Posts filed under “Really, really bad calls”
Last week, we learned that Wal-Mart was giving the lowest-paid of its hourly employees a raise. In a blog post, Wal-Mart Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon said that as of April, the company will pay a minimum of $9 an hour. That is $1.75 more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25, which has been unchanged for almost six years. Next February, Wal-Mart’s lowest hourly rate will rise to $10. All told, about a half-million Wal-Mart workers in the U.S. will be affected.
As in any complex situation, there are many nuances and wrinkles: This was inevitable; state minimum-wage laws had already mandated those minimums (or higher) in at least two-thirds of Wal-Mart’s stores. In the years since the last federal minimum-wage increase, many of Wal-Mart’s employees had fallen below the poverty level and the strengthening economy has made it harder to attract and retain employees.
There is also the issue of the negative PR generated by Wal-Mart’s low, low wages. As we discussed back in 2013, many of its full-time employees receive a full array of federal and state welfare. Wal-Mart has become the nation’s largest private-sector beneficiary of taxpayer-supported public assistance (see “How McDonald’s and Wal-Mart Became Welfare Queens“). Indeed, the U.S. taxpayer has been subsidizing the wages of this publicly traded, private-sector company to the tune of $2.66 billion in government largess a year.
To outsiders, Wall Street is a manic, dangerous and ridiculous republic unto itself – a sort of bizarro world where nothing adds up and common sense is virtually inapplicable. Consider the following insane things that we believe on Wall Street, that make no sense whatsoever in the real world: 1. Falling gas and home heating…Read More
Last week, we had the announcement of the end of Jon Stewart’s run on The Daily Show. I had been saving this column for the next TDS disaster, but rather than hold it, I decided to set it free. Enjoy. ~~~ A few months ago, my fellow Bloomberg View columnist Megan McCardle anticipated just such a…Read More
Friday’s jobs numbers were big, and the revisions below the surface were huge. Yet even before the release, the birther/vaxxer/flat-earther crowd had warned us about phony numbers. As public policy, this kind conspiracy thinking can cause the deaths of infants and the elderly. At least in markets, it merely loses you money. In December, I wrote: Today’s column is about stupidity. Perhaps…Read More
Morgan Housel makes the delightful if infuriating observation that bank execs take credit — along with fat paychecks and even fatter bonuses — on the way up. On the way down, its always seems to be someone else’s fault: Robert Rubin, a former Treasury Secretary, joined Citigroup in 1999 as chairman of the executive committee. He was…Read More