Re: Wal-Mart saying in their financials that they rely on food stamp programs -- surely you've seen an article on this within the last few days? -- that's possibly a misinterpretation.
Look specifically in their 10-K, which you can find here, by selecting the March 21, 2014 10-K. This excerpt is from page 3.
What's fascinating if you read the 10-K where they put in this clause (select "more," below) is that they do the normal "business risks" disclaimer, of which one of them is if the federal government lessens aid. The idea is that this dampens the market for their goods -- it affects the revenues. I'm interpreting this, in this way, because of context:
"[These risks include]... credit availability to consumers and businesses, levels of consumer disposable income, consumer confidence, consumer credit availability, consumer spending patterns, consumer debt levels, consumer preferences, including consumer demand for the merchandise we offer for sale, the timing of consumers' receipt of tax refund checks, changes in the amount of payments made under the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Plan and other public assistance plans, changes in the eligibility requirements of public assistance plans, inflation, deflation, commodity prices, the cost of the goods we sell, competitive pressures..."
Now, that looks to me like a list of things that they expect to affect the top line. They separately list labor costs amidst a clump of operating expenses:
...anticipated store or club closures, labor costs, transportation costs, the cost of diesel fuel, gasoline, natural gas and electricity, the selling prices of fuel, the cost of healthcare and other benefits, accident costs, our casualty and other insurance costs...
So it seems clear to me, it's not only that they directly point out that raising the minimum wage and causing them to bear insurance costs will affect them materially, they also, separately, say that entitlements are economic stimulus.
To me, that's even more flabbergasting than the interpretation that their confessing reliance on federal aid to pay substandard wage.
Entitlements are economically stimulating? That is deeply at odds with the GOP position.
(Continue to read the full "risks" passage)
Our business operations are subject to numerous risks, factors and uncertainties, domestically and internationally, which are outside our control. Any one, or a combination, of these risks, factors and uncertainties could materially affect our financial performance, our results of operations, including our sales, earnings per share or comparable store sales or comparable club sales and effective tax rate for any period, our business operations, business strategy, plans, goals or objectives. These factors include, but are not limited to: general economic conditions, including changes in the economy of the United States or other specific markets in which we operate, economic instability, changes in the monetary policies of the United States, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, other governments or central banks, economic crises and disruptions in the financial markets, including as a result of sovereign debt crises, governmental budget deficits, unemployment and partial employment levels, employment conditions within our markets, credit availability to consumers and businesses, levels of consumer disposable income, consumer confidence, consumer credit availability, consumer spending patterns, consumer debt levels, consumer preferences, including consumer demand for the merchandise we offer for sale, the timing of consumers' receipt of tax refund checks, changes in the amount of payments made under the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Plan and other public assistance plans, changes in the eligibility requirements of public assistance plans, inflation, deflation, commodity prices, the cost of the goods we sell, competitive pressures, the seasonality of our business, seasonal buying patterns in the United States and our other markets, anticipated store or club closures, labor costs, transportation costs, the cost of diesel fuel, gasoline, natural gas and electricity, the selling prices of fuel, the cost of healthcare and other benefits, accident costs, our casualty and other insurance costs, information security costs, the cost of construction materials, availability and the cost of acceptable building sites for new stores, clubs and other units, availability of qualified labor pools in the specific markets in which we operate, including the availability of persons with the skills and abilities necessary to meet Walmart's needs for managing and staffing its new units and conducting their operations, real estate, zoning, land use and other laws, ordinances, legal restrictions and initiatives that may prevent Walmart from building, or that impose limitations on Walmart's ability to build, new units in certain locations or relocate or expand existing units, availability of necessary utilities for new units, availability of skilled labor and labor, material and other construction costs in areas in which new or relocated units are proposed to be constructed or existing units are proposed to be expanded or remodeled, competitive pressures and the initiatives of our competitors, accident-related costs, weather conditions patterns and events, climate change, catastrophic events and natural disasters, as well as storm
and other damage to our stores, clubs, distribution centers and other facilities and store closings and other limitations on our customers' access to our stores and clubs resulting from such events and disasters, disruption in the availability of our online shopping sites on the internet, cyberattacks on our information systems, disruption in our supply chain, including availability and transport of goods from domestic and foreign suppliers, trade restrictions, changes in tariff and freight rates, adoption of or changes in tax, labor and other laws and regulations that affect our business, including changes in corporate and personal tax rates and the imposition of new taxes and surcharges, costs of compliance with laws and regulations, the mix of our earnings from our United States and foreign operations, changes in our assessment of certain tax contingencies, increases or decreases in valuation allowances, outcome of
administrative audits, the impact of discrete items on our effective tax rate, the resolution of other tax matters, developments in and the outcome of legal and regulatory proceedings to which we are a party or are subject and the expenses associated therewith, the requirements for expenditures in connection with the FCPA-related matters, including enhancements to Walmart's compliance program and ongoing investigations; changes in the rating of any of our indebtedness; currency exchange rate fluctuations and volatility, fluctuations in market rates of interest, and other conditions and events affecting domestic and global financial and capital markets, public health emergencies, economic and geo-political conditions and events, including civil unrest and disturbances and terrorist attacks, unanticipated changes in generally accepted accounting principles or in the interpretations or applicability thereof, unanticipated changes in accounting estimates and judgments, and unanticipated restructurings and the related expenses. Moreover, we typically earn a disproportionate part of our annual operating income in the fourth quarter as a result of the seasonal buying patterns. Those buying patterns are difficult to forecast with certainty and can be affected by many factors. The accuracy of the forecast of the range of our effective tax rate for any year can be affected by other factors, including changes in assessments of certain tax contingencies, increases or decreases in valuation allowances, outcome of administrative audits, the impact of discrete items and the mix of earnings among the Company's United States and international operations.