Big corporations cripple America

Jesse O. Walls

While stores like Wal-Mart offer low prices and help stretch the hard earned dollar, they also jeopardize, even cripple, the American economy. Big corporations replace and run out local markets and sellers, offering consumers lower prices and little choice when it comes to where to shop.

The Pay Difference

While Wal-Mart claims it pays its workers an average of $12.67 an hour, many sources say otherwise. Making Change at Wal-Mart, a “campaign challenging Wal-Mart to help rebuild our economy and strengthen working families”, claims the average worker’s salary is much lower, at about $8.81 an hour.

According to the Huffington Post, Wal-Mart CEO, Michael Duke, made $20.7 million in 2012 alone, revealing the huge gap in the CEO-to-worker pay ratio. While Wal-Mart CEOs are rolling in the dough, their employees are barely making enough to get by. Falling just below the poverty line, many Wal-Mart employees are dependent on government programs such as Medicaid and food stamps, in the end costing the taxpayer.

Just one Wal-Mart supercenter, employing an average of 300 workers, could rack up an annual expense of $904,000 for taxpayers, according to CNN Money. That’s a large sum for a corporation that can pay their CEOs millions. Wal-Mart and big corporations like it could start trying to help the economy by paying its workers enough to get out of poverty. Sure in the end it may cost them a little, but do they really deserve millions so the average worker can pick up the slack where they are irresponsible?

Places such as McDonald’s and Taco Bell are no better, the pay difference more than evident. In 2011, then CEO of McDonald’s, Jim Skinner, earned 8.75 million. An employee would have to work more than a century to even dream of earning that much, claims And, like Wal-Mart, many employees of the fast food giant have to resort to federal assistance, such as food stamps, just to get by.


Aside from an enormous pay difference and poor wages, big corporations monopolize, running out small business and costing many people jobs unless they are willing to work for the meager wages they choose for them. In this day and age one would think the days of kings and queens were behind us and yet we choose to allow big corporations to come into our hometowns, run out the small businesses that provided us with food and other needs, so these corporate giants can feast while we work for scraps.

Consider the different departments of just one Wal-Mart supercenter: electronics, grocery, clothes, automotive and so on. If Wal-Mart was not present, how many smaller businesses would this create? And without these corporate giants that can afford to offer products at a lesser price, or take a loss to run out competition, hometown businesses would have to compete. Not just on price, but service and quality, and for the worker, pay and benefits. Consumers would be given a choice and business would thrive.

According to, two grocery stores close for every Wal-Mart supercenter that opens. Considering the number of supercenters that abound throughout our nation, the number of casualties is high. Thousands upon thousands of jobs that have been replaced and those who are lucky enough to get employment with Wal-Mart do so for lower wages and lesser benefits.Another thing to consider is where such corporate giants acquire their goods. While local businesses rely mostly on local products, big corporations import most of their goods from other countries. Wal-Mart, itself, has more than 3,000 factories in China to produce its goods. Whose economy is that helping?

The Solution

In an economy that is failing, it is hard to find a simple fix. Corporate giants continue to get richer and richer while the poor and middle class drift further and further away from bridging that gap.However, though times may be hard, consider buying local produce from farmers markets, get goods at locally owned stores. It may cost a little more, but more will be put into our economy. Quit lining the pockets of millionaires and dare to make a difference. Let America know that we no longer want to live in the shadows of corporate giants and let the world know that America can be proud and self-reliant once again. Change starts with one person and one choice, let’s make a difference.