I have never had a problem with Walmart per se; that is, until now. In my view, they have simply been the largest benefactor of the commandeering of U.S. business by powerful lobbying interests. Frankly, its ability to import cheap Chinese goods has been one of the few factors mitigating the hyperinflationary impact of the Fed’s maniacal money printing scheme; although sadly, this ability is on borrowed time. Frankly, most Americans should be grateful that Walmart has been able to hold prices down in a highly inflationary world; in the process, becoming the nation’s largest employer. True, said jobs are not of the highest quality – and in fact, contribute to the overall “underemployment” that causes roughly half of all citizens to require supplemental entitlement payments. However, in my opinion, a bad job is better than none at all.
Honestly, I didn’t even take issue when earlier this year, they stopped hiring full-time workers – in response to the upcoming, onerous Obamacare “employer mandate.” They have since capitulated on this policy – obviously, due to the massive negative public relations backlash. However, such “generosity” is not all that it seems; as Walmart had already amended its human resources policies – last year – to make it significantly more difficult for employees to receive healthcare benefits.
Health insurance or not, Walmart is one of the lowest paying corporations in America – quite ominous, given it’s the nation’s largest employer. More than half of all employees earn less than $25,000/year; which for a family of four, is considered poverty-level income. Worse yet, Walmart considers “full-time” to be just 28 hours per week; and thus, when it boasts of how many “full-time” workers it employs, it is referring to tens of thousands that would be considered “part-time” just about anywhere else. And oh yeah, in order to qualify for health insurance, employees must work 30 hours per week; in essence, giving management a “poison pill” of sorts – enabling its public relations “spinmeisters” to claim increased full-time employment while shirking the responsibility of supplying health insurance. All they have to do is put workers on 28-29 hour weekly shifts, and corporate gets the “best of both worlds” – at the expense of employees, of course.
As for today’s title, I’m sure you can guess what it’s about – as for weeks, I have railed at the rising immorality of America’s retail sector, in pursuit of the soon-to-be-no-longer “almighty dollar.” Or better put, the scarcity of such, in what is widely expected to be one of the most abysmal holiday selling seasons in years (but don’t worry, the government says the economy is recovering). Heck, even the cheerleading Wall Street Journal says so, validating what I wrote Monday about the MSM finally starting to “get it.”
“Recovery” notwithstanding, the fact remains that U.S. retail sales have been, for lack of a better word, morbid in recent months; explaining, by the way, why the Fed wouldn’t dream of tapering QE. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see this trend, as just in the last week alone, small business optimism plunged to 12-month lows; as did the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort and Gallup Consumer Confidence surveys – while the University of Michigan Consumer Confidence survey fell to a two-year low. Throw in mortgage purchase applications falling to their lows of the decade, and homebuilding cancellations surging to five-year highs, and it’s pretty clear what the real state of the economy is. Remember, housing has recently contributed more than half of all GDP growth; and thus, the recent interest rate increases – ironically, caused largely by suicidal Fed “hints” of tapering – will only exacerbate the impact of acutely weak retail sales demand. Heck, none other than Fannie Mae forecasts housing’s GDP contribution will double by 2015; and thus, make your own prediction of how bad the economy will be when interest rates inevitably soar – or, for that matter, if the Fed even attempts QE “tapering.”
And thus, the “death of Thanksgiving,” per this MSM article from none other than Yahoo! Finance. Walmart’s CEO, Bill Simon, may have thought catering to Wall Street was a wise financial move. However, in light of the aforementioned commentary about Walmart’s anti-employee policies, all he accomplished was further vilification of his company. I have recently written of how nearly the entire retail industry is planning to open on Thanksgiving – particularly K-Mart, which is opening at 6:00 AM; so it should be no surprise that Walmart is “joining the fun” as well. In this case, its employees will be forced to rush directly from the dinner table to work, where they will remain all night…
Black Friday is our day – our Super Bowl. We’re excited to give our customers an incredible Black Friday with shopping hours that will allow them to take advantage of great prices on Thanksgiving night and all weekend long. If you can give people Black Friday deals a day early, ‘Thursday’ as a concept loses all meaning. What was Thanksgiving is now Black Friday Eve.
–Yahoo Finance, November 12, 2013
And there you have it. One of the nation’s richest, most powerful corporations – employing more people than any other – killing Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving; in my view, the nation’s most sacred holiday – given its non-denominational universality, focused principally on family; has now been rendered “Black Friday Eve.” Black Monday was the day of the 1987 stock market crash and Black Tuesday, the 1929 crash; whilst Black Friday, replete with “door busting” specials, personifies the crash of American morals. Does anyone really believe the “stock” of this once great nation – i.e., the dollar – can maintain its value under such conditions?