Shirley Leung suggests that we “let the market play itself out” by inviting Walmart into Boston (“It’s time to say yes to Walmart,” Business, Aug. 2). But healthy markets depend on fair competition, which is impossible when corporate chains are permitted to exert political power to extract taxpayer subsidies. In Walmart’s case, these reportedly totaled more than $1 billion dollars when tallied almost a decade ago.
The problem is compounded by the ability of global chains to game the system and avoid paying their fair share of taxes. For example, The Wall Street Journal reported that one of Walmart accountants’ tricks is having the corporation pay rent to its own subsidiaries, thereby avoiding state taxes.
Our local businesses can compete when the competition is fair, but we should not allow Walmart into our neighborhoods while the game is rigged against our own local entrepreneurs.
Sustainable and local prosperity will not come from global corporations taking wealth out of our cities. Rather, it will come by supporting independent businesses that pay livable wages and engage in our communities. Together, we can create better jobs and local wealth that far outweigh Walmart’s illusory savings.