Walmart Admits: 'Our Profits' Depend on 'Their Poverty'
By Lauren McCauley / commondreams.org

Critics cite irony of annual report filing: 'This is a company that everywhere it goes it creates poverty'

Although a notorious recipient of "corporate welfare," Walmart has now admitted that their massive profits also depend on the funding of food stamps and other public assistance programs.

In their annual report, filed with the Security and Exchange Commission last week, the retail giant lists factors that could potentially harm future profitability. Listed among items such as "economic conditions" and "consumer confidence," the company writes that changes in taxpayer-funded public assistance programs are also a major threat to their bottom line.

The company writes:

Our business operations are subject to numerous risks, factors and uncertainties, domestically and internationally, which are outside our control ... These factors include ... changes in the amount of payments made under the Supplement[al] Nutrition Assistance Plan and other public assistance plans, changes in the eligibility requirements of public assistance plans ...

Walmart, the nation's largest private employer, is notorious for paying poverty wages and coaching employees to take advantage of social programs. In many states, Walmart employees are the largest group of Medicaid recipients.

However, this report is the first public acknowledgement of the chain's reliance on the funding of these programs to sustain a profit.

According to Stacy Mitchell, senior researcher with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, the irony of their admission is that Walmart "is the company that has done, perhaps, more than any other corporation to push people into poverty."

Citing a Penn State study, Mitchell told Common Dreams that research has proven that "when Walmart opens a store, poverty rates are negatively impacted" and that the more stores that have opened in a particular county, the worse it is. "This is a company that everywhere it goes it creates poverty."

In addition to their own worker's low wages, Mitchell explains that Walmart, because of their enormous size and market power, have "held down wages for the whole sector."

As a retailer that specifically targets a low-income demographic, Mitchell adds that the "insidious genius" of their business model is that "they have so squeezed American workers [...] many feel that their only choice is to shop at Walmart."

The International Business Times reports:

Prior to the earnings report, Walmart Chief Financial Officer Charles Holley said the company didn't anticipate how much the end to such programs as the unemployment benefits extension would affect it. Specifically, reductions to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that went into effect on Nov. 1, the first day of the company’s fourth quarter, pose a potential concern. The cuts led to a between $1 and $36 reduction in SNAP benefits per household, or up to $460 a year. Congress is debating reinstating the extension to the program and making the benefits retroactive to Nov. 1, something Walmart would clearly consider beneficial to its growth.

Previously, Walmart has joined forces with Big Food labels such as Coca Cola and Kelloggs to lobby the United States Department of Agriculture and Congress against any measures that would restrict SNAP use to healthy food choices. According to an earlier study by Michele Simon at Eat Drink Politics, in just one year, nine Walmart Supercenters in Massachusetts received more than $33 million in SNAP revenues.

_____________________

3.7 ·
2
What's Next
Trending Today
Welcome to Marinaleda: The Spanish Anti-Capitalist Town With Equal Wage Full Employment and $19 Housing
Jade Small · 9,471 views today · With virtually no police, crime or unemployment, meet the Spanish town described as a democratic, socialist utopia. Unemployment is non-existent in Marinaleda, an Andalusian...
Who Are You? Watching This Breathtaking Video Could Be the Moment You Change Your Life
2 min · 8,268 views today · "Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need so you can...
When You Kill Ten Million Africans You Aren't Called 'Hitler'
Liam O'Ceallaigh · 7,780 views today · Take a look at this picture. Do you know who it is? Most people haven’t heard of him. But you should have. When you see his face or hear his name you should get as sick in...
11 Traits of People With High Emotional Intelligence
Raven Fon · 7,369 views today · Lately, new ways to describe human interactions, social behaviours, and many facets of psychology have emerged on the social network scene. One of those descriptions is “high...
How a Trump Presidency Would Unleash a Torrent of Racist Violence-And Devastate the Left
Arun Gupta · 7,126 views today · The Left should take the Trump threat very seriously.
10 Provocative Quotes from Ivan Illich's "Deschooling Society"
Daniel Lattier · 5,151 views today · Ivan Illich’s groundbreaking book Deschooling Society (1971) offers a radical critique of the institutionalization of education within modern societies. Illich believed that we...
Maya Angelou's 3-Word Secret to Living Your Best Life
3 min · 4,822 views today · Dr. Maya Angelou says that in order to be the best human being you can be, you must follow one simple directive: "Just do right." Watch as Dr. Angelou reveals how you can never...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 4,810 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Forest Man
16 min · 4,430 views today · Since the 1970's Majuli islander Jadav Payeng has been planting trees in order to save his island. To date he has single handedly planted a forest larger than Central Park NYC...
Doctors Response to Daily Mail Bigotry is Beautiful
Neil Tiwari · 4,134 views today · A poetic open letter to the Daily Mail newspaper from Dr. Neil Tiwari, in response to a bigoted attack on his colleagues, is going viral and it's beautiful.
Superblocks: How Barcelona Is Taking City Streets Back From Cars
5 min · 3,786 views today · Modern cities are designed for cars. But the city of Barcelona is testing out an urban design trick that can give cities back to pedestrians.
Real Change in Democracy Comes Not in the Voting Booth but Activism at the Grass-Roots
Ilze Peterson · 3,637 views today · Many years ago, the late Judy Guay, a low-income woman from Bangor, founded the Maine Association of Interdependent Neighborhoods in order to advocate for the neediest in our...
Fighting Trump - Residents Opposing Donald Trump's Scottish Golf Resort
14 min · 3,548 views today · Documentary on the residents protesting against Donald Trump's golf development on the Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Directed and Presented by James Trosh.
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 3,235 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
How to Criticize with Kindness: Philosopher Daniel Dennett on the Four Steps to Arguing Intelligently
Maria Popova · 2,896 views today · “Just how charitable are you supposed to be when criticizing the views of an opponent?”
Alan Watts: What If Money Was No Object?
3 min · 2,646 views today · How do you like to spend your life? What do you desire? What if money didn't matter? What if money was no object? What would you like to do if money were no object? Spoken...
What It Really Means to Hold Space for Someone
Heather Plett · 2,132 views today · How to be there for the people who need you most
10 Shocking Facts About Society That We Absurdly Accept As Normal
Joe Martino · 1,875 views today · When you take a moment and look around at the world, things can appear pretty messed up. Take 5 or 10 minutes and watch the 6 o’clock news. Chances are, the entire time, all...
Throw (2016)
10 min · 1,569 views today · The first installment of Invisible Thread, an ongoing ELM passion project series, Throw tells the story of an outsider from East Baltimore, an area challenged by gang violence...
A City Open to Migration and Diversity?
2 min · 1,551 views today · We speak to Thomas Jézéquel of Eurocities about what the city of Gdańsk can teach us.
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Walmart Admits: 'Our Profits' Depend on 'Their Poverty'