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“The price of Wal-Mart coming to town”

Quoting MSN,
When the retail giant moves in, it promises cheaper goods, more jobs and more tax revenue. And in the short term, it delivers. But the initial boost hides later losses…

A glance at Wal-Mart’s store openings page, or any news story that follows (they’re eerily similar), reveals the reason: “an increase in tax revenue” and “150 new jobs” for Wilkesboro, N.C., or “450 new jobs” for Albuquerque, N.M.

The numbers may change, but this key point does not: The promised benefits are not something a city can easily ignore.

Yet each of Wal-Mart’s promises has a flip side.

* Jobs: Check. But, after an initial boost, studies show a net loss of jobs.

* Low prices: Check. So low that wages and benefits are reduced as well. Then the neighbors follow suit.

* Tax boosts: Check. But that boost comes at the expense of communities nearby, which tend to lose any businesses that compete. And don’t forget to factor in the cost to taxpayers of subsidies for Wal-Mart and public aid to low-wage workers…

Certainly, Wal-Mart doesn’t set out to undermine local economies. Nor do the city fathers who approve the stores or the consumers who shop at them. Each of them is serving constituents — stockholders, taxpayers or households — as best they can.

How can such good intentions go so wrong?..

‘I am torn between two things: the fiscal demands to keep the city whole and a dislike of Wal-Mart,’ he [Ventura City Councilman Carl E. Morehouse] said. ‘I have to look at the big picture for our financial needs.’…

Wal-Mart sells things people already buy, and typically locally. Things like bread, shampoo and rakes. When Wal-Mart opens, consumers merely shift their dollars; they don’t spend additional money…

A study led by David Neumark, an economist at the University of California, Irvine, counted a net loss of 150 jobs after a Wal-Mart opened. Wal-Mart didn’t create jobs; it destroyed them. For every person who got a job at Wal-Mart, 1.4 other retail workers lost theirs.


1. City of Yelm officials were salivating at the prospect of having a Wal-Mart here a few years ago and approved a Super Wal-Mart with an unfunded Bypass to mitigate their traffic. They were going to do anything to get this store here, regardless of so much outcry and documented issues with their site at the public hearing. The Wal-Mart section [Stage 2, 3.1 miles] of the Bypass has been bumped on the Governor’s funding budget to 2021-2023, 15+years after their July, 2007 opening! HMMM!

2. Wal-Mart continues to get a “free-pass” from the City of Yelm by still not constructing the required connector to 103rd that Wal-Mart was suppoosed to have completed 18 months after their opening, or November, 2008.


Posted by Steve on August 21, 2009 at 12:58 am | Permalink

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One comment

  1. Thank you for your taking the time to write, Concerned.

    Your last line sums up my thoughts, as you well know.
    I provide this Blog to share knowledge with interested readers such as yourself.
    I appreciate your having taken the time to read my entries and to write.

    Comment by Steve on September 8, 2009 at 7:40 pm

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