business news in context, analysis with attitude

Last week we had a story about Kroger saying it would make "a more than $770 million incremental investment in its associates during 2023 … to raise average hourly rates, improve healthcare options, build new training and development opportunities, and more."

One MNB reader - obviously someone better at math than I am -  wrote:

$770 million sounds like a big number but if you spread that across about 420,000 employees that is $1,833/yr at 2,000 hours worked in a year that is 91 cents/hour.

Another MNB reader chimed in:

Regarding Kroger, I would gladly take the 91 cents per hour! I'll get 47 cents this April at the large east coast chain I work for, and that's for exceeding expectations, otherwise it would have been 31 cents.

There was a story last week about how Walmart+ seems to be making inroads against Amazon with affluent shoppers, which prompted this email:

This will be very interesting. Wal-Mart at one time was not considered a threat to Sears and Kmart, but we know how that ended up.

One thing about Wal-Mart I have always respected is their desire to always learn and grow. Add that to the culture of simply working harder than their competition. If I were Amazon, I would be concerned. Maybe not in the near future, but don’t get complacent and don’t become too cautious.

On another subject - the new version of Fat Tire beer - MNB reader Jerome Schindler wrote:

I tried a couple of Fat Tire pale ale beers at our Parish fish fry last night - not sure it is the “new” formula.  I was not impressed.  A couple years ago I discovered Narragansett Lager and have been a regular buyer ever since.  It is brewed in Providence, RI.   It was featured in the movie “JAWS” .  The brand goes back over 100 years according to their website.  I see it is widely available In Darian.  You should try it if you haven’t already.  

Lager is the only one of their offerings I can find in Columbus, OH.  I wish their IPA was available here.

Kroger said last week that it has hired John Boehner - the former Congressman from Ohio who served as Speaker of the House of Representatives from 2011 to 2015 - to help its lobbying effort aimed at federal approval of its proposed $24.6 billion acquisition of Albertsons.

I commented:

I wonder if Boehner gets a special bonus in the form of a couple of cases of merlot if the deal ands up being approved.

Several other readers had comments about Boehner's proclivity for crying.

One MNB reader wrote:

I assume the former Speaker will just tear up when the FTC finally issues its ruling sometime in 2030.

And from another reader:

…or a couple cases of Kleenex for him to cry into if it doesn’t.

One obviously an optimist.   The other not so much.

From another reader, a political comment:

I’m a strong conservative, and Boehner was never one of my favorites. I don’t think he’s the best choice to help negotiate this deal!  Time will tell!

Whether he is or not remains to be seen.  But one part of your comment intrigued me.  I checked, and if my sources are accurate, in 2010, Boehner received a 100 percent conservative score from the American Conservative Union, and has a lifetime score from that organization of 94.  In 2010, Boehner had a 100 percent rating from the conservative Club for Growth, and a 83 percent lifetime rating.

Which makes me wonder, what the hell does one have to do to be a strong conservative these days?

Or, is it possible that what passes for a strong conservative in 2023 isn't what was considered conservative in 2010 … or at any time before that?

Just asking.