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Walmart CEO: 'The country needs to come together and solve problems'

Brian Sozzi
·Editor-at-Large
·3 min read

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon is calling for unity and a commonsense approach to business in the country as we barrel through another contentious presidential election season.

“I think the country needs to come together and solve problems. Regardless of the administration or who is in Congress, when you look at the outcomes of what has been happening there are opportunities for us to invest in infrastructure, to create more equity, to invest in new technologies, to create jobs of the future,” McMillon said at the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit. “That transition to a digital age, to a forward-looking country needs to happen. We want to create opportunity for people. Americans need jobs.”

McMillon — who chairs the influential Business Roundtable — is among the CEOs who have stepped up big-time throughout the pandemic and periods of social unrest.

For starters, Walmart (WMT) handed out a raise to 165,000 U.S. workers earlier this month. It brought the starting minimum wage for hourly workers to $15 an hour. In addition, Walmart said it would invest in cross-training opportunities for workers to improve their skillsets. The effort comes on the heels of a June initiative to expand access to low cost college for employees with a focus on tech degrees. That same month, Walmart said it would set aside $100 million to fund a new center on racial equity.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MAY 19: A worker collects shopping carts at a Walmart store on May 19, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. Walmart reported a 74% increase in U.S. online sales for the quarter that ended April 30, and a 10% increase in same store sales for the same period as the effects of the coronavirus helped to boost sales. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MAY 19: A worker collects shopping carts at a Walmart store on May 19, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. Walmart reported a 74% increase in U.S. online sales for the quarter that ended April 30, and a 10% increase in same store sales for the same period as the effects of the coronavirus helped to boost sales. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The company has also made a play to acquire a 7.5% stake in TikTok with tech giant Oracle, which the Trump administration believes will create 25,000 jobs over time.

While Walmart and others in business step-up to lift the country up, the government continues to drop the ball. There is no stimulus bill, and it’s unclear if and when another one will be signed. Among the two people running for leader of the free world, only former vice president Biden has articulated his plan to jumpstart the economy post pandemic.

Biden’s “Build Back Better” economic revival plan is in line with many traditional Democratic efforts around expanded social safety nets and infrastructure investments. The plan devotes about $400 billion to expanding clean vehicle technology, steel production and other building materials. He is also eyeing $300 billion for investments in 5G and artificial intelligence.

Says McMillon, “Americans want to know their children have a better future than the life they have had. And we should work together to make that happen.”

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-anchor of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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