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Business Economist And Industry Shill Now Chair Of Health Economics At UNH

unh-peter-paul-schoolThe University of New Hampshire’s Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics just hired one of the business industry’s biggest shills in the fight against raising the minimum wage.

Dr Joseph Sabia

Professor Joseph Sabia

Professor Joseph J. Sabia has been well quoted in newspapers for his work opposing the minimum wage. Lobbyists for the National Restaurant Association, the Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Prosperity, and the National Federation of Independent Business also use Sabia’s work to convince lawmakers to oppose any wage increases by saying it will kill jobs and hurt low-income workers.

The New Hampshire Union Leader just printed one of Sabia’s hit pieces in the editorial section of Friday’s paper. The editorial, “Another View — Joseph J. Sabia: The $15 minimum wage is an empty promise to the poor,” attempts to prove that raising the minimum wage will hurt New Hampshire families. He says that poor people are just lazy and there is not connection between the minimum wage and poverty.

A $15 minimum wage has been championed as an anti-poverty measure. But the majority of poor people do not work and will not benefit from a higher minimum wage. According to 2014 Census data, less than 40 percent of poor individuals actually work.”

This 40% lie has been busted by a variety of economic institutions. The Economic Policy Institute published a report in 2015 addressing this claim specifically and found that over 63% of those living in poverty do work.

Despite what some policymakers and pundits might have us believe, a significant share of the poor work. This means that policies that boost employment and wages are important and underappreciated tools for reducing poverty. To boost wage-growth and reduce poverty rates, a policy agenda must include provisions to raise the minimum wage, raise the overtime threshold, eliminate wage theft, and strengthen workers’ collective bargaining rights,” wrote Elise Gould of the Economic Policy Institute.

rick-berman

Richard Berman, Lawyer and Lobbyist

Professor Sabia and his work also have direct ties to Rick Berman’s public relations firm. Berman’s firm is widely known for their work pushing Right to Work, creating misleading -borderline untruthful- information about the minimum wage, and helps corporations like Wal-Mart block unionizing efforts.

In 1991, Berman founded the Employment Policies Institute that began lobbying against raising the minimum wage. “Berman also founded the Center for Consumer Freedom, which lobbies for meat, drink and tobacco industries, and the Center for Union Facts, which lobbies against unions,” wrote Ben Schiller at Fast Company online.

Sabia has been doing anti-minimum wage research for years at different colleges and universities across the country. Most recently he was at San Diego State University where he pumped out reports with grant money from Berman’s public relations firm.

Eric Lipton of the New York Times wrote about this in 2014:

Joseph J. Sabia, an associate professor of economics at San Diego State University, who has collected at least $180,000 in grant money from Mr. Berman’s group over the last eight years to deliver seven separate reports, each one concluding that increasing the minimum wage has caused more harm than good — or at least no significant benefit for the poor.

As noted above, in 1991, Berman created the Employment Policies Institute or EPI as they like to call themselves. If the acronym EPI rings a bell, that is what Berman wants. They did it intentionally to confuse people the Economic Policy Institute that has been publishing detailed economic reports for over 30 years and “whose staffers are very unhappy with the alphabetical confusion.”

The Employment Policies Institute is a wholly disingenuous group funded by companies that stand to lose from minimum wage increases,” wrote Ben Schiller at Fast Company online.

Why do Sabia and Berman’s Employment Policies Institute create these reports? To get them directly into the hands of the lobbyists who work for the corporations that fund Berman’s public relations firm.

What is clear is that the reports by the Employment Policies Institute are a critical element in the lobbying campaign against the increase in the minimum wage, as restaurant industry groups, in their own statements and news releases, often cite the institute’s reports, creating the Washington echo chamber effect that is so coveted by industry lobbyists,” continued Lipton of the New York Times.

You see the Employment Policies Institute is just another one of Berman’s nonprofit businesses in name only, as they do not have any employees. Berman’s public relations firm completes all of the work that is sent out by the Employment Policies Institute. Berman then bills “EPI” for his services and boom, corporate money laundering complete.

This arrangement effectively means that the nonprofit is a moneymaking venture for Mr. Berman, whose advertising firm was paid $1.1 million by the institute in 2012, according to its tax returns, or 44 percent of its total budget, with most of the rest of the money used to buy advertisements.

Berman has even created a new app for IPhone and Android to help employers fight against minimum wage increases.

