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Experts debate: Does Walmart help or hurt America's economy?

MPR News

Walmart is the country's largest private-sector employer. Which has made it a target of both praise and criticism. [...]

"Walmart's business model is pretty simple," said Amy Traub. "The company pays its workers poverty wages. It offers few benefits and it manipulates workers' hours and understaffs its stores."

That model is expanding the gap between the extremely wealthy and everyone else in America.

Walmart's workers bear the brunt of these low wages, but it also has an affect on tax payers, Traub said, because these workers don't make enough to support themselves they often have to rely on government programs like Medicaid and food stamps.

Other big retailers, like Costco, have proven that it is possible to pay your workers livable wages and still provide competitive prices, she added.

Economies thrive when people have money to spend on the basics. Walmart's business model will not be sustainable in the future, and isn't worthy of one, Traub said.

"If you agree that there's a better, more equitable way to operate a business in this country, you should vote no, against the proposition."