Walmart and Obama

Posted: October 22, 2012 by ShortTimer in 2012 Campaign, Barack Obama, Economic freedom, Economics, free markets, Government
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From Washington Times:

The super PAC backing President Obama raised $15 million last month, including $300,000 from Samuel Rawlings Walton, an heir to Wal-Mart, a traditional Republican-leaning organization.

Also contributing $1 million to Priorities USA was filmmaker Steven Spielberg, whose colleague Jeffrey Katzenberg is an Obama bundler and gave $1 million himself. Fred Eychaner, who has raised at least half a million dollars from acquaintances for the Obama campaign, gave $2 million personally to the super PAC.

And Washington Examiner via Drudge:

My favorite detail, though, is this Washington Times report by data hound Luke Rosiak: Wal-Mart Chairman Sam Walton has apparently given big to Obama’s SuperPAC.

This is at first surprising for a couple of reasons. First, the Waltons tend to be Republican. Second, the conventional wisdom is that megacorps like Wal-Mart are a Republican thing.

But Sam Walton gave the maximum $30,800 to the Obama Victory Fund in 2008, and $40,000 to the OVF this election.

Seems surprising, given that Walmart has been socially a bit conservative for decades.  But then you have to remember what Milton Friedman has said about big business; and what Don Rumsfeld said waaay back during Friedman’s Free To Choose series.  Their point was basically that businesses don’t have an ideology beyond profit for owners & shareholders.  In general, wholly unethical businesses will be punished by the market as people will stop buying their products, so the people running them are rarely monsters, but a business sees nothing wrong with buying favoritism from government.  Government is supposed to set up the rules of the game, and businesses, if given the opportunity, will readily bribe the officials running the game in any legal way in order to increase their own standing.  Plus if one business doesn’t, another will.

Policy-wise, there’s plenty of reason for Sam Walton to like Barack Obama:

  1. Wal-Mart endorsed the employer mandate in ObamaCare, which gives Wal-Mart an advantage by crushing smaller competitors.
  2. Wal-Mart has profited from Dodd-Frank, which fixes the price Wal-Mart has to pay banks for processing debit cards.
  3. Wal-Mart has lobbied for and profits from higher minimum wage.
  4. Wal-Mart is a top beneficiary of eminent domain takings, a government power protected by the types of judges Obama appoints.
  5. Big Business generally benefits from Big Government.

Walmart, ultimately, is looking out for its interests.  Obama’s big government sets up barriers to entry to competitors, and favors big businesses that he favors quite a bit.  Putting folks like GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt in positions of power at the White House, while GE is getting favored contracts in wind power subsidies and other politically favored anti-Manbearpig grants and such ultimately establishes barriers to entry, and improves the standing of certain big businesses by giving them power.

Walmart could also just be covering its bases.  No business wants to throw all-in with a loser and end up punished by the administration.  They saying goes “if you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re on the menu”.

Worth looking at is the “Heavy Hitters” list of political donations at Opensecrets.org.  Note ActBlue is a Democrat organization.  Also very much worth looking at are the numbers from a few years ago, showing who gave to Obama/Dems in 2008.

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