If companies are worried that they might be forced to actually pay their workers enough to live, they have a willing ally in the Employment Policies Institute… Wage Engage allows business owners to track minimum wage legislation in states relevant to them, and to offer their opinion about the impact of such increases,” added Schiller(Read more about “Wage Engage”)  

Peter T Paul (UNH Photo Services)

Peter T Paul (UNH Photo Services)

Sabia was hired as Professor of Economics & Forrest D. McKerley Chair of Health Economics at the Peter T Paul College of Business and Economics. The school was recently renamed after UNH Alum and wealthy California businessman Peter T Paul after a very sizable donation to the school. In addition to having the school named after him, Paul also is a member of the school’s Board of Directors.

Many people do not know much about the man the school is named after. Paul founded Headlands Mortgage known for creating and selling “Alt-A” mortgages that many attributed to the financial collapse in 2007.

Headlands Mortgage, which he founded in 1986, called them Alt-A loans: Alternative “high-quality” loans. The California-based company examined the worth of the home and the down payment, the amount of cash in the bank, and the credit history, but was looser on income verification,” wrote Bob Sanders of the NH Business Review.

Paul sold his lucrative mortgage company to GreenPoint for “$473 million” reported Sanders.After selling GreenPoint, Paul started Paul Financial, which flourished and later failed, resulting in large losses for himself and his borrowers. And it became the target of a class-action truth-in-lending suit that was settled last November for $1.75 million.”

Then Paul decided he wanted to get more involved in New Hampshire politics. Paul created a Super PAC to support his friend and former UNH Business School Dean, Dan Innis in his run for Congress in 2014.

Mother Jones reported, “Paul created a super-PAC, New Hampshire Priorities PAC, and financed it with $562,000.

In 2014, Innis lost his primary bid for Congress to the corrupt Congressman Frank Guinta. This year, Innis chose to run for New Hampshire State Senate and guess whom he is bringing with him? 

“I am excited for the opportunity to refocus NH Priorities PAC on state races during the 2016 election cycle. In particular, the PAC will be focusing on recruiting and supporting candidates for the Executive Council, State Senate, and House of Representatives who are committed to offering fiscally responsible solutions to the issues impacting our great state,” wrote Peter T Paul on the NH Priorities PAC website.

So why do I find this newly hired economist to the University of New Hampshire so dubious? Because the minimum wage is one of the biggest issues driving this election cycle.

We have a Presidential election between Hillary Clinton, who supports a minimum wage increase and Donald Trump who says workers are already paid too much.

We have a US Senate race between Senator Kelly Ayotte who opposed minimum wage legislation in the Senate and Governor Maggie Hassan who has pushed for an increase in the minimum wage since her time in the NH State Senate.

We also have a Gubernatorial race between Executive Councilor Chris Sununu who opposes increasing the minimum wage in New Hampshire and Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern who advocates for a higher minimum wage and suggested a baseline of $12 an hour. Van Ostern also says he will sign any increase to the minimum wage that passes the Legislature.

For the first time in many, many, many years we are really close to getting the Legislature to raise the minimum wage and that is scaring some of the greedy CEO’s who fund groups like Berman’s Employment Policies Institute.

They are pulling out all the stops in an attempt to cover up the truth about the benefits of raising the minimum wage. By convincing people that raising the minimum wage is wrong they are trying to convince voters to reject candidates who support the increase.

I refuse to let Berman, a D.C. front man for the restaurant and business industry, Peter T Paul, a wealthy Wall Street gambler from California, and Sabia, an economist for hire funded by grants from a fake “institute” tell me what is best for the people of New Hampshire.

None of these men have the best interests of working Granite Staters’ in mind when they are pushing their agenda. These men are only interested in maximizing their personal profits and taking from the hard working people struggling every day to get by.


Related Reading:

Fight Over Minimum Wage Illustrates Web of Industry Ties

Rick Berman and the Libertarian Shell Game

Workers And Federal Government Are Being Cheated By Misclassification Of Workers

New Study by EPI Shows Some Employers are Ripping Off Workers’ Wages and Cheating States Out of Tax Revenue, Companies that Play by the Rules Disadvantaged 

More than 10 Million Workers Misclassified;
$9 Billion in Federal Tax Revenues at Stake

Mexican Worker (image by Wiki Commons)

(image by Wiki Commons)

Washington — A new study released today by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), (IN)dependent Contractor Misclassification, shows that between 10 and 20 percent of employers misclassify at least one worker as an independent contractor rather than as an employee. More than 10 million American workers are now wrongly misclassified and ineligible for unemployment insurance, minimum wage, overtime pay and workman’s compensation.

