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WALMART: American to Global Capitalist – Timeline, Part I

Made in the USA… it matters to me… Ask for the made in the USA label, because it matters to all of us.”  These were the core words from a 1986 Walmart commercial; in which the 30 second advertisement featured seven top entertainers (including Bob Hope, Don Johnson and the original Wonder Woman – Lynda Carter) saying ‘made in the USA matters.’  Walmart’s ‘Buy America’ campaign ran from 1985 to 1992, when NBC’s Dateline exposed that many of the proclaimed ‘Made in America’ products were imported from Bangladesh and often made by child laborers.  But good advertisements bring the faithful; Walmart learned that from Bonneville Communications (LDS-owned) years earlier from the Mormon’s award-winning advertisement Homefront series that began in the 1970s and reshaped the image of their Church industry.

This article will expose how Walmart enchanted politicians, banks and the business world all the way to join the top list of global elites.  This will be done in two parts, with this Part I looking at Background History and the Timeline; and Part II examining The Causalities and How Walmart was made.  Much of what is in this work will come from Walmart.com (Sam Walton, Timeline, etc.).   This article is part of the Exposing the Sorcerers series by TheTruthSource.org.

Background History

Walmart.com (2017) says, “Walmart as we know it today evolved from Sam Walton’s goals for great value and great customer service…  Sam… when his military service ended in 1945… moved (from Oklahoma) to Iowa… then to Arkansas.  …In 1950, the Walton’s (moved to) …Bentonville, where Sam opened Walton’s 5&10… Inspired by the early success of his dime store… Sam opened the first Walmart in 1962 at the age of 44 in Rogers, Arkansas…  The company went public in 1970, and the proceeds financed a steady expansion of the business… Sam Walton died in 1992.”

On Forbes 1987 original list of International Billionaires, behind many Japanese and others was first in America – Sam Moore Walton with $ 8.5 billion (4 x that of Warren Buffett).  On Fortune’s 1988 Billionaires list, Sam M. Walton (age 70) and family was number six (6) with $ 7.4 billion.  The Walton’s, not to be confused with The Waltons (award winning TV Series 1971 – 1981), divided up the money after Sam’s death and as separate individuals dropped on the list.  Forbes World’s Billionaires, in the 30th anniversary 2017 list of 2,043 billionaires ($ 7.7 trillion), has Bill Gates (Mircosoft) at number one, followed by Warren Buffett; yet it also reveals that if you add up numbers 15, 16, 17, 116, 288 [the Walton children: Samuel, Jim and Alice; Lukas (only child of John Walton and Christy), and Christy] you get $118.6 billion which would surpass Microsoft’s Gates (86b) + Ballmer (30b) or Google’s Page + Brin; and all others.  In 2006, five Walton’s (Christy – widow of John, whose assets were incorrectly reported by Forbes; Jim, Samuel, Alice and Helen) were on the list with about 15.8 billion each ($ 79 billion); but in 2007 Sam’s wife, and by 2016 Forbes got Christy and Lukas’ assets all sorted out.

TIMELINE of Walmart and important facts

1918: End of War World I, to pay back debt the top tax rate was 77% over $1 million.

1932-1935: Top tax bracket in the United States was 53% on amount above $1 million.

1936-1940: Before World War II began the top tax bracket in the US was 79% on amounts over $5 million.

1941-1945: During WWII the top rate began at 81%, and then went to 88% on amounts over $200,000; and then in 1944 and 1945 was 94% on $200,000 and above.

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1946-1954: After the War the National Debt (which was less than $3 billion before WWI and the creation of the Federal Reserve, was $27.3 billion in 1919 after WWI, held to $39 billion before Germany invaded Poland in 1938; and then hit $269 billion by 1946 the year after WWII ended) was over a quarter-trillion dollars and Congress did not want that on future generations so the world’s richest in America pay 91% taxes on amounts over $200,000.  In 1952 and 1953, it was set at 92% on amounts over $200,000.  There were almost no international corporations at that time.

