Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Walmart: Pay low wages, shift the costs on to others. Brings a tear to Romney's eye.

Walmart is well known for it's low prices. But few bother or care to consider just where those prices are derived from.

Partly, it comes from the production of products overseas in facilities working to keep cost extremely low, in part through a work force working for meager rewards. Also, efficient supply chain and large volume buys help to. But another extremely useful tool in keeping Walmart costs down is making the United States government subsidize it's store operations.

That is correct. WE fund the operation of Walmart via tax revenue. How? Walmart takes many steps to ensure the expense of having a workforce is limited. They often refuse to pay overtime that is due, and takes various deductions out of worker's paychecks. It's called wage theft. And the result is a meager paycheck gets all the leaner. And this is when they actually pay the proper minimum wage.

So, as a result, most employees of Walmart work at unacceptably low wage levels. And this is as Walmart wants it. Because at this low a level of income, the American Social Safety Net kicks in. Employment at Walmart leaves many, forced to rely on Medicaid and SNAP (or food stamps). In fact, Walmart is now the main force leading to people entering the SNAP program.

Daily Kos (Paddy Ryan):
... In fact, Walmart has become the number one driver behind the growing use of food stamps in the United States with "as many as 80 percent of workers in Wal-Mart stores using food stamps." 

80% of the workers? So, when you go in, you can know most of the people there are left to struggle to get by, as far as corporate management is concerned. Hey, they're getting fed, so they can get back to work, and it costs Walmart nothing. It costs us though. According to the piece above, Walmart employees cost us nationally over $2.5 billion a year. Which is approximately $420,000 per store in your state, or city. This is millions who could get paid a wage to get by on, and get health coverage, but aren't. So they're using SNAPS and Medicaid to survive.

The result? We all are saddled with billions in costs. Walmart executives are showered with praise and bonuses from bringing in the extra billions in savings, on top of the billions they already make in profits.

And this is exactly how far too much of big business in America operates. Profits. Profits Profits. Profits? Yeah, PROFITS!!!

Now, don't get me wrong. I love profits. We all want to profit. But, like with Walmart, you have companies that make billions (more than $15) in profits, then turn around, underpay their employees and drop billions in expenses on the community and nation around them. ...And, should we mention how these massive businesses cut out sweetheart deals with the surrounding communities to avoid taxes, not to mention all the ways they avoid paying taxes at the national level?

Please, tell me you see something wrong here? Because in the midst of this abuse of a workforce, Walmart is a member of that austere class of business that works diligently to ensure that their workers have NO VOICE. No unions allowed. That might cut into their freaking massive profits. Might even cut into that Rolling In $100 Bills time they set aside on Wednesdays.

Business, should seek its profits. But that does not negate the responsibilities a business has. The ones to a community. The ones to it's workers. The ones to it's nation of residence.

As I noted in an earlier post. These corporations fly national flags out of convenience. It's not patriotism. It's about making the yokels happy, and making more money. Once the money's gone. So is the flag, and so are they.

And to blame workers for this is beyond sick. Wanting a profit isn't evil. But, likewise,wanting a wage you can live on isn't greedy. Wanting access to heath care isn't vain. And, wanting to be able to have a voice in your workplace isn't criminal.

And that's why we have seen a major move by workers in the Walmart empire to get together and stand united against the pressure, threats, and abuse of management. In multiple cities now, workers are on strike. It is still a small part of the company, but it is a start.

Sadly, it is under covered in the media. In fact when workers do take stands like this for wages, working conditions, or other issues, the media is just, oddly, underwhelmed with the efforts. The media disappoints in many cases here. So it falls on us to be aware and vocal for these workers.

This is the corporate vision Romney has. If everyone would work longer, work for less, and barely get by, we could get everyone working and happy! Not really. Society and economics don't actually work that way, but conservatives have abandoned detail and mathematics for ideology and fantasy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I thought it was a good thing that the working poor got food stamps and medicade/care. Isn't that why congress passed laws so the poor could get a job at a place like walmart (or any business that offers minimum wage jobs) and not be cut off from those services?

Why would you want to take food stamps away from people, just because they got a job at walmart greeting at the door? I know the men and women who greet at my walmart and they are always happy and cheerful because they have a good job, that doesn't require them to do a lot but be friendly. I wouldn't take that job away from them, or refuse them food stamps just because they can't run a teller machine, or do accounting work.