Here’s how we know that Walmart’s claim to be paying an “average” wage of $12.40/hour is hogwash: The retail giant is not lobbying aggressively in support of a minimum-wage increase.
If you’re a retailer with millions of employees all making several dollars more than the minimum wage, then seeing that wage raised from $7.25/hour to, say, $9.50/hour doesn’t cost you anything when it comes to your own payroll. But it would mean a great deal to the people your company can’t live without: your customers. About 74 million Americans are paid minimum wage — with nearly half of those being adult women. If those 74 million Americans were to get a raise of another $2.25/hour, they would spend that money. And they wouldn’t spend it at Macy’s. They would spend it at Walmart. A minimum-wage increase would be a huge revenue windfall, a sales bonanza for Walmart.
But if Walmart were honestly paying an average wage of $12.40/hour, then they ought to support a minimum-wage increase. They do not support such an increase, and so I have to conclude they are not honest when they claim to be paying that.