1940s: At the University of Missouri, Sam Walton was in several organizations, including president of the Burall Bible Class; and class president at the school.  About 1941 he was a trainee at J.C. Penney; he resigned in 1942 and worked at a DuPont munitions plant until he joined the U.S. Army Intelligence Corp, doing security at aircraft plants and prison camps in Utah (U.S.).  After the war, with a loan from his father-in-law, he brought a Ben Franklin franchise in Arkansas.  Sam learn to get discounts from suppliers, but unlike most of his competition, he passed most of the savings to his customers, cutting in on the competition – something he would never forget.  It was said that even in the 1980s he would not tip his local barber; and even charged employees for a cup of coffee.  Many Walmart employees made money in profit sharing, but the vast majority would rough it through life at part-time.

1955-1963: Top tax bracket in the US was 91% on amounts over $400,000 (filing Jointly).  The National Debt was held to $306 billion in 1963.   America went from 0 billionaires in 1957 (or less than 20 in terms of 2017 dollars) to over 540 in the US alone (2017).

July 2, 1962:  Sam Walton opened the first Walmart store in Rogers, Ark.

1964: Top tax bracket 77% over $400,000 – Married filing jointly; National Debt about $312 billion.

1967: The Walton family owned 24 stores, with $12.7 million in sales.

1969: They officially incorporated as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

1970: Walmart became a publicly traded company at $ 16.50 per share; 38 stores.

1972: Walmart was listed on the N.Y. Stock Exchange (WMT); now 51 stores and $78 million in sales.

1965-1978: Top tax bracket was 70% on amounts over $200,000 (Jointly); the National Debt was over $770 billion in 1978.  By 1977, Walmart was in 10 states.

1979: The Walmart Foundation was established.  (1979-1981 – Taxes 70% over $215,000)

1983: The first Sam’s Club opened.

1985:  Forbes 400 Richest Americans list Walton as #1 with $2.8 billion.

1987: 25th anniversary, Walmart had 1,198 stores with almost $16 billion in sales.

1986:  Under the pressure of shareholders and his wife, Helen, to appoint a women to the Board of Directors, Sam choose a lawyer married to the governor of Arkansas – Hillary R. Clinton.  Hillary served on the board six years until 1992; during which time she did not push for HEALTHCARE benefits or Retirement benefits for their tens of thousands of intentionally PART-TIME workers (HRC was also on Tyson – chicken – of Arkansas BOD; and one of the Tyson’s slept at the White House after Bill Clinton was elected president).

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1981-1989: Ronald Reagan was President during a time of little or no wars.  The top tax brackets were reduced to 50% over $85,600 (Married filing Jointly) in 1982 to 38.5% on amounts over $90,000 in 1987; and 28% on amounts over $29,750 in 1988 and amounts over $30,950 in 1989.  Hundreds became billionaires and tens of thousands super rich as the National Debt increased from $908 billion in 1980 to $2.6 TRILLION at the end of 1988.   The National Debt rose 187% during his terms.

1985 to 1992: Walmart’s ‘Buy America’ campaign ran until they were exposed for lying about where the cloths and certain products were actually made – in Bangladesh or other countries.   In 2006, the National Labor Committee reported that “an estimated 200 to 300 children, some 11 years old or even younger” were “sewing clothing for Hanes, Wal-Mart, J. C. Penny,  and Puma at the Harvest Rich factory in Bangladesh.  The report stated children were often “forced to work 12 to 14 hours a day, even some all-night, 19-20 hour shifts, often seven days a week, for wages as low as 6 ½ cents an hour.”  The report stated workers had said that at 36 cents an hour, they could climb out of extreme poverty.  Often workers did 100 hour weeks to meet deadlines and quotas.  Most of them said they could not even afford a Wal-Mart toothbrush.

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1990:  Wal-Mart became the number one retailer in the United States with about $26 billion in annual sales.  They brought out some competition as was their practice; and sold McLane Co. to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway later in 2003.

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1991: Sam’s Club opened in Mexico City, making Walmart a Global entity.  Top tax bracket – 31% on amounts over $82,150.  G.H.W. Bush president 1989-1993; national debt in 1992 went over $4 trillion; up 56% during his term.

