By Mark Wachtler
January 8, 2015. Bentonville, AR. (ONN) When you’re the largest corporation on Earth and the richest family in the world, you probably have a target on your back. But in the case of Walmart and the founding Walton family, the contempt is understandable. There’s even a website dedicated exclusively to exposing the evils of the Walmart empire, including a petition to the FTC to investigate claims of false advertising showing the store’s products are assembled in the USA when they’re really not.
Walmart’s ‘Assembled in the USA’ TV’s are the target of a false advertising petition to the FTC. Image courtesy of Walmart1Percent.org.
The website is at Walmart1Percent.org and it’s a treasure trove of information exposing Walmart and the Walton family. The organizers detail how the retailer has destroyed countless American jobs, how company officials have corrupted our government, how the store falsely claims its products are made or assembled in the USA, and even how the Walton heirs are 4 of the richest 10 people in the country, and yet four of the least charitable billionaires in America.
Sending US jobs overseas
It’s one thing to read about the way Walmart achieves its low prices. It’s another thing to see it first-hand, like this author did over a ten-year span while working for a large ad agency. Every US company wants to sell their products on Walmart’s shelves. According to our clients who were fortunate enough to get distribution at the chain, sales at Walmart were equal to or greater than their company’s sales at all other stores combined. That’s how important Walmart is to a US manufacturer.
Let’s say you make widgets. It costs you $2 per widget in labor and materials to produce. You sell them to stores for $3 per widget and the stores sell them for $4 to customers like me. Then, along comes Walmart. The retailer’s purchasing managers make your dreams come true and agree to sell your product at their 11,000 stores. Except they will only pay you $1 per widget instead of $3 like all other retailers do, so they can sell it for $3 and undercut all other retailers selling your widget. Since it costs you double that just to make it, your only choice is to close your US factories and send the manufacturing to some obscure Asian nation where you can pay little or nothing to children and slaves to make your products for you.
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That’s not an exaggeration. That chain of events has played out thousands of times in America over the past 25 years. The saddest part is; the US government, the US Chamber of Commerce, and hundreds of Wall Street corporations will give your company all the help it needs to lay off all your American workers and outsource their jobs to a foreign dictatorship. And if you still need help, just ask 2012 Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. That’s how he made his fortune.
America’s #1 job destroyer
The website Walmart1Percent.org reports, ‘Walmart played the central, if not the defining, role in the off-shoring of high-quality US manufacturing jobs over the past 25 years. Companies that used to manufacture products in the United States, from Levi’s jeans to Master Lock, were pressured to shut their US factories and move manufacturing abroad to meet Walmart’s demand for low prices.’
The site goes on to say, ‘Walmart holds the champion title as the nation’s largest importer. This is no small feat. According to trade data published by the Journal of Commerce, Walmart continues to be the largest importer of goods to the United States in 2013. And company imports have increased by 2.5 times since 2002.’
Walmart executives must know that Americans are willing to pay a little more for merchandise if they know if was made in the USA and providing desperately needed jobs to American workers. That’s why some of the store’s suppliers, like Element Electronics, are supplying products with packaging loudly and proudly proclaiming with patriotic red, white and blue graphics, ‘Assembled in the USA.’ But according to a petition to the FTC by the Alliance for American Manufacturing, the claim is false. Not only are most of Walmart’s products not made in America, they’re not assembled in America either, even some of the ones labeled as such.
The petition to the FTC regarding Element Electronics and Walmart’s advertising reads, ‘US consumers specifically seek out and purchase products that claim to be “Made in the USA” or “Assembled in the USA,” and use AAM (Alliance for American Manufacturing) as a resource for locating such products and manufacturers. Element’s false and deceptive advertising packaging described herin injures AAM, its members, and American consumers by misleading purchasers into buying Element’s televisions based on false claims of domestic assembly and production.’
No charity here
According to the Economic Policy Institute, in 2007, Sam Walton’s children and heirs had personally siphoned off so much of America’s resources that they had more money than the bottom 30% of all Americans combined. In 2010, the Walton kids had cornered an even larger share of the country’s money supply - more than the bottom 40% of all Americans combined. Forbes points out that Sam Walton’s four children are 4 of the 10 richest people in the US. They occupy spots 4, 5, 8 and 9 respectively.
The anti-Walmart crusaders remind consumers that compared to the other individuals on the Forbes 10 richest Americans list, the Walton children are the most greedy and least charitable. With fortunes of the top 10 ranging from $34.6 billion on the low end to $80.3 billion on the high end, Walmart1Percent.org shows how much each person gives to charity.
Four of the ten give 0.0% of their wealth to charity. Any guess which four? Yep, all four Walton heirs. According to the list, Warren Buffett tops the list giving 12.29% of his wealth to charity each year. Microsoft founder Bill Gates is second, donating 9.25% of his fortune annually. Former NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg gives 9%. The Republican Koch brothers and Oracle’s Larry Ellison are next, each giving roughly a half of one percent each year.
But Christy Walton gives only 0.05% of her $38.2 billion. Alice Walton gives only 0.01% of her $35 billion. Jim Walton gives just 0.00004% of his $36.4 billion. And Rob Walton gives only 0.00003% of his $35 billion to charity.
For more information and more handy facts like these, visit Walmart1Percent.org.