Posts filed under “Really, really bad calls”

Wal-Mart’s Crash Course in Labor Economics

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.

There has been lots of theorizing about why the nation’s largest retailer did this: See this, this, and this. But I have a much simpler explanation: The Wal-Mart business model is broken.

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.

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Category: Employment, Really, really bad calls, Wages & Income

10 Insane Things We Believe On Wall Street

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

Category: Corporate Management, Investing, Philosophy, Really, really bad calls

Go on the Daily Show!

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

Category: Humor, Media, Really, really bad calls, Television

The worst anti-vaccine arguments

Source: Quartz

Category: Digital Media, Humor, Really, really bad calls, Science, UnScience

TDS: Guardians of the Veracity

Category: Financial Press, Really, really bad calls, Television, Video

Pharmaceutical Companies’ Marketing to Doctors

Pharmaceutical companies spend billions of dollars marketing drugs to doctors. We have a few issues with that.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Marketing to Doctors

Source: HBO

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Category: Legal, Really, really bad calls, Video

More Dumb Economic Conspiracy Nonsense

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

Category: Data Analysis, Economy, Employment, Really, really bad calls

Adventures in Banking: Responsibility & Blame

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

Category: Bailouts, Corporate Management, Really, really bad calls

Americans Don’t Know Much About Science

Hey Dummy! You I am talkin at:   Source: Pew Research    

Category: Really, really bad calls, Science

Should You Vaccinate Your Child?

Source: Flowing Data

Category: Digital Media, Really, really bad calls, Science