This fraudulent and widespread practice not only puts workers at risk – it also is costing states and the federal government billions in tax revenue. As a result of misclassification, states do not receive payroll taxes they would be owed otherwise. At the federal level, Social Security taxes go unpaid, and, as hard as it is to believe, employers caught committing fraud by intentionally misclassifying workers generally don’t even receive a slap on the wrist by the IRS.

A tax loophole — designed to be temporary, but now on the books for 37 years — actually protects employers who misclassify workers.  The so-called “Safe Harbor Rule” (or more technically, Section 530 of the Revenue Act of 1978) allows companies to misclassify workers as independent contractors for tax purposes even if it has been demonstrated that they really are employees. The same rule prohibits the IRS from seeking back taxes or in any way ordering a change of status for the worker.

President Obama has proposed closing the loophole in his 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 budget proposals. The U.S. Treasury estimates that eliminating Safe Harbor would generate $9 billion in tax revenue over 10 years.

Companies that are exploiting workers through misclassification are in all sectors of the economy and range from mom and pop businesses to publicly traded multi-national corporations. The EPI study highlights the example of Atlanta stagehands employed at performances promoted by Live Nation, a publicly traded company and the nation’s largest concert promoter. Live Nation uses a subcontractor, Crew One, to staff its shows.  Crew One treats all its workers it employs for Live Nation as independent contractors.  Crew One provides no safety training, work shoes, or hard hats, pays no payroll taxes; often it doesn’t even provide water for stagehands to drink at outdoor summer music festivals and other venues.

Stagehands hired by Crew One have now voted to form a union by a 2 to 1 margin, but the company is challenging the election result on the grounds that the workers have been recognized by tax authorities as independent contractors. The stagehands have responded by appealing to Live Nation to intervene with their labor contractor. The Atlanta stagehand battle was the subject of a front page Sunday Business section column in the June 7, Sunday, Los Angeles Times, entitled “Exposing the employment ploy at concert promoter Live Nation.”

The EPI report also focuses on Memphis-based FedEx and its legal battle over worker misclassification in 27 states. FedEx treats drivers as independent contractors and requires them to provide their own trucks painted with the FedEx color scheme and logo and also requires them to buy uniforms, scanners and other equipment. FedEx also dictates terms of hours, appearance and procedures as they would for employees. Court testimony shows that these requirements tied the hands of the FedEx drivers to operate as true independent contractors and created an immense financial liability.

In addition to harming workers and denying government of much-needed revenue, the practice of misclassification imposes a harsh burden on law-abiding firms that pay their taxes and properly classify their workers.  While other firms get away with fraudulent practices, law-abiding firms face a competitive disadvantage and may feel pressured to cut corners with their workers’ employment status if they wish to remain competitive.

The EPI report (IN)dependent Contractor Misclassification  is available on the think tank’s website at: http://www.epi.org/publication/independent-contractor-misclassification/

Unfair Trade Policies Lead To More American Jobs Lost

Vacant steel mill outside Detroit. (image by Jo Guldi on Flickr)

Vacant steel mill outside Detroit. (image by Jo Guldi on Flickr)

There are few things as heartbreaking than hearing that more steelworkers are being laid off. It is not that America does not need new steel, it is foreign manufacturers that are undercutting the American steel industry. This dramatic increase in foreign imports is causing American manufacturers to cut more jobs.

The Economic Policy Institute just released a new report showing how the vast increase in foreign steel is damaging American workers.

“Surging imports of unfairly traded steel are threatening U.S. steel production, which supports more than a half million U.S. jobs across every state of the nation. The import surge has depressed domestic steel production and revenues, leading to sharp declines in net income in the U.S. steel industry over the past two years (2012–2013), layoffs for thousands of workers, and reduced wages for many more.”

Yesterday U.S. Steel announced plans to halt tube operations in Pennsylvania and Texas, which will lead to an indefinite furlough for 265 workers.

“For months, our union (The United Steelworkers) has warned the Department of Commerce, the U.S. Trade Representative, the public and others that a flood of illegally subsidized and unfairly traded oil country tubular goods (OCTG) poses a significant and immediate threat to American steel companies and the jobs of our members,” said USW President Leo Gerard.

