Investment analyst Peter Schiff has received death threats after posting a video online asking Wal-Mart shoppers whether they would pay a surcharge on goods from the company's stores to pay for raises for the company's workers.
Schiff, CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, told "The Steve Malzberg Show on Newsmax TV, "I'm getting death threats. People want me to die a slow and painful death. They want my family dead. I have never received so much evil hateful mail from the left wing. They want to kill me because I don't think Wal-Mart should be forced to pay workers $15 an hour."
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In the video he posted on his Facebook page
, Schiff stands outside a Wal-Mart and asks shoppers as they exit the store if they would pay 15 percent extra on their items so that employees can have their hourly wage increased from around $10 to $15 an hour.
"A lot of people are concerned that Wal-Mart workers are not paid enough," Schiff said. "But what about the Wal-art customers who are there for low prices. That is Wal-Mart's business model, to keep the costs down and pass on the savings to their customers who depend on lower prices.
"The whole idea [of the video] was to demonstrate the fact that it would affect people. So I was just showing what the affect would be. People don't want to pay higher prices, and some of the people who have the lowest wages around are the ones who are shopping at Wal-Mart.
"Meanwhile, the Wal-Mart workers who are being paid $8.50, $9, 10 dollars an hour, they are not underpaid. They are doing low-skilled jobs and that is the market."
Schiff claims that whenever Wal-Mart has a job opportunity it gets 50 applicants for every position. "That is telling you they are not underpaid. If anything, they could probably pay less and hire workers."
He warned that if Wal-Mart gave their workers a pay raise of 50 percent to around $15 an hour it would put the company out of business.
"They have millions of workers, and when you multiply it out you are talking about billions of dollars. You would wipe out most of Wal-Mart's profits. Then there would no reason for Wal-Mart to be in business."
He also said that people wrongly assume that Wal-Mart investors are making a fortune. "Wal-Mart is in business to make a profit for the shareholders, and they don't [actually] make a large profit," he went on.
"The total profit is big, but their return on equity is actually quite low. If you look at the last 12 years, Wal-Mart shareholders are averaging about 3.5 percent per year on their investment. That's not a lot of money.
"And if the profits were wiped out to pay higher wages, they would be losing money. So they would have to close down a lot of their stores, lay people off, raise prices. None of those are going to be good outcomes."
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