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Food Stamp Nation? How Walmart is Paying Their Workers with Your Money

For years, Walmart has avoided paying their workers living wages and taking the difference out of your wallets.

 

Those under the impression that the United State's free market is actually free couldn't be more wrong. This so-called "free" market is actually costing American taxpayers money and lots of it. Unfortunately, slave labor and wages have come to a neighborhood near you via your most popular retailers. Many of our country's favorite corporations do not pay workers a living wage. How could the retailers we loyally shop at treat us so badly in return?

Instead of paying workers a living wage, these places opt to pay the government's bare minimum wage requirements. Paying employees the modern day equivalent of a slave wages not only adds another helping or two to these corporation's already obese profit margins, but does so on the taxpayer's dimes.

Last week marks the first ever successful strike for Walmart employees. It's no surprise the retailer has long gotten away with underpaying and exploiting their workers and then sending us the bill. Whether you shop at big corporations with bad reputations (like Walmart) or not, if you are a taxpayer, you are being short-changed by this very company and others of its caliber. How is that, you say? Slave wages have come to America and you are paying the price.

Don't let Walmart fool you. Just because they aren't paying their American employees $0.55 an hour (a rate of pay that exceeds the hourly wages of their sweat shop workers in China) doesn't mean Americans aren't receiving slave wages. The average Walmart worker makes $8.81 an hour, $15,576 per year which is below the poverty line for a family of two or more and low enough a wage for even a household of one to qualify for public assistance and food stamps. Walmart reaped over $400 billion in global profits last year and your hard-earned taxes helped foot a bill that Walmart could've easily took care of.

Walmart workers, as a group, are the largest food stamp recipients in the country totaling $2.66 billion annually. That's right, Walmart, a company that makes more than $400,000,000,000 a year is taking more than $2,660,000,000 out of tax payers pockets annually because they have refused to pay their workers a living wage. Not only has Walmart callously expected the taxpayers to pick up the slack, but the government has allowed them to get away with it! In fact, reports say Walmart has direct knowledge of this and directly assist employees in applications for both food stamps and Medicaid. And that is not all. Walmart also takes millions, perhaps billions in tax breaks, free land and other government subsidies.

There are slave laborers in America and they are right under our noses. We encounter these workers every day of the week. Some may argue that minimum wage is far from slave labor, but without government assistance and food stamps, these workers would be starving and homeless. How are these not slave wages? Additionally, "Walmart's intentionally low wages and lack of covered benefits cost taxpayers over $1.02 BILLION a year in healthcare costs."

Of course, many of our biggest retailers are guilty of paying intentionally low wages at the cost of the tax-payers (McDonald's, K-Mart, Target), but Walmart is the worst of this motley crew. Since Walmart began its move into a neighborhood near you, wages have decreased; small business have closed and been shipped over seas; the poverty level has sky-rocketed; and we lost a total of 196,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector because of the company's imports from China.

With Walmart employees accounting for 1% of the country's working population, it seems that proper government intervention is needed to redirect this burden back to the retail giant and away from the country's working class citizens. The six heirs to the Walmart fortune are worth the same as the bottom 40% of Americans: Sam Walton's six living family members are worth the same amount of money as approximately 1,250,000 Americans!

Many of these 40%ers happen to fall in the category Mitt Romney regards as the 47%, or as his constituent Daryl Metcalfe describes them "people that are living off the public dole, living off their neighbors' hard work, and we have a lot of people out there that are too lazy to get up and get out there." Au contraire. It appears to be the other way around, some type of Reverse Robin Hood, if you will...

Walmart could easily afford to pay their associates an extra $5,000 per year. Though this would cost them an extra $7 billion annually, they would still reap record profits and this time with a clear conscience. However, it seems that having a clear conscience is not all that important to them.

For years Governor Romney and his countless Republican pals have championed the free market system as a self-governing entity that has resulted in a fair chance for businesses to not only regulate themselves through supply and demand, but to fairly exercise business ethics and morals based on societal need. Of course, this is a joke; we all know what happens when you leave a young child alone with a big sack full of Halloween candy. The only difference here is that when a child's sibling or baby sitter enters the room and unexpectedly finds the child scarfing down candy in all his glory, the child might offer them some. But not Walmart and like-minded conglomerates.

Walmart should change their symbol of a smiley face to a picture of a leech. But with all six of Walmart's heirs being a group of shamelessly obese hogs, such a sign might be an insult to leeches.

It's an insult to every American that most Walmarts have a huge American flag hanging proudly outside their premises. Until further notice, the flags should be taken down and replaced with a sign that reads, "Walmart: enemy of the state. Destroying the American dream one community at a time."

