Robbery in Progress: The Coming Retail Apocalypse

David Dayden writes in the New Republic:

Private equity firms borrow massively to buy companies, and use corporate cash reserves to pay themselves back. Workers who supply the value to the business see nothing; in fact, to service the debt, companies usually cut staff. When the retailer collapses under the borrowing weight, all workers lose their jobs. And even when sales go up, like they have by 5 percent annually in the toy sector over the past five years, dominant toy sellers like Toys“R”Us cannot compete because of the debt burden. The company’s profitability was increasing when it filed for bankruptcy.

And Kevin Drum at Mother Jones:

If it’s true that “economic anxiety” in 2016 was mostly code for underlying racial resentment, in 2020 it’s likely to be all too real. But not because of coal mining jobs, which are minuscule: we’ve lost about 20,000 coal mining jobs since 2000. By comparison, the flatlining of retail has cost about 3 million jobs, and in 2017 retail employment started to actually decline