As Record Black Friday Protests Approach, Study Says Walmart Can Afford Higher Pay

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On Democracy Now!, Demos Policy Analyst Catherine Ruetschlin explains how Walmart could give its low-wage workers a $5.83/hr raise, lifting them to a salary of at least $25,000/yr, just by investing in its workforce rather than spending billions on share buybacks. 

Drawing from the research in Demos' newest brief, A Higher Wage is Possible, Catherine explains:

Wal-Mart earned $17 billion in profits last year. How they choose to allocate those profits is a business choice. What Wal-Mart did with a pretty substantial portion of it last year was go into the stock market and repurchase their own shares. What that did was consolidate ownership, it gave the Walton family heirs a greater than 50% stake in the company for the first time, and it bumps up earnings-per-share. [That is] a short-term Wall Street maneuver that over time doesn’t actually represent a productive investment in the firm.

A lot of analysts say that as the effects of that kind of one time buyback wear off, the firm doesn’t see any real long-term benefits. If they, instead, took the $7.6 billion that they used to buy back their own shares and used it to invest in their workforce, they could actually give a raise amounting to almost six dollars an hour for all 825,000 of those low-wage workers.

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