Were it anyone else I’d probably start this column with a snarky “He’s running” comment, but this is probably just Bernie being Bernie. When the lame duck legislature gets down to business today, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (Socialist) plans to introduce a bill specifically aimed at Walmart, designed to force them to pay all of their workers a minimum wage of $15 per hour. California Congressman Ro Khanna is expected to introduce matching legislation in the House. If the idea of Congress using their legislative power to target a specific company sounds a bit dodgy to you, don’t worry. Bernie has a way to work around that. (Washington Examiner)
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., will introduce legislation Thursday with Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., intended to force Walmart to pay workers at least $15 an hour. The bill would institute fines for corporations that buy back their own stock unless they set their workers’ base pay at that level.
“Last year, 4 members of the Walton family of Walmart made $12.7 billion in 1 day. It would take a full-time Walmart worker making $11/hr over 653,000 years to make that much. Thursday, @RepRoKhanna and I are introducing legislation to make Walmart pay its workers a living wage,” Sanders tweeted Tuesday.
This is in keeping with Sanders’ usual lines of attack and it has far less to do with fiscal policy or the minimum wage than it does his standard, Jean-Jacques Rousseau “eat the rich” schtick. He makes that pretty clear in this tweet where he’s not so much defending the workers as venting his rage that the Walton family has made so much money.
Last year, 4 members of the Walton family of Walmart made $12.7 billion in 1 day.
It would take a full-time Walmart worker making $11/hr over 653,000 years to make that much.
Thursday, @RepRoKhanna and I are introducing legislation to make Walmart pay its workers a living wage.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) November 13, 2018
The Walton family of Walmart owns more wealth than the bottom 40% of Americans.
Meanwhile 55% of Walmart’s associates are food insecure.
This is what we mean when we talk about a rigged economy, and why I'm introducing a bill tomorrow to make Walmart start paying a living wage.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) November 14, 2018
While it’s not entirely unheard of, it’s generally a bad idea to begin crafting laws aimed at either helping or swatting down one specific individual or company. Sanders works around this by crafting legislation that would apply to any corporation that buys back their own stock. That could apply to quite a few major corporations, but the ones in the tech sector (anyone from IBM to Facebook) generally hire more skilled/college-educated workers who are making more than $15 per hour anyway. This bill is clearly aimed at Walmart and other big-box outlets which hire a lot of unskilled, hourly workers.
If you needed more of a hint, you could just look at the name they’ve given the bill. It’s called the Stop Walmart Act.
The funny part of all this is that Walmart already gave their starting employees a bump to $11 back in January, with additional raises for those who had been there longer. They’re responding to market pressure in an expanding economy and would likely get up near $15 before long anyway. Sanders and his socialist friends are also ignoring what happened at Amazon when they suddenly raised their minimum wage to $15. Some workers wound up making less money and others with more experience were fuming over the fact that their seniority and skills were devalued because new high school graduates coming in off the street were making nearly as much as them.
Most of this is a moot point because this bill isn’t going anywhere. Even if it did, can you honestly imagine Donald Trump signing it? But it’s still a good lesson in socialism. The more the government tries to manhandle private enterprise in some sort of wealth redistribution scheme, the worse the economy tends to react.