Just to get this article going, I’ll say something which people wouldn’t guess from the title. I actually think Barack Obama was a mediocre to kind of good president when everything was said and done. His first term with Reid and Pelosi having power for half of it was a disaster, but with Clinton leaving in 2012, Biden getting a greater role and a clear movement towards moderation, Barack Obama went from horrible to sort of okay. I like how, due to his Supreme Court picks, he helped get gay marriage legal in all 50 states. I like how he supported the free market trade bill TPP which would have done great things for the world. I like how he, after losing in 2010, moved away from the “How do we spend half a trillion this month?” mentality and adopted real plans which brought our deficits to GDP down about 30% from 2006 levels and 70% from 2009 levels. Looking at it all, he was an improvement from Bush. However, Walmart (when it comes to fighting poverty) simply kicks his ass.
Writing this article, I really just wanted to defend a company which gets way too much heat from the left; but has time after time been a “god-send” to the poor. This is a company which goes into the poorest neighborhoods, gives the poorest people work, puts the most demand on companies for better servicing/pricing and offers pricing that saves consumers countless billions a year. They are arguably the greatest anti-poverty company ever.
Barack Obama has some nice attributes and achievements looking at his lesser known deregulations to occupational licensing and stability in spending, but when it comes to helping the poor, he’s a soccer mom doing a 5 km walk for a disease no one has heard of and Walmart is Mother Theresa – only better!
But to make this simple, let’s list seven things Walmart has done which make it vastly better for the poor and middle class than Barack Obama’s tenure as president was.
1. Low Prices
When it comes to Walmart versus Barack Obama, let’s just think about when Barack Obama ever really saved a poor person money. He spent most of his first term fighting fracking which cost people money in higher prices. He raised spending likely causing increased inflation hurting everyone. He also did just one very minor tax break in the stimulus which amounted to people getting about $10-15 a week back for a period of one year. He barely saved anyone a dime and probably cost everyone a quarter.
Meanwhile, Walmart saves the American consumer an estimated hundred billion dollars a year. Just to put that into perspective, only about half of Americans stopped in a Walmart last year. That is about 150 million people. Those consumers shopping at Walmart get yearly, when divided up, more money in savings than the Barack Obama one year stimulus cash back. They do this from bulk buying, data, organization, putting pressure on companies and it all means Americans, rich and poor, save.
2. They Hire the “Un-hirable”
I grew up in a town where Walmart was a viable employer for a lot of people. A lot of people who were not from the financially best backgrounds found a place they could easily get a job, a stable wage and be financially happy. Barack Obama, as president, ran around communicating problems that upper-middle class 20-somethings had and not problems actual poor people had.
He said he wanted everyone to go to college but that was a fantasy. He talked about tech jobs but at the end of the day the real working population will not be able to participate in them. He talked about sectors where really the poorest of the poor were not going to be able to access.
Walmart is this place in which people of very low income means, people with disabilities and people who are recovering former convicts have always found stable work hours and a welcome invitation to work. Obama voters pretend they want to give, but won’t welcome any of these people as the baristas in their Starbucks.
Examine how much time Walmart puts into data on low income communities to find shopping habits, income trends, growth, and ways in which communities are failing or thriving. Really just about every piece of info that makes a city or town what they are. Compare that to what the government puts into it. Unless there’s a fear someone is a terrorist, the government isn’t going to invest in that type of data. Walmart does, and it makes it so the most people can be serviced, they can get exactly the type of goods they need and it makes things better.
4. Foreign Aid
Simplest point on the topic of foreign aid is Walmart China. Walmart China now with almost a hundred locations has brought lower cost goods, and new goods, to Walmart spreading American culture.
With American foreign policy, it’s a spread of bringing money to corrupt leaders who spend it on themselves over poor people. Walmart is going to areas of the world with very little privilege and working with larger companies to make products catering to them.
A simple example is Tide. Tide, for years in America, has been known as the place to go for washing clothing in a washing machine. Research found early on that in China very few people had washing machines and a large amount of people wouldn’t wash clothing with cleaning fluids. Walmart asked Tide to make a hand wash product and it did something awesome. It brought a cheap product made for the people of china and gave them an innovation which helps with both health and preservation of clothing while giving an American brand business.
This is aid Barack Obama sadly never could do.
5. Safety for Workers
If someone is an employee at a small business and they slip and fall, they’ve likely knocked that small business out and won’t be compensated much. Walmart now is averaging about eight lawsuits from employees every single day. And when people get seriously hurt on the job, they get money. They get compensated fairly in a way smaller businesses could never allow.
This gives hundreds of thousands of employees a new legal zone of worker protections and safety standards to avoid accidents, setup by Walmart to be better than previous counterparts.
6. Disaster Relief
Examine every hurricane or major disaster in the last two decades. Walmart is the company giving out a lot of free food and water while also preparing people better than anyone else.
They do this from having one of the best data centers in the world which factors weather and other events in constantly to properly forecast demand on goods. If they see a heat wave is coming, they’ll have fans, coolers, bags of ice and more set and ready for sale. If they see a hurricane is coming, they’ll have everything from generators to pop tarts in abundance for the consumer.
This is just a level of service and relief government can simply never provide. They also typically bring this to low income communities which never had that type of service before.
7. Access to the Inaccessible
The final point is that Walmart was the company which said people in rural America deserve the same prices and the same goods sold in major cities. Before they came along, a lot of goods simply couldn’t be found in rural America. They have an inventory network to setup allowing for the average store to hold a hundred thousand items and move them to get everyone exactly what they are looking for. This type of access for the poor, this kind of equalizer is just something no president could do in a century of work.
I write this and think back to when I was in 8th grade and wrote a research paper for my English class titled, “Is Walmart Good?”.
My conclusion was yes, they are this company made by a guy named Sam Walton who came from nothing, grew up in nowhere Arkansas and became a man who changed the world by caring about the people that retailers and companies were ignoring. The people a president, be it Barack Obama, Donald Trump or many others, pretend to be all about but ignore once their ass is warm on the chair in the Oval Office.
Sam Walton is a businessman I’ve admired for the majority of my life. Walmart is a company I aspire to take the model of in every venture I try. While I think Barack Obama might have been a solid president for 21st century standards, he’s got nothing on Sam when it comes to addressing poverty.
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