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Gigi November 11, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Please stop!! She's right, he's right, she's wrong, he's wrong. This country isn't turning into Communist Russia. i'm so sick and tired of people throwing the words"socialist" "communist" etc . around to describe where this country is headed. It's still a free nation that gives us the right to express how we feel and how we live our lives. So everyone go to your neutral corners and move on. Nobody is ever going to bend and agree with the other man's views, that's for certain. If you want to take a stand, take your opinions and publish them the way Miss Hayley did and then try and defend them to the other closed minds out there.
joe_m November 11, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, unless you want to buy a Big Gulp in NYC. Parents are loosing their rights to raise their children as they see fit. We taxpayers are all slaves to the government, forced to give ever increasing amounts of our income and wealth to the government without any real recourse other than poverty and to join the government doll. I'm sorry but the evidence shows we are loosing what little freedoms we have "left". Yes, we still have choices but freedom is going away. Do you really believe the government is for anyone but itself?
Sean M November 11, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Gigi, this is no longer a free nation. Government forces people to buy insurance, forces companies to provide services that make people violate their religious beliefs. Conservatives want to be left alone. Liberals want to dictate everything as they see fit.
Hayley Rose Horzepa November 11, 2012 at 09:25 PM
I think what the Mayor did is not necessarily good but necessary. I would like to smoke in bars at my will but I do understand the risk for other patrons and employees: that they may not be consenting to second hand smoke. It sucks you can't smoke in bars anymore but it's for the common good as is this soda thing. If it continues to go this way American's health will continue to get worse. 1 in 3 children born after the year 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetime (and for "minority" children the figures are 1 in 2. In the end the people will pay for the diabetes complications one way or another whether it is directly through taxes to medicaid/ medicare or if it is through increased insurance premiums etc. It is better to nip disease from eating unhealthy or too much sugar in the bud. That doesn't mean I don't see what your saying. I do, no one likes being told what to do, but unfortunately like a lot of other laws, this one has been made to protect people from their own ignorance/mistakes.
Hayley Rose Horzepa November 11, 2012 at 09:29 PM
What Sean? conservatives want to be left alone??!! Then what the heck are they doing trying to regulate women's vaginas??? That's the most incorrect statement I've heard all day
Hayley Rose Horzepa November 11, 2012 at 09:31 PM
It's pretty straightforward.
Hayley Rose Horzepa November 11, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Yes. Tax deductions to the point of these companies paying no taxes is the biggest welfare abuse this country has ever seen
M.M. November 11, 2012 at 09:36 PM
I was one of those Americans who tried hard to get a viable job other than something minimum wage for years. Recently, I found something that I might qualify for and am in the process of getting that job. However, I struggled for 4 years of my just barely out of college adult life to find this job. I had to work minimum wage jobs that entire time, through no fault of my own. One of my jobs was NOT minimum wage, it was commission. But they decided not to pay me after an entire month of hard work and 3 different things sold, so I quit. I took the minimum wage job over a commission job that did not pay. They told me it was because business was too slow, but I found out they had paid the other worker in the store the amount I was going to get. It really hurt not being able to get that paycheck. Workers in this country need better wages. It's hurting the people who need it most. I know what it's like to struggle, and it is not a way to live. You think living on food stamps and other government benefits is so great? Why don't you try it? I'll tell you one thing, it pays less than a minimum wage job. And I only know this because for a month, after my stepmom kicked my little family out of the house (we were staying at my dad's while we had 2 jobs each and she tried to attack me while I was holding my 4 month old), we had to live on it. It was the worst thing I've ever gone through. Instead of judging someone...why not put yourself in their shoes?
Voice of Reason November 11, 2012 at 09:48 PM
2010: WalMart's income tax rate was over 32% with over $7B paid in income taxes. One Big Oil example: Exxon, 45% income tax rate with over $21B in income taxes, also in 2010. How can you say they are not paying taxes?
Hayley Rose Horzepa November 11, 2012 at 09:56 PM
Yes M, I can't agree with you more. Above someone talks about knowing what it's like to be in shoes like yours, but I can't imagine why then, this commenter would have such hostility to low income Americans if he truly understood. Thank-you for commenting and leaving a snapshot of your life
Voice of Reason November 11, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Pretty straightforward eh? WalMart did not have $400B in global profits, not even close. That number is roughly their "Net Sales". For those that don't know what the term Net Sales refers to I'll explain. Net Sales is the total sales after returns and fulfilled warranty issues. The Profit realized by WalMart was roughly $15.7B. Still a good chunk of change but no where near the 400B that has been misreported here and elsewhere.