The EPI estimates that over “583,600 steel-related jobs are at risk if the U.S. does not fully and effectively enforce its trade remedy laws.” The importing of foreign steel has “increased from 28.5 million net tons in 2011 to 32.0 million net tons in 2013, an increase of 12.3 percent.”

Why is this happening?Why is the country that led the world in steel production now taking a back seat to these foreign suppliers?


“The USW demands an immediate investigation into how a trade partner such as South Korea, which produces 100 percent of its steel tubular goods for export because it has no domestic market, has managed to conduct business here without regulation or any kind of fair tariff in place,” Gerard stated.

The importing of foreign manufactured steel is only one piece of the problem that has led to the destruction of millions of American jobs. Our trade policies have led to the erosion of our pay, and have pushed up our national debt.

The problem is that we as a nation are buying more than we are selling, and this is causing a $540 billion dollar trade deficit.

Foreign manufacturers play games with their currency to undercut their competitors. Currency manipulation and slave wages are how these countries are able to charge less for their products. They have rigged the game so badly that it is almost impossible for Americans to win.

For the sake of our entire manufacturing base we must put a stop to the unbalanced trade, and currency manipulation.

“For the workers and families in McKeesport, Pa. and Bellville, Texas, the USW pledges to continue fighting for a fair and level playing field so that American workers can get back to their rightful jobs as soon as possible,” Gerard stated.

“The USW will continue to be an outspoken advocate for workers who have paid and continue to pay the price for unfair ‘free’ trade, which remains the single most dangerous threat to the good, family-supporting, community-sustaining jobs the USW strives to create and protect,” concluded Gerard.

Programs like NAFTA, and the proposed TPP, are exactly what is hurting the American worker. We need to stop the hemorrhaging now, before it gets worse. Restoring our trade balance and reducing our trade deficit would create upwards of five million new jobs.

We talk about a global economy, however it seems we are the only ones buying.  Always remember; support American workers, buy American.

Rebuilding Our Economy By Reducing Our Trade Deficit And Opposing The TPP

Image from CC WikiCommons

Image from CC WikiCommons

Jobs, jobs, jobs! That is what every member of Congress said they were going to create if we elected them.  President Obama said he would create one million new manufacturing jobs.  The President has not met his goal yet, but there are a few things we can do to reduce unemployment, create new good manufacturing jobs, and reduce our trade deficit all at the same time.

Many people say that the problem with the American economy is that ‘America doesn’t make anything anymore.’  Millions of good, mostly union, manufacturing jobs have been shipped overseas.  This has created many problems within our economy.  First, it raised the unemployment rate as workers saw their factories up and disappear.  Second, it created a trade deficit with other countries as we are importing more goods than we are exporting.

The trade deficit is key to rebuilding our economy and getting millions of Americans back to work.  The trade deficit is a little confusing but let me try to explain it in a non-econ major’s interpretation.

Every year the United States exports $212 Billion dollars worth of machinery. This would be cars, trucks, engines, etc.  At the same time the United States imports $314 billion dollars in machinery from other countries.  For the purpose of this example let’s say that all of this trade is with China.  This would create a $102 billion dollar ‘trade deficit’ with China.

The US currently has a $540 Billion dollar annual trade deficit. This means that U.S. exports of $2.194 trillion were less than its imports of $2.73 trillion in goods and services.”  Other countries like Germany are exactly the opposite, they export more than they import. In fact Germany had a 1.5 EUR billion in trade surplus.  This is one of the reasons Germany has one of the strongest economies in the world.

The first step in getting Americans back to work is to balance our trade with other countries. Dean Baker from the Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) told me in a phone interview that eliminating the trade deficit would lead to “4 million new jobs directly, and over 6 million new jobs indirectly.”  Not only would we be creating new jobs, many of the new jobs would be good, Middle Class union jobs in the manufacturing sector.

Baker also talked about how by adding these new jobs, the United States would come closed to “full employment”.  Baker stated, “As we climb closer to full employment wages will rise.”  As the unemployment rate drops, employers will have to raise their wages to keep employees or encourage new applicants.

Clyde Prestowitz, President of the Economic Strategy Institute, echoed Baker’s statement by say that “lowering the trade deficit would create 5-6 million new jobs.”

Both Baker and Prestowitz cited ‘currency manipulation’ as a key influencer in our trade deficit.  Again, for those (like me) who are not economic majors, currency manipulation is very complex theory where one country buys another country’s debt to cause changes in the currency rate of exchange.

