Robert Reich Trashes White House 'Numbskull' For Walmart Event

By:  Alexander C. Kaufman

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich trashed the White House on Thursday for using Walmart, an enemy of unions and fair-pay advocates, as a poster company for a new climate-change campaign.

Reich, who served under President Bill Clinton, called Walmart one of the country’s “worst employers,” with “low wages, unreliable hours, few benefits, discrimination against women and anti-union” offenses.

“What numbskull in the White House arranged this?” wrote Reich, now a professor at the University of California at Berkeley. "This" referred specifically to President Barack Obama's plan to visit a Walmart store in Mountain View, California, to tout the company's efforts at increasing energy efficiency.

And despite Walmart’s heavily-marketed efficiency push, the company has a growing carbon footprint and has been accused of “greenwashing” its image to seem more environmentally conscious than it is.

“Its greenhouse emissions grew 2 percent last year to nearly half a million metric tons, and it lags badly behind other large companies on renewable power,” Reich wrote.

Since 2005, when Walmart began its efficiency drive, its greenhouse-gas emissions have risen 14 percent, according to a November 2013 report from the nonprofit Institute for Local Self-Reliance.

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