- "In 2005, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. projects it will create more than 100,000 new U.S. jobs, compared to 83,000 last year." Okay, but how many jobs are lost in smaller retail stores when a Wal-Mart moves in? Or factories whose production is now in China? I know they don't have the data, but what is the net job gain/loss when other employers are considered?
- "Last year, Wal-Mart collected $10.2 billion in state and local sales taxes for our communities." Wait a minute. Don't all retail stores collect sales taxes? This number pretends that those sales tax dollars magically appeared, but they were really shifted from other stores. In fact, one could even argue that since sales taxes are a percentage of the price, Wal-Mart is actually contributing less because their prices are lower!
- "In 2005, we are projecting that our company will spend approximately $4.1 billion on benefits we provide our associates." This is meaningless without context. How much do they spend per employee, and how does that compare with other retailers?
- "Wal-Mart purchases goods from more than 68,000 U.S. suppliers and supports more than 3.5 million supplier jobs... In fiscal year 2004, Wal-Mart spent over $137.5 billion with suppliers in the United States." Okay, then how much did Wal-Mart spend with suppliers in China? What percentage did they spend with suppliers here versus abroad, and what have those percentages been over the past few years? I have a feeling that a rapidly increasing percentage of business is transacted with foreign suppliers. And I won't even ask about the Marianas Islands sweatshops that produce "made in U.S.A." products at Third World wages (check out Jim Hightower's If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote...).
- "Wal-Mart’s supplier development program has grown from $2 million initially to more than $2 billion spent with minority and women-owned businesses." Judging from the above item, that $2 billion is pretty small, just 1.45% of $137.5 billion--even less as a percentage of Wal-Mart's global spending. I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for Jesse Jackson or Gloria Steinem to lavish praise on them for that.
What a joke. Then they add
"Wal-Mart is the greatest thing that ever happened to low income Americans. They can stretch their dollars and afford things they otherwise couldn't.” - W. Michael Cox, Chief Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, The New York Times, December 2003.
What Mr. Cox failed to acknowledge was that Wal-Mart isn't the greatest thing for Americans whose factories close due to price-lowering pressure from Wal-Mart, or those whose downtown stores are wiped out by the new Wal-Mart on the edge of town. I love cheap stuff as much as anybody, but we can't be a nation of consumers without being a nation of solid wage-earners.
This web site simply tries to "shock and awe" visitors by reciting big numbers from a huge corporation, larger than most Americans can imagine, without putting them into any relevant context. I hope everyone can see through this misleading PR campaign.