The Walmart 1 Percent in South Carolina




The Walmart 1 Percent’s Influence in South Carolina Politics

The Walton family in politics

The Waltons contributed $13,000 to candidates for Congress from South Carolina between the 1990 election cycle and 2010. All of it went to Republicans.[1]

Walmart in politics

The Walmart PAC spent $133,750 on Congressional candidates from the state over the same time period, with three-quarters of it going to Republicans. At the state level, Walmart spent $131,750 on South Carolina politics, with 82% of that going to Republican candidates or party committees.[2]



Walmart’s Impact on South Carolina’s Employment Picture

Impact of Walmart stores on retail and other jobs

Based on data available through Walmart’s website, there were 27,004 Walmart associates in South Carolina as of January 31, 2012.

According to a 2006 study, for every retail job created at Walmart, communities lose 1.4 retail jobs.[3] Based on the findings of this study, we estimate that, if Walmart had no stores in South Carolina, there would be an additional 10,802 retail jobs in the state.

Impact of Walmart’s China sourcing on jobs

Based on an estimate of Walmart’s share of the U.S.-China trade deficit, we can estimate that South Carolina lost an estimated 3,571 jobs as a result of Walmart’s practice of sourcing heavily from China.[4]



Walmart’s Cost to South Carolina Taxpayers

Taxpayer subsidies for Walmart

Walmart is the world’s biggest company.[5] But despite its colossal financial resources—the company brought in $444 billion in revenue last year[6]—it’s habitually dipped into public coffers to finance its expansion into almost every corner of the United States.[7] In the absence of centralized information or databases on economic subsidies, Good Jobs First, an economic policy and research non-profit, has done extensive research to document the subsidies Walmart has received, and has published the data on Walmart Subsidy Watch. Here’s what GJF uncovered in South Carolina.

Taxpayer healthcare costs

Tens of thousands of Walmart associates and their families qualify for Medicaid and other publicly subsidized care. Indeed, according to data compiled by Good Jobs First, in 22 of 24 states which have disclosed information, Walmart has the largest number of employees or dependents on the public rolls of any employer.[8] South Carolina has not disclosed data.



More Walmart stores coming to South Carolina

Here’s a list of Walmart stores planned or rumored to be opening in South Carolina:[9]

  • Columbia: Site of Capital City Stadium on Assembly
  • Lake City: Supercenter, 275 W. Main St.
  • Pickens: Neighborhood Market, Hwy. 8 at Roberts Dr.
  • Powdersville: Supercenter, SC-81 and McNeely Rd.


[3] The Effects of Wal-Mart on Local Labor Markets. December, 2006. David Neumark, Junfu Zhang, Stephen Ciccarella.

[4] These numbers are estimates.   To arrive at these estimates, we used the report by the Economic Policy Institute that estimated U.S. jobs lost to China by state from 2001-2008. We then multiplied that number by 9.3%, which is the proportion of the overall U.S.-China trade deficit that EPI estimated to be tied to Walmart. We arrived at that number from this study.

[5] As measured by revenue; “Fortune Global 500 2011: The World’s Biggest Companies – Wal-Mart Stores,”

[6] “Walmart reports Q4 EPS from continuing operations of $1.51; Walmart U.S. delivers positive traffic and positive comp sales in Q4,” press release dated February 21, 2012,

[7] “Shopping for Subsidies: How Wal-Mart Uses Taxpayer Money to Finance Its Never-Ending Growth,” by Philip Mattera and Anna Purinton, Good Jobs First, May 2004.

[8] “Disclosures of Employers Whose Workers and Their Dependents are Using State Health Insurance Programs,” Good Jobs First report, version dated January 18, 2012.

[9] Information on planned or rumored stores collected by Making Change at Walmart.