Walmart’s President and CEO Bill Simon wrote in an op-ed for Yahoo Finance that U.S. military veterans are having trouble finding work when they return home, and that his company would be happy to help them find jobs at Walmart.
“As more than one million service members prepare to transition out of the military over the next five years, their number one concern is jobs,” Simon wrote on Tuesday. “The unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans alone is unacceptably high. The time to hire veterans is now.”
While Simon’s initiative calling on American companies to help veterans is honorable, his op-ed is a tacit admission that there is no labor shortage in America, particularly with so many veterans seeking work. Veterans are hardly the only Americans unemployed or underemployed right now, and Simon’s statements are a direct contradiction of the claims of many corporate executives–including those at this own company–that there is a need in the business community to import or legalize upwards of 44 million foreigners over the next decade, something the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” immigration bill would do.
“Many companies have recognized [the fact that Americans, particularly veterans, need jobs], with Starbucks most recently announcing their commitment to hire 10,000 veterans over the next five years,” Simon wrote. “If you do business in America and need to build your team, we hope you’ll consider veterans.” He went on to describe the efforts and successes his company has made in this area.
Despite Simon’s acknowledgment on the pages of Yahoo Finance that veterans need jobs, his corporate executives support the Senate immigration bill. Walmart’s spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan provided Breitbart News with aJune 27 statement from Ivan Zapien, Walmart’s vice president of Federal Government Relations, in which he praised the Gang of Eight bill as good for the economy, and called on the House to pass something similar.
We applaud the action taken by the Senate in passing this landmark legislation and believe comprehensive immigration reform will have a positive impact on the economy and the customers we serve. As the nation’s largest employer and a retailer that offers products and services to 140 million customers each week, we are committed to working with all interested parties – policy makers, employers, and consumers – to support this reform that is so desperately needed to our immigration system. We now encourage members of the House to continue the momentum so we can make comprehensive immigration reform a reality.
Buchanan has not responded to a further request for comment on whether Walmart still supports the Senate bill in light of its CEO’s new acknowledgments regarding American workers.
Just this week, several House Republicans, fighting against Congressmen like Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), have stepped up to publicly challenge the Wall Street notion that somehow amnesty would be economically beneficial to the nation. In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) said that Republicans should flip this debate on its head, targeting pro-amnesty Democrats by pointing out that they have abandoned American workers. According to him, the Democrats are “speaking out of both sides of their mouths,” and should be called out for it:
The Democrats count on getting low-income voters via emotional messages such as racism, sexism, class warfare, or wealth transfer programs and the like. All the Democrat arguments are emotional-based. What Republicans have to hope for is that these low-income workers will use their brains and think about which policies will in fact enhance their quality of life and family incomes. It doesn’t take much thought to very quickly conclude that if you legalize or import 44 million new workers, there is only one class of citizens that is hammered and that’s the blue collar workers.
In a Tuesday report, the Washington Free Beacon uncovered multiple studies showing that comprehensive immigration reform would hurt American workers, and it quoted Reps. Walter Jones (R-NC) and Lou Barletta (R-PA) as saying the same thing.
“Granting amnesty to untold millions of illegal immigrants will flood our job markets and reduce wages and employment for those hard-working immigrants and lower-income workers who have followed our laws,” Barletta said.
Jones’s spokeswoman Sarah Howard underscored the unfairness of surrendering American jobs to illegal immigrants, adding that “amnesty would allow individuals who have cheated the system and entered the country illegally to take jobs that could otherwise be filled by lawful citizens.”
The Free Beacon cited studies from the Economic Policy Institute and the Center for Immigration Studies, and authorities like U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner Peter Kirsanow and Harvard economist George Borjas, to argue that “adding millions more to the labor force would harm working class Americans by taking away jobs and lowering wages.” The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) agrees.
Even renowned economist Thomas Sowell has ripped Ryan for his specious argument that a massive increase in imported labor would help the country. “That’s incredible,” Sowell said in response to Ryan’s having appeared on The Laura Ingraham Show to make that argument last summer. “I mean–first of all to an economist, it is incredible to speak about shortages without talking about prices, in this case wages…You know there, there have been so many predictions of shortages of so many occupations and the shortages don’t materialize. And why not? Because if there is a shortage, the wage rate goes up. That attracts in more people and lo and behold, the jobs are filled.”
UPDATE: After publication, Walmart spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan emailed Breitbart News with the following statement:
We are proud to offer job opportunity to American’s across the country and the ability to move up the ladder – at Walmart you can go as far as your hard work and talents can take you. We do not believe there is a shortage in labor. We are proud of our veterans hiring commitment we launched on Memorial Day this year, and so far we’ve hired more than 20,000 veterans. Other initiative we are proud of is our commitment to domestic manufacturing, and earlier this year we announced that we would purchase an additional $50 billion in U.S.-made products over the next 10 years. At the same time, and a very separate issue, the immigration system is broken and Walmart supports reform for many reasons. We recognize the contributions immigrants make to the continued growth of our country and the urgent need to create a system in which everyone plays by the same, fair rules. As the nation’s largest employer and a retailer serving two-thirds of the country every month, we see firsthand this issue’s impact on the communities we serve, as well as the strain it puts on businesses.