1993: Walmart hit its first $1 billion sales WEEK and employed over 370,000 people in over 1,930 stores.

1993-2001:  William ‘Bill’ Clinton was president. The top tax bracket was 39.6% on amounts over $250,000 in 1993 and remain that percent until 39.1% on 297,351 and over in 2001.   The National Debt went from $4.1 trillion to over $5.6 at the end of 2000; up almost 40%.

1994:  The National Advertising Review Board caused Walmart to change from “Always the low price. Always;” to “Always Low Prices…”

1995: Walmart was in all 50 states and had 1,995 Walmart stores, 239 Supercenters, 433 Sam’s Clubs and 276 international stores which totaled $93.6 billion in sales and employed about 675,000 people.  An Iowa State University study reveals that 5 years after a Walmart opens, nearby ‘small-town’ stores undergo about a 25% decline in sales; and that “smaller towns suffer the brunt of the discount mass merchandisers.”

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1996:  Walmart opened in China.  That year the Kathy Lee Gifford clothing line was not ‘made in America,’ but in Honduras, by many as young as 12 and 13 and being paid less than 10 cents an hour.   During the Child Labor Scandal, children were interviewed; several saying and one 11 year-old girl, “Yesterday, I was beaten… I left some threads… the supervisor …slapped me and instructed me to do better.”  Or the 13 year-old who said, “I was also beaten… last Wednesday.  120 pieces (an hour) was the target.  I made 100 pieces…”  She was paid less than $14 a month; even though by Bangladeshi Law she was not at a legal hiring age and children 14 to 17 are not to work more than 30 hours a week:  http://www.globallabourrights.org/admin/reports/files/200610-IGLHR-Child-Labor-Is-Back.pdf

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1997:  Walmart celebrated its first $100 billion sales year.

1998: The first Neighborhood Market opened.  That year Walmart brought Britain’s ASDA and entered the UK.

1999: Walmart had about 1.14 million employees and became the largest private employer in the world.  The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union try the organize Wal-Mart’s workers, but lost the opportunity after Walmart sued them.  The case was overturned by the Arkansas Supreme Court in 2002.

2000: Walmart.com was founded.

2000: A case filed in Indiana charged that Wal-Mart did not pay workers for overtime and off-the-clock wages they had earned.  In April 2003, the case became the first such suit to be designated as class action.  Workers testified to the method Walmart used; in that the Employee would clock out, and then have to report to the Manager that they were leaving; then the manager would tell them their station or job was not in order or complete and needed to be done before they left.  Employees would often work ten to twenty (20) extra minutes, some an extra hour per week and some 30 or 40 extra hours a year – thus Walmart getting a free week from them x 10,000s+ employees.

2000-2009: The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found numerous cases where Wal-Mart violated labor laws between their employees and unions.  The penalties total about $36 million in fines, which amount Wal-Mart makes in about an hour.

2001:  A class-action sued against Walmart alleging discrimination against women was squashed by the Supreme Court was found in part ‘the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable (Fed. Rule of Civil Procedure 23).”  The case took 10 years to get to the Supreme Court – see 2011.

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2001-2008: George W. Bush was president. In 2002, the top rate was 38.6% on amounts over $307,050 (Jointly) and was reduced to 35% in 2003.  The National Debt went from about $ 5.8 Trillion to over $10.6 TRILLION during his administration – a 77% increase.

2002:  Walmart reached the top of the Fortune 500 American companies.  Also, the day after Thanksgiving – “Black Friday;” Wal-Mart enjoyed its biggest sales day in history — $1.43 billion.

2002 – A federal jury found that Wal-Mart forced Oregon employees to work unpaid overtime between 1994 and 1999.  Scores of more such lawsuits to come to trial in the United States in Colorado, Texas and numerous states and countries as thousands of employees claimed managers got them to work off the clock by asking them to clean up the store after they had clocked out and by deleting hours from time records.

2004 – On July 6, Wal-Mart’s lawyers appealed a ruling that granted class action status to a sex-discrimination lawsuit against the retailer that was filed in 2001. The class could include up to 1.6 million current and former female employees of the retailer — making it the largest private civil rights case in U.S. history.