Voice of Reason November 11, 2012 at 10:12 PM
@ Gigi. Folks are free to express themselves. But, if you want to express yourself in a public forum and fill your writings with misinformation, inaccuracies or plain old lies then you can be assured that someone will call you on it. I don't really care if I change anyone's mind on a given topic, I don't expect I will. I am more concerned that the readers will have the opportunity to read accurate information about that topic. My writing is published elsewhere but that doesn't mean I will rely upon readers to stumble on that, as stated, I will work to correct inaccuracies as I find them.
M.M. November 11, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Thanks! I think it's quite ridiculous that people are just tearing you down because they think they are smarter than you...It is a wonderful thing to have a great income. My family now makes over $40,000 a year and we will be adding my $30,000 a year job to it soon. It is a huge relief to be able to get the things we want AND the things we need! If someone really was in my shoes at one point, they wouldn't be tearing this article down, they would be agreeing with you.
Voice of Reason November 11, 2012 at 10:32 PM
Question for those that wish to dictate WalMart Policy. What do you feel is an acceptable amount of profit that an employer should make off the efforts of their employee? How much per hour, week or year?
Gigi November 11, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Joe, I don't trust govt. in any way, shape or form!! trust me. I stopped completely trusting it when they started tapping into our phones, e-mails etc....video cameras on every street corner....please! Do you think I think we are "free" in that sense? It is interesting to read everyone's opinions. People from all walks of life have varied opinions most likely depending on their beliefs and life experiences. I respect that. Sometimes I laugh and sometimes i cringe while reading them. When opinions turn into personal attacks, that is where i stop laughing. And what I meant by the freedom we have as a people .....freedom to me is power and if any politician thinks that they can try and take that freedom away, we show them every election that aint' gonna happen. Everytime a protester in the streets of America carries a sign for whatever cause, that's the people's power! I hope you and Sean and everyone else who tried to make a point on this sight understands what I'm trying to say. Miss Hayley had a right to give her opinion and you all had the right to question and comment on it. But please try to refrain from words like "ilk". I hate that. I don't consider any of you "ilk" even though I may think you are full of "prunes"...Remember John Lennon's "whatever gets you through the night is alright"? And it's alright with me Peace and Love, Gigi
Sean M November 11, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Haley, you would say something so classless. Conservatives believe that when a woman is pregnant there are two lives involved. They believe both lives are equally valuable. You however, along with your liberal buddies, want to have sex with whomever you want, whenever you want, and then demand that other people pay for your birth control and abortion. You are pro-choice when it comes to terminating a pregnancy and that is it. Not pro-choice on me deciding what to do with my retirement, health care, what to teach my kids or anything else. Miscarriages and forced ones called abortion emotionally scar women, in the latter for life.
Sean M November 11, 2012 at 11:09 PM
With your logic, we must pass a law outlawing voluntary abortion. Women who have abortions are terminating the life of their child and are too irresponsible to make the right decision. Too bad she did not think of the consequences of her actions before getting in bed.
Hayley Rose Horzepa November 11, 2012 at 11:12 PM
yes sean and so does birthing a child that is the product of rape- ok well I'm done with you insulting me. Thanks for commenting and participating in the discussion
Sean M November 11, 2012 at 11:19 PM
MM, Welcome to what it is like to run a business. The person you look for a job from has to risk everything to maybe make it. I have gone all year without a paycheck. Where is my guarantee? I have been on 100% commission and that is how the world works. I do not have to live off the government because I have earned that right. Why should I feel pity for people who do not take risk and offer low skills to an employer? They are not bad people, they just do not offer enough. It sure sounds like your perseverance has paid off. Glad it did. I have seen retail employees first hand. Most of them who earn the minimum do so because that is all they are worth. As a general rule, They do not show up on time, if at all. They do not work hard They do not dress respectable, including pants on the ground They smoke, have tattoos, and many of them use drugs. They usually have expensive cell phones. It is the attitude that Haley and the rest of the Left espouses that is the problem. Manufacturing left the USA because it was too expensive to do business here. Why? Mandates, Unions having too much power, and regulation. I want manufacturing back in the USA. The way to do it is a flat sales tax. No taxes on labor or income at all. Then deal with the oppressive government regulations. Haley's policies are exactly why only Wal Mart is left.
Sean M November 11, 2012 at 11:20 PM
These policies were implemented in the USSR and Cuba. Worked wonders. I prefer the choice to shop where I want to and have companies earn my money. It is not enough for the Left to have this. They must dictate how everyone else lives. But they mean so well.
Sean M November 11, 2012 at 11:24 PM
