Today, perhaps taking a leaf out of President Obama's own campaign book, Wal-Mart spokesman Steve Restivo put out an e-mail with a two word subject line: "Jason Furman." As in, Obama's newly appointed head of the Council of Economic Advisors, and the author of a 2005 study lauding Wal-Mart as a "progressive success story" with an overall positive economic impact. As Ezra outlined earlier this year, Furman thinks whatever public good lost by Wal-Mart's low wages should be made up through tax credits or universal health care (and indeed, in his paper Furman criticized the company for failing to support health reform and a higher minimum wage).
Furman hasn't responded to an e-mail query on how he feels about being used as Wal-Mart's biggest talking point. But Wal-Mart's progressive opponents can't be happy.
Oh, and Thursday brings another Wal-Mart-Obama convergence: It's hosting a "U.S. Manufacturing Summit" in Orlando with 1,500 "government officials, suppliers and retailers to discuss economic growth in the U.S." Among them will be eight state governors, along with Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker.