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May 13, 2007

Michelle Obama and Wal-Mart

As ever the American presidential system means that everyones' pasts are raked over in the minutest detail. The latest little piece is that Michelle Obama sits on hte board of a company which supplies Wal-Mart. As we know, various Democrats hate Wal-Mart for the way it has been one of the largest poverty reducers in the country in recent decades (for reducing poverty can only morally be done by the State you see) made fortunes without allowing unionisation and so on.

So, of course, this is now something that Barack Obama's opponents in the primaries can use against him. Well, that's just the way the system goes.

However, the story might not be quite so simple.  One of the tropes is that Wal-Mart succeeds by driving down the profits of its suppliers, thus exporting its low wage practices across the economy:

According to Treehouse's financial filings, Wal-Mart accounted for 16.1 per cent of its sales last year, up from 11.7 per cent in 2005 (a 37 per cent increase), comfortably making it the company's biggest customer. Treehouse's annual operating profits rose from $28 million two years ago to $84 million (up 200 per cent) in 2006.

Oh, that doesn't seem to be true either. What a pity.

May 13, 2007 in Politics | Permalink


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Let no-one suggest that she's on the board because of who her husband is.

Tim adds: To be honest, given her full day time job, she seems to have a rather better CV and career than he does.

Posted by: dearieme | May 13, 2007 12:30:45 PM

Not to mention that he's only been a senator for a couple of years anyway. Long enough to peddle influence, but not long enough for anyone around him to make a career out of it.

Posted by: Marcin Tustin | May 14, 2007 3:52:17 PM