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?
George Orwell’s timing was off, but his predicted future seems to be coming to fruition. Ironically you hear Capitalism Vilified by the clueless as the reason for our current economic woes. But the truth is something far different. In a truly free enterprise system the Government [read Big Brother] does not step in and bail out businesses with the citizen’s tax dollars, that is not a free enterprise system in any way, shape or form. In a free enterprise system you are free to succeed, but are also free to fail; as Bo Diddley stated it, “…where any ole hombre had a chance to lose.” You, “pays your money you’se take your chances.” But now it’s, “heads, too big to fail businesses win; tails, the tax payers lose.”
In this current/future world we see our country morphing into there are no locally owned hardware stores, grocery stores, pet stores, and so on… We the People will all put on little blue vest and sell products offered by Big Brother’s Corporations. As one of F.A. Hayek’s books is titled, we are on, “The Road to Serfdom.” Personally I find it dehumanizing, and VERY scary.
I would point out that with REAL money these corporations could not spring up over night – which is certainly how they seem to come into existence to me. In my youth a local business that was successful might save and grow, a new store this decade, another five years later… but now days… there was no, “Old Navy” then they overnight Old Navy was everywhere? Seemingly [to me] created out of thin air like the money that financed it… This is certainly not the American Capitalistic system of our grandfathers.
“Where are we today? The Fed keeps buying roughly $85 billion in bonds a month, chronically delaying so much as a minor QE taper. Over five years, its bond purchases have come to more than $4 trillion. Amazingly, in a supposedly free-market nation, QE has become the largest financial-markets intervention by any government in world history.“ ~Andrew Huszar
The United States Government today is the ultimate big corporation, and a poorly run corporation it is. It’s managed by people who do not have the slightest idea regarding profit and loss. Why should they? They can’t lose so they don’t need to worry about losses, they can just raise our taxes, borrow and print – and there in lies the problem. Why are there no jobs? Because the businesses that use to hire are now having the life blood sucked out of them (through overly burdensome tax requirements) in an effort to keep up with the [unsustainable] promises made by candidates running for office of something for nothing, and also to prop up failed corporations and the stock market. That’s another ridiculous concept, the stock market equals capitalism. The stock market today is also being propped up by Big Government; this because the Political Class has it in their clues heads that as long as the stock market goes up so does the economy and all will be well…
OK, but what happens when this current stock market bubble bursts? Or do you believe that’s never going to happen again? Just as people in 2007 believed real estate prices were going to go up forever and ever…
those that would ‘shop’ on THANKSGIVING Day…are thankful for nothing…..and are part of the many reasons for the downfall of this nation…PS…the walmart greeter should tell you to go to hell when you enter the store….because you made them miss their Thanksgiving Day….imho
On the subject of the holiday season, I remember the banners that used to be put up that said “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays.”
Now the only banners I see anymore are “Get Your Flue Vaccine Here.”
The way I see it – all of the responsibility for our retail system can not be put on Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is just the smartest one in the system. I for one think that that retail should be closed on all National Holidays and also on Sunday. People need a time to rest and reflect, There is no such thing in today’s America.
Retail has ruined what I think of as Thanksgiving.
In any case, Have a Happy and Thankful Thanksgiving.