Robert E. Scott Economic Policy Institute explained currency manipulation the best in his blog:

Currency manipulation lowers the value of foreign currencies, relative to the U.S. dollar, which acts like a subsidy to their exports, and a tax on U.S. exports to China and every other country where the U.S. competes with the exports of currency manipulators.

Matthew McMullan from the Alliance for American Manufacturing explained currency manipulation to me in an email:

“China holds massive amounts of American currency in reserve. They go right to the U.S. Treasury and buy treasury notes. By gobbling up dollars and sitting on them, they make them more scarce. It makes the dollar stronger (or more expensive) and makes its own currency, the yuan, weaker (or cheaper) by comparison. That makes stuff that America exports more expensive, and stuff that China exports cheaper. China effectively subsidizes its exports by putting a tax on America’s.”

Doug Hall also from the EPI breaks it down to its most basic form: currency manipulation “raises the cost of U.S. exports, and lowers the cost of U.S. imports.”

The Economic Policy Institute recently published Robert E. Scott’s massive report on currency manipulation, which spells out exactly how ending currency manipulation will create new jobs and boost America’s exports.

After the report was released AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said, “U.S. workers can compete with anyone in the world, but they cannot compete successfully on a lopsided playing field.  Currency manipulation allows countries like China to devalue their currency, which artificially makes Chinese goods less expensive and American products more expensive. This is a major contributing factor in our lopsided trade relationship with China. Meanwhile, U.S. manufacturing companies and workers bear the brunt of these unfair policies.”

How do we compete in the global marketplace when countries are gaming the system through currency manipulation?

Robert E. Scott (EPI) recommends several ways of combatting currency manipulation.

First, Congress should pass pending legislation that would allow the Commerce Department to treat currency manipulation as a subsidy in countervailing duty trade cases. Second, the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement should include “strong, enforceable currency manipulation provisions,” as a majority of the House has insisted. Third, the administration should implement strategies to offset purchases of foreign assets by currency manipulating governments, which would make efforts to manipulate the dollar and other currencies costly and/or ineffective.

Both Dean Baker and Clyde Prestowitz also said they were “not fans” of the TPP, and the TPP is not addressing the currency manipulation issue.

Prestowitz went on to say that the TPP will “result in higher unemployment and lower wages for US workers.” He continued by saying that the “there is no such thing as ‘Free-Trade’; the TPP is about regulating trade.”

There is another issue that the TPP is not currently addressing, and that is incentives to move manufacturing plants overseas.  This is similar to states offering huge tax breaks for corporations who choose to move their manufacturing plants into their state.  This is what drew Boeing to South Carolina; and the same thing lures US manufacturers into moving to China and Japan.

These multi-national corporations are reaping huge profits from these so-called ‘free trade agreements’ and benefiting from currency manipulation.  We need to end the currency manipulators and get our trade deficit down to help American workers.

Prestowitz posed this question; “What would our economy look like if China had purchased $1.5 Trillion dollars worth of American products?”

 

New BLS Report Shows Union Members Earn Hundreds More Per Week

Today the Department of Labor released their annual report on union membership in the United States.  For the first time in many years the number of union members held steady at just over 11% of the U.S. workforce.

For many years labor unions have been saying that being a union member has a definite financial advantage, and this report proves it.

The data also show that among full-time wage and salary workers, union members have higher median weekly earnings than nonunion workers,” said Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez.  “The median weekly earnings of union members were $950, compared to $750 for nonunion workers.

Wages union vs non union

The average benefit for being a union member is $200 per week, or just over $10,000 per year.  That is a significant boost to a workers income.

The additional money in their paycheck is not the only benefit to being a union member, as Sec. Perez explains.

Along with higher wages, other data show that union members have greater access to employment-based benefits, such as health insurance, a retirement savings plan, and sick and vacation leave.

The Economic Policy Institute reports:

Unionized workers are more likely than their nonunionized counterparts to receive paid leave, are approximately 18% to 28% more likely to have employer-provided health insurance, and are 23% to 54% more likely to be in employer-provided pension plans.”

Not only are unionized workers more likely to have healthcare, typically they pay less for their coverage.

They (unionized workers) also pay 18% lower health care deductibles and a smaller share of the costs for family coverage.” (EPI Report)

Membership has its benefits.