2005: An email from an executive at Wal-Mart de Mexico revealed that officials in every Mexican state that had a Walmart received bribes totaling over $24 million.  The New York Times on April 22, 2012 at NYTimes.com ran the article, “Wal-Mart Abroad: How a retail giant fueled growth with bribes, Vast Mexico Bribery Case Hushed Up by Wal-Mart…”

June and July 2006: Sara Lee Underwear (N.C.; USA) received $111,495 shipment from Harvest Rich Ltd.; and U.S. Customs documents Wal-Mart shipment from Harvest Rich Ltd. of Bangladesh for “men’s 100% cotton woven pants” worth $421,174.  European labels were sewn into the label.  The factory according to The National Labor Committee had “approximately 2,500 workers” who received about $25,000 in one week for over a quarter of million dollar worth of retail and stocker holders profits – everyone say yeah for profit low-taxed Capitalism – wonder what bible lessons the Walton’s taught on Galatians 6:2:“Carry each other’s burdens and fulfill the law of Christ.”  Or on “what does it profit a man if he gains the whole (retail) world, and loses his own soul (Matt. 16:26; Mark 8:36)?”

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2007: The Environmental Investigation Agency reported that China produced 84% of Walmart’s wood products and that a significant portion came from illegal logging.

2009:  Walmart acquired the majority of D&S South America and entered Chile.  This same year, a Chinese Labor Watch group found that Walmart suppliers often lied in their audits.

2009-2017: Barack H. Obama II was president. The top tax bracket was still at 35% on amounts over $372,950 and remaining 35% until 2012; then in 2013 increased slightly back to previous 39.6% on amounts over $450,000.  The National Debt increased about 94% during his administration; from about $10.6 trillion to $19.9 trillion when he left – nearly doubling all the previous administrations (1/2017: $80,000 per household).

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2010: Bharti Walmart, a joint venture, opened its first store in India.  Walmart committed $2 billion through the end of 2015 to help end hunger in the United States.

2010:  Wal-Mart paid $27.6 million in fines for illegally dumping hazardous (pesticides, chemicals, paint, acid, aerosols, fertilizer and motor oil) waste in 42 California counties. The settlement included $20 million for prosecutors in 20 jurisdictions and 32 environmental health agencies throughout the state; $1.6 million in costs for the investigation; $3 million to a fund for other environmental investigations; and $3 million toward keeping stores in compliance.

2011: Walmart acquired MassMart of South Africa; and reached 10,000 retail units around the world.

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2011: The largest class-action case against a private employer was heard by the Supreme Court of the United States.  In Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes et al, the Court wrote, “Wal-Mart is the Nation’s largest private employer.  It operates four types of retail stores throughout the country… approximately 3,400 stores and employs more than one million people… The named plaintiffs in this lawsuit, representing the 1.5 million members of the certified class, are three current or former Wal-Mart employees who allege that the company discriminated against them on the basis of their sex by denying them equal pay or promotions, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964  they claim that their local managers’ discretion over pay and promotions is exercised disproportionately in favor of men, leading to an unlawful disparate impact on female employees, see 42 U. S. C. §2000e–2(k).

Under the discovery process it was found in 2002 that more than 2/3rds of Wal-Mart’s one million hourly employees are women, but less than 1/3 of them held management jobs and only 15% were store managers.  Moreover, females in equal positions were often paid less than males by an average of $1.16 per hour.  April 2010, nearly a decade after the suit was filed; the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that females of Wal-Mart had the right to a massive class action lawsuit on the basis of sexual discrimination.  June 2011, in a 5 to 4 decision the U.S. Supreme Court threw out the case because the ‘discriminatory policy did not affect all of them;’ but the women had to right to individually sue Wal-Mart or class up by States, if they had the resources to bear it and find lawyers to represent them.

