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Twitter Face-off: Can Wal-Mart really afford to pay its workers more?

November 15, 2013: 4:40 PM ET

I took to the Twittersphere to defend my article on Wal-Mart's pay problem.

131115152256-walmart-cash-register-620xaFORTUNE -- Earlier this week, I wrote an article saying Wal-Mart could afford to significantly increase what it pays its employees.

My basic argument: Wal-Mart, like all companies, has to split up the money it generates between investors, lenders, and workers. And when you take a look at where shares of Wal-Mart (WMT) are trading, it seems to imply that the company could pay its workers more, and investors less, without upsetting Wall Street. So what's holding management back?

Bloomberg writer Matt Levine said not only that my argument was wrong, but "with a pristine Euclidean wrongness unusual in financial commentary." So, basically, he was impressed. Levine and I took to Twitter to hash out our views on the issue. I think I won out. But you decide for yourself.

MORE: Why Wal-Mart can afford to give its workers a 50% raise

(Note: Two of the tweets are out of order. Once we got going, replying to each other's tweets, our debate at one point broke into two conversations. I put those two tweets in the order that I thought made sense in the context of the larger conversation.)

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About This Author
Stephen Gandel
Stephen Gandel

Stephen Gandel has covered Wall Street and investing for over 15 years. He joins Fortune from sister publication TIME, where he was a senior business writer and lead blogger for The Curious Capitalist. He has also held positions at Money and Crain's New York Business. Stephen is a four-time winner of the Henry R. Luce Award. His work has also been recognized by the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the New York State Society of CPA and the Association of Area Business Publications. He is a graduate of Washington University, and lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two children.

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