“Thanks For Sharing Your First Draft”: I’m Still Laughing Over Walmart’s Snarky Response to the NY Times

Last week I wrote about the minimum wage–looking at a comparison drawn by Bloomberg between Walmart and Costco, suggesting that Walmart ought to adopt Costco’s business model and pay its employees a living wage.  In “The Bishops’ Love Affair With Raising the Minimum Wage”, I was critical of what I considered well-intentioned but ill-founded solutions proposed for elevating people from poverty by enforcing a higher minimum wage.

The quick-fix solution proposed by Obama would, I said, lead to higher unemployment and small businesses closing their doors.

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Never mind that the Obamas–Barack and Michelle, in a joint interview June 20 that was published in Parade Magazine–have now said that they’d like their daughters Malia and Sasha to have the experience of working in minimum wage jobs.  According to Politico:

“Oh yeah,” the first lady said when asked whether she would like her daughters to work in minimum wage jobs. “I think every kid needs to get a taste of what it’s like to do that real hard work.”

“We are looking for opportunities for them to feel as if going to work and getting a paycheck is not always fun, not always stimulating, not always fair,” the president added. “But that’s what most folks go through every single day.”

Given that the President has made the minimum wage an important plank in his platform, I can’t imagine how he’s going to square those comments with his remarks at the Working Families Summit he’s hosting in Washington DC today.

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Anyway, back to Walmart:  Chuck Ross at the Daily Caller has a report regarding the discount giant’s response to a hit piece by NY Times writer Timothy Egan titled “Corporate Daddy”.

“Thanks for sharing your first draft,” reads a red-inked note from Wal-Mart, which is known more for its low prices than its snark.

“Below are a few thoughts to ensure something inaccurate doesn’t get published,” continued the note, which was posted at Walmart’s blog and is attributed to David Tovar, Wal-Mart’s director of corporate communications.

And Walmart set out to set things straight, tweaking Egan’s facts and cleaning up the details.  On Walmart’s cost to taxpayers:

“Walmart is a net drain on taxpayers,” wrote Egan in the missive, adding that the company forces “employees into public assistance with its poverty-wage structure.

“We are the largest tax payer in America,” Tovar wrote in his edit. “Can we see your math?”

How about the NY Times’ claim that Walmart employees must supplement their wages with the government dole?  Or the impact on veterans?

“We see more associates move off of public assistance as a result of their job at Walmart,” Tovar wrote.

Egan argued that “most advanced nations” look for ways to boost the middle class but that the U.S. had ceased doing that. “Witness the G.I. Bill, which helped millions of returning soldiers get a lift to a better life,” wrote the Times columnist.

“Did you know?” Tovar quizzed. “Walmart has hired more than 42,000 veterans this year.”

How about Egan’s statistics regarding Walmart’s low starting wage?  

The company also chastised Egan for using vague statistics.

“Walmart disputes these figures, claiming the average full-time store worker makes at least $12 an hour,” wrote Egan.

“Be specific,” reads Tovar’s edit. “Full time average associate wage is $12.91.”

“But these numbers are skewed by higher pay for management,” wrote Egan.

“False: Only includes associates paid hourly,” Tovar corrected.

“The average ‘associate’ at Walmart makes $8.81 an hour – poverty wage,” offered Egan.

“Argument incomplete — in this study, starting wage 3 years ago was $1.50 over minimum wage. That’s a good thing,” reads Tovar’s red ink.

The Daily Caller concludes with some advice from Walmart regarding a more relevant article which the NY Times might publish instead of this wildly inaccurate report:

“Better idea for a piece,” Tovar concluded. “Could focus on bringing back US manufacturing…and expanding education, training, and workforce programs, i.e. things that will make a bigger difference, not just focusing on starting wages.”

This is funny, but there’s more, so much more.  Read the rest here.

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Just a note from my minimum wage post on June 18:

“…to urge the federal government, already on a crash course toward increased socialism with the Affordable Care Act and other projects of the Obama administration, to embrace the goal of income equalization seems imprudent.

Let the market self-correct, with businesses paying the salaries which they can afford to pay, and which will attract the workers they need.

And let the Church be the Church, doing what it does well:  teaching the Faith and helping the poor, all in the name of Christ.”


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