U.S. Expected to Reach 1960s Poverty Levels

NYAGS Marks Walmart as Primary Facilitator of the Trend

(New York, New York) July 23, 2012 – Yesterday, NPR reported that numerous economists, think-tanks and academics anticipate U.S. Poverty rates will reach new highs this year. The prediction came in anticipation of 2011 Census data set to be released this fall. The New York Association of Grocery Stores (NYAGS), citing recent studies and reports, is labeling Walmart as one of the main facilitators of this expected increase.

The experts surveyed by the Associated Press believe the U.S. poverty level could reach 15.7 percent this year. In 2010, the official poverty rate was roughly 15.1 percent. To clarify the magnitude of such a spike, NPR notes that even a 0.1 percent increase would coincide with 1960s levels.

The release of this data coincides well with recently disseminated information from Economic Policy Institute blogger Josh Bivens. Last week, Mr. Bivens reported that “three years of wealth data from 2007 to 2010 just provides an extreme example of how the economic fortunes of Walmart’s owners have diverged from those of typical American households.” While Walmart was busy raking in substantial profits, the median family wealth fell by a staggering 38.8 percent. In fact, the Walton’s Family wealth aggregated for 2010 was equal to the total wealth of 41.5 percent of all American families. Interest groups blame low employee wages and faulty labor practices for this inverse relationship.While countless studies have emerged in the past concerning Walmart’s labor practices, The National Empowerment Law Project (NELP) published “Chain of Greed” last month, a report which sheds new light on Walmart’s detrimental domestic outsourcing arrangements. According to NELP, Walmart’s domestic supply chain is subject to “pervasive” labor abuses that have the tendency of remaining unnoticed. The combination of Walmart’s low wages and the pressure it puts on its suppliers to lower costs have ultimately hurt hard working Americans, but given the conglomerate’s push for smaller “Neighborhood Markets” and “Express Stores” this economic black hole branches deeper than ever before.

This Tuesday, New York unions and interest groups will hold Day of Action, an event meant to highlight New York’ low wage workers and the troubles they face in today’s New York.

“Tomorrow’s Day of Action will be a time for the people of New York to say enough is enough”, says NYAGS Co-Founder and former prosecutor David Schwartz. “According to the Fiscal Policy Institute’s James Parrott, 18.5 percent of New Yorkers were making less than ten dollars per hour in 2010. From its inception, Walmart’s labor practices have played a crucial role in destroying small business and driving down wages. The expected rise in poverty in conjunction with various reports – including those from the Economic Policy Institute and NELP – show that Walmart is an economic detriment which should be kept out of New York City.”


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