as a testament to all main street businesses can accomplish.

    So in your assessment the automakers are a testament to greed and the destruction of main street.
  • Samantha Reichstolz 2012/07/03 16:27:10
    Obviously, you didn't read what I posted, and your analogy is so lame. There's a big difference between an automobile manufacturer and Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart destroyed Main Street stores and manufacturing jobs. On the other hand, the auto industry created hundreds, if not thousands, of supportive industries and millions of well paying manufacturing jobs. I suppose that's the reason Romney and conservatives like you wanted to destroy the U.S. auto industry.
  • Reichstolz Samantha 2012/07/03 23:28:09 (edited)
    There were 118 auto makers when Ford developed the assembly line and killed their ability to compete. The auto "industry" killed more companies on main street than Walmart could ever hope to. Learn history you disgrace of a human being.
  • Samantha Reichstolz 2012/07/05 13:37:15
    Oh, wow, now a conservative is criticizing market forces! Will wonders ever cease.
  • Reichstolz Samantha 2012/07/05 13:48:27
    Damn you are too stupid to breathe. The auto industry is analogous to Walmart. but you are too stupid to understand the point. Never once said either were a negative to our nation. I am sorry you are so ignorant it must be hard to be so envious and idiotic at the same time.
  • Samantha Reichstolz 2012/07/05 13:52:03
    You continue to insult me over and over. You can't post a single comment without insults. You're obviously a very insecure little American socialist. Since you can't post without insults, I will use an option I rarely use, blocking. It's obvious, from past discussions, I'm more knowledgeable about American history than you and the same applies to this discussion. No doubt, you use a host of government subsidies.
  • jackolantyrn356 2012/07/03 14:10:04
    Sorry kids, I just don;t see it....... As a little kid I got to shake hands with Mr Walton..... He built Arkansas up when the Democrat Governors had almost taken the State down the Tubes like the Democrats are taking America down the drain pipes today.
    So I see things different than you. Also I'm noit a Marxist
  • Samantha jackola... 2012/07/03 15:00:42
    You're a socialist like so many Americans.

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