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Bernie Sanders Wants To ‘Stop Wal-Mart’? From What?

Socialism: Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-declared socialist who’s never held a steady job outside government, thinks he knows better than CEOs how to run a business. And yes, he’s serious. 




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Fresh off what Sanders sees as success in pushing Jeff Bezos to raise Amazon’s minimum wage to $15, Sanders has set his sights on a longtime bete noire of the left: Walmart. 

With typical Sanders subtlety, his new legislative proposal is called the “Stop WALMART act.”

Under it, big employers like Walmart would be banned from buying back shares in their own company unless they paid all their workers at least $15 an hour. They’d also have to cap CEO pay at 150 times the median employee pay, and provide seven days of paid sick leave. (Why Sanders doesn’t also include free lunches and bus tokens in his list of demands isn’t clear.)

Sanders says he’s building on the success of his Stop BEZOS act, which would have dictated that large companies “pay back” the cost of any government benefits received by any of their workers. 

That idea, so ill-conceived that even liberal economists wouldn’t endorse it, had no chance of passage. Nevertheless, Bezos responded by raising his own company’s minimum wage to $15, which won him short-term praise from Sanders but hurt many hourly workers by eliminating bonuses and stock incentives.

Standing Up To Bernie Sanders

One can only hope that Walmart CEO Doug McMillon is more resilient to Sanders’ grandstanding. 

After all, Walmart has nothing whatsoever to apologize for. And it certainly has nothing to learn from Bernie Sanders about how to run a business.

This is a company that employs 1.5 million people across the country. Some may not make what Sanders deems appropriate. But it’s good enough for many unskilled workers, who if they had a better offer would have taken it.

What’s more, Walmart’s relentless pursuit of lower prices not only helps middle class families stretch their hard-earned dollars further, but has helped hold down inflation economywide, according to economists who’ve studied the “Walmart effect.” That benefits everyone.

Bad For Workers

If Sanders really wants to help Walmart workers, two proven things work. Cut taxes and deregulate the economy.

In the wake of the Trump tax cuts — which Sanders vehemently opposed — Walmart boosted its starting wage to $11 an hour, up from $9. It also handed out bonuses that started at $250 and climbed to $1,000 depending on years of service.

Meanwhile, the economic boom under Trump’s economic policies has cut the unemployment rate to 50-year lows. It’s also drawn millions back into the workforce, and sparked the fastest wage growth in a decade.

No mandates. No threats or browbeating. No central planning needed.

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