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2011:  Walmart and Merrill Lynch agree to pay $13.5 million in a settlement to nearly 2 million Walmart workers for ‘breach of fiduciary duty.’  The long time coming class-action settlement originally filed in 2008 – made happy some lawyers who split about $4 million of the 13.5; and Merrill Lynch got ‘fees’ and kickbacks; but the average worker got less than $10 value and Zero up front – they get reduced future fees in their 401(k), except for the plaintiff puppet J. Braden who got $20,000 so his lawyers could get justice – just-rich.

November 2012: In the first worker’s strike in Walmart’s 50-year history, Wal-Mart workers threatened to walk of the job on Black Friday due to low wages and treatment.

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2012:  Wal-Mart had 357 stores and 30,000 factories with about 96,800 workers in China.  It is estimated that 70% of their products are made in China – so much for the made in the USA campaign, but it did get results.

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April-June 2013: April the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapse due to bad construction and lack of safety concerns.  It was a location which also used child laborers to produce product sold by Walmart.  Then in May the Tung Hai Sweater factory in Bangladesh caught on fire without a proper sprinkler system and sources as a CBSNews.com reported that “the fire engulfed the lower floors of the 11-story factory, which had closed for the day.  The smoldering acrylic products produced immense amounts of smoke and poison gas and the victims suffocated as they ran down the stairs.”  The report continue to say, “the death toll from the garment factory that collapsed …near the Bangladeshi capital soared past 1,000… with no end in sight to the stream of bodies being pulled from the wreckage of the worst-ever garment industry disaster…”  In June, inspections reveal that the new factory building did not have safety systems in place.

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(child laborers in Bangladesh)

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November 2013: According to the National Labor Relations Board, its Office of General Counsel “investigated charges alleging that Walmart violated the rights of its employees as a result of activities surrounding employee protests.   The Office of the General Counsel …found merit in some of the charges…  Walmart unlawfully threatened employees with reprisal if they engaged in strikes and protests on November 22, 2012…”

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2013: Walmart acquired Bharti Walmart Private Limited of India, including the Best Price Modern Wholesale.

2014: Walmart acquired a stake in Green Dot Bank, which according to its website has “facilities throughout the United States and Shanghai, China.  Green Dot issues prepaid debit cards for a fee.   GoBank will offer checking accounts with a MONTHLY SERVICE COST of $8.95’ for balances under $500.   By 2014, Walmart employed over 2.2 million ‘associates worldwide;’ and had more than 200 million customers a week in its 11,000+ stores in 27 countries.

2015: Walmart acquired 100% of Yihaodian e-commerce of China; it had owned about 51% since 2012.

2015:   Walmart pledged to hire 100,000 American veterans over a 5 year period; as well as invest over $2.5 billion over 2 years in the U.S. workforce and raise its minimum wage to $9 an hour.  It also committed to buying American, purchasing over $20 billion a year over the next 10 years – we will see.  Rob Walton retired as Chairman of the Board of Directors.

2016: Walmart’s 2016 Annual Report revealed that Walmart had the 3rd most-visited U.S. retail website and that its global e-commerce sales increased 107% over the past 4 years.  It also showed it has 2.3 million associates worldwide at more than 11,500 retail locations; made $482 billion in Total Revenue and had 16 websites in 11 countries.  It listed Jim Walton as Chairman of the BOD and CEO of Arvest Bank Group in southcentral U.S.  and Rob retired but still on 3 committees.  In the last 5 years it returned $55 billion to shareholders but is still involved in lawsuits for not paying its workers for hours worked.  And its workers are still among the lowest paid in the retail industry or food industry.  Yet it listed its ‘Gross profit margin’ at 24.6% and Return on Investment of 15.5% (16.9% in 2015).  It is in 28 countries and is the largest corporation in the world with $ 199.6 billion in assets and $90 billion in Retained earnings.  In the past Walmart did 11 stock splits to drive shares and share prices up; but now it is in the process of buying back $17.5 billion in ‘share repurchases;’ of which the Walton family owns about 50%, and it is to be put is trust to give away about 6% of their outstanding shares, following the Gates Foundation and Warren Buffett’s pledge.  Time will tell. https://s2.q4cdn.com/056532643/files/doc_financials/2016/annual/2016-Annual-Report-PDF.pdf

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