What is it with the left’s disdain for Wal-Mart?
I’m aware of all the charges — they pay low wages, offer poor benefits and hours, etc. — but if those are really their concerns there are hundreds of thousands of other businesses they should be going after. Besides, Wal-Mart is only profiting a mere 3 cents on the dollar of what they sell. It’s not like there’s much of a buffer if they were to raise wages.
Washington D.C. legally requires stores like Wal-Mart to pay at least 50 percent above the district’s minimum wage – effectively making it impossible for them to enter such markets.
Another politically-motivated attempt to keep Wal-Mart out was made explicitly clear in Puerto Rico, where a law was introduced to effectively tax the company at a rate three times higher than other companies. The tax is applied to companies with revenues over $2.75 billion – and Wal-Mart is the only company on the island that even comes close.
Sound unconstitutional? As reported by the Daily Signal, Wal-Mart Puerto Rico sued the island, and a Federal District Court ruled the tax unconstitutional.
While Governor Garcia Padilla suggested the decision took $100 million away from the people of Puerto Rico and gave it to Wal-Mart, the decision had the exact opposite effect—a ruling against Wal-Mart would have done far more damage to Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans.
Wal-Mart operates 48 stores across Puerto Rico, employs about 14,300 people (second only to the Puerto Rican government), pays its workers a minimum of $10 per hour—well above both the minimum ($7.25 an hour) and median ($9.42 an hour) wages in Puerto Rico—purchases about $1.6 billion’s worth of products from local vendors and suppliers, and currently pays about $40 million in income taxes to the Puerto Rican government.
Losing Wal-Mart would be a devastating blow to the struggling Puerto Rican economy—much more so than the alleged $100 million in lost tax revenues. But that’s precisely what the tax would do—drive the retailer off the island.
Companies that don’t make profits can’t stay in business, and Wal-Mart noted that it would not be able to maintain its Puerto Rico operations for long under the tax.
Fortunately for the people of Puerto Rico who receive jobs, low-priced goods, and a market to sell their products, this unconstitutional tax will not drive Wal-Mart out of Puerto Rico.
The liberals in Washington D.C. are able to keep Wal-Mart out by creating what’s essentially a “Wal-Mart Minimum Wage,” and those in Puerto Rico (unsuccessfully) tried to keep them out through excessive taxation. I suppose that’s the only time you can get liberals to acknowledge that the minimum wage and high taxes kill jobs.
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]