Sec. Thomas Perez: “Workers’ ability to form unions and engage in collective bargaining has been a cornerstone of a strong middle class. The decline in union membership over the last few decades has contributed to more working families struggling to get by. When workers have a seat at the table, they are better able to bargain for their fair share of the value they helped create; and that leads to greater economic security and economic mobility for everyone.  As our economy continues to recover and we work to create good jobs, we need to ensure workers can lift their voices to raise wages, reduce inequality and help more people climb ladders of opportunity.”

Union membership states

From BLS report

See also Private-Sector Union Membership Grows in 2013 from the AFL-CIO

 

The Outrageous Truth About A $12 Minimum Wage And Your Grocery Bill

Every time I even mention the idea of raising the minimum wage, I am immediately attacked on social media.

Opponents imagine that inflation will skyrocket; some have even claimed that ‘milk will be $10.00 a gallon’ if we raise the minimum wage. Oh, the hysteria. Milk is currently around $3.50 a gallon and that is up 25% from just ten years ago. Is that 25% due to rising wages? Sadly, no – wages in America have declined during that time. Must be some other economic force at work. (Read “Even Dairy Farming has a 1%” here.)

So, what if we raised the floor to a living wage, and paid non-tipped employees a minimum wage of $12.00 per hour? Oh, more hysteria. Opponents claim that will drive our costs up so much we will be unable to eat!

Let’s look at a few facts about minimum wage.

Who gets paid minimum wage? People opposed to raising the wage claim that ‘minimum wage workers are kids in high school; adults do not make minimum wage’. The fact is 25% of minimum wage workers are below the age of 19 – which means that 75% of all minimum wage earners are above the age of 20. That means they’re adults – not high school kids. In fact, almost half of all minimum-wage earners are above the age of 25.

Another fact: under the current minimum wage, a full time worker makes only $15,500 per year – before taxes.

Another fact: 64% of all minimum wage earners are women. Of that a whopping 66% are women above the age of 20.

Another fact: More than a third of minimum wage workers (35.8 percent) are married, and over a quarter (28.0 percent) are parents. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that if Congress raised the minimum wage, it would raise the standard of living for more than 21 million children.

The UC Berkley Labor Center studied the effects of raising the minimum wage to $12.00 per hour. They specifically looked at the nation’s largest employer, Walmart.

Walmart employs about 2.2 million peoplealmost 2% of America’s workers, these days.

If the minimum wage is raised to $12.00 an hour, 37% of Walmart employees would see a raise ranging from $3,200 (part-time workers) to $6,500 (full-time workers). Another 14.6% would see a raise between $1,670-$2,640 per year.

Impact of Raises on Wal Mart WorkersOpponents claim ‘pay raises like that are unrealistic and unsustainable’. They claim ‘Walmart would go bankrupt having to pay that much for labor.’

But that’s completely wrong. According to the UC Berkeley study, increasing the minimum wage to $12.00 an hour would add only $3.21 billion to Walmart’s annual labor costs. To put that in perspective:

Giving all those workers a pay increase might cut Walmart’s profit margin by 20% – but it certainly won’t bankrupt the company.

Now, let’s assume that Walmart passed every penny of the minimum wage increase onto customers, rather than taking it out of profits or dividends. What would that mean to consumers? The average customer would see an increase of $12.49 per year – about 46 cents per visit – if Walmart executives passed the total cost along, rather than cutting their profits.

FOURTY-SIX CENTS per visit would ensure that all Walmart’s workers are paid a living wage.

Annual Cost Per Shopper

Annual Cost Per Shopper

That’s a lot less than the increase in the price of milk.

Would it be worth it, to help the nearly 4 million Americans who are currently working at or below minimum wage? Even if corporate executives pass the total cost along to consumers, rather than taking some of it out of their dividends. I think so.

—–

A closer look at Walmart’s dividend payments: corporate “insiders” own more than half of Walmart’s stock. Once again, the people who run the company personally benefit from decisions about profits paid out as dividends.

For example, Walmart Director Jim Walton owns 10.5 million shares of the company. This year, the company paid out $1.88 per share in dividends. That means Director Walton received more than $19.7 million in dividends (which are taxed at about half the rate as executive salaries).

Walmart President and CEO Michael Duke owns about 1.2 million shares of the company – that means he personally received about $2 million in dividend income this year.

All that money to corporate executives. And some people claim Walmart can’t afford to give raises to its workers?

 

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