The Walmart critics are out in full force once again. Ho-hum.
Now, Walmart's effect on the jobs economy is no secret. Walmart drives down wages at other retailers and pays such low wages that its workers are forced to rely on government assistance to get by. But, Walmart's supporters say, at least it creates jobs, and crappy jobs are better than no jobs. Except that Walmart doesn't create jobs, it kills them. Numerous studies show this.
The largest, most rigorous study conducted on the subject is a peer-reviewed article from 2008, authored by David Neumark, an economist who is no wild-eyed liberal. (See, for example, his anti-minimum wage op-ed he wrote for the Wall Street Journal).
Using data from over 3,000 counties, the study's results show that when a Walmart store opens, it kills an average 150 retail jobs at the county level, with each Walmart worker replacing about 1.4 retail workers. These results are robust under a variety of models and tests.
Other strong studies found similar results. For example, a 2008 peer-reviewed study that looked at Maryland concluded that Walmart's presence significantly decreased retail employment by 414 jobs.
So Walmart is causing pain across the board -- lower wages, job loss, more need for government assistance for working people.
Nevertheless, there are still those who claim that Walmart's heirs show great personal responsibility in that each has his or her piggy bank with approximately $160 billion. One zealous Walmart advocate states: "There is nothing wrong with people like the Waltons attempting to improve themselves, even if it comes at the expense of others. Because what are 400 lost jobs in a neighborhood when the Waltons are merely acting on their own personal responsibility to accumulate all the wealth in the world?"
Walmart's supporters are also dead set against workers being able to organize. "If we let them organize," stated one supporter, "next thing we know they'll expect to be earning more in 2017 than they earned in 2008! What kind of a world would THAT be? We won't be able to hear ourselves on account of the ROAR of these workers."