Voice, The Democrats would probably firebomb any business I ever owned in Woodbury. Times are changing in Woodbury and the abuses you refer to are about to end for good.
M.M. November 12, 2012 at 12:34 AM
Sean, I don't mean this to be rude, but just pointing it out: you're not very empathetic. And some people just really aren't. But to understand what Hayley is talking about, you need to be empathetic, which is why I see that you do not understand how to respond to something like this without insulting her. Most people with a minimum wage salary don't think of themselves as "left, "liberal", or "democratic"...only mere people who are just trying to make it paycheck to paycheck without defaulting on their school loans, having someone mess up their paycheck, or not being able to pay the rent.
John Galt November 12, 2012 at 01:32 AM
MM,I have walked in your shoes, I experenced what you exerienced with both my wife and I out of work at the same time, who said life was fair? Welfare is there for those who need temporary help, but its not a career choise. Life is about the choises we make in life, just because someone earns more money than you doesnt entitle you to more of his/her pay. You made the decision to bring I life into this world and thats commendable, but its your resposiblity as the parent to be financial resposible for the child...not mine. If you cannt afford to live in this area, leave. Food $ or cigarette $, going out on friday night or going home, decisions or sacrafices a parent has to make. And I dont think we are "tearing down" Hayley because we think we are smarter. Its that her liberal opinions want to turn this country from a capitalistic to a bankrupt European-socialism model, like Greece. As for abortion, while its against my beliefs, Yes to cases of rape or mothers life is in danger. But there are those who dont believe in God, and I am not God, so I wouldn't overturn Roe, BUT I'm not paying for it. Plan Parenthoods 2011 Financails statements on NYC.: take 10 of the brightest children in your school system, ask then to step forward - then tell six of them to go back to their seats - they dont exist. Thats right folk, in NYC 60% of all african american pregnacy were aborted. Were they all raped? mother's life in danger or is this just state run birth control?
Sean M November 12, 2012 at 03:24 AM
Given your definition, I am not empathetic. You want to know why? Because I do not let my circumstances keep me down. I do not get in the pig pen and wallow with people. My life has been no walk in the park. I have been broke more than once. Lost everything I had. Got it back and then some. I am sick and tired of whiners who sit around and tear down every successful thing because they are too weak to go out and do something big. I am sick and tired of being demonized because of my small successes. Life is about opportunity, not a guaranteed outcome. Our founders risked everything and most of them died broke. And we have whiners out there who complain their jobs do not pay them enough. Too many Americans have lost our respect for work ethic and what made this country the greatest place in the world. Now we have a president who is actively tearing down all of it and millions of Americans who are so uniformed that they have no clue. You want empathy, teach them how to better themselves. Get out of the pigpen and teach them how to fish for themselves. I have stood in line watching able bodied people use the gray food stamps card driving nicer cars than I do, getting free health coverage from the state while I have none. I have never asked for a handout and am sick and tired of the millions of freeloaders. Keep blaming those "evil business people" who want to make a buck and wonder why their money goes overseas.
Sean M November 12, 2012 at 11:50 PM
http://www.cnbc.com/id/49792979 Wealthy cashing out because investment income tax rate going up significantly. No shocker here. But to most of the people on this thread, the greedy rich are taking their money again. Those who have capital to invest are going to sit it out. The exception being crony capitalists who need a handout from government, see alternative energy. People can believe whatever they want, but the facts are the facts.
Voice of Reason November 13, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Well it seems our host has left her own party. To the reader I leave the following thoughts. This article (and some comments following it), like countless others on the web, is filled with glaring inaccuracies and seem to be primarily meant to inflame the reader. Sadly we'll never know if this is actually done intentionally to mislead the reader, is due to parroting the inaccurate work of someone they feel is right and just or if the author simply has a lack of understanding in respect to how a business works. Large Corporations do indeed pay taxes. As I stated above WalMart paid over $7B in 2010, 31%+ rate. General Electric is often cited as paying very little in taxes, 3%+ rate in 2010. However, if one delves a little further on the issue they would find that in the case of GE they had losses. Business losses will reduce tax burden, sometimes to the point that they don't pay taxes. Further, in some cases, those losses can be carried forward into the Company's following fiscal year. This is how it works but rest assured a Company wants to generate profit. Tax policy is set by the Government, both Republicans and Democrats. Companies would be foolish and inept to not take advantage of increasing their profit and use tax policy to their advantage. After all profit is the primary reason someone enters into business or invests in a business. Cont.
Voice of Reason November 13, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Blaming one Party is ludicrous. In a Republic, such as we live, it is not the role of Government to be involved in setting profit margins and such for Companies