Some people are trying to frame the Heights Walmart opposition movement as a socioeconomic and racial us versus them.
I’m not going to defend the motivation of some people who oppose the Walmart, and I think it is always important for everyone to call out racism and classism when they see it.
I would like, however, to focus the debate on the outcome. Walmart openings damage the communities in which they open, and that affects everyone in those communities regardless of their race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.
- Walmart store openings reduce retail employment in a county by 2.7%.(8)
- Walmart’s entry into a metro area eliminates similar jobs that pay about 18% more than Walmart.(9)
- The presence of big box stores, such as Walmart, causes “a substantial reduction in net employment growth at smaller retailers, which is mostly accounted for by an increase in job destruction from store exit.”(10)
- An average of two local supermarkets are forced out of business by every Walmart Supercenter.(10)
You can visit the Stop Heights Walmart page for the citations and access to much more data about Walmart’s truly destructive business practices.
You should also read up on what kind of tax breaks (read: avoiding paying the actual cost of developing this property, instead shifting those costs to us, the taxpayers, who WILL NOT have a chance to share in ANY of Walmart’s profits) Walmart and the developer are lobbying to secure.
Snide comments and assumptions about what sort of people do and do not support the Walmart are flying. I’d hate to see Walmart stir up this nastiness to distract us from the fact that their store will have a negative impact on our community, but I suspect they are doing just that. They have plenty of money to spend on PR firms who can tweet, blog, and facebook their talking points.
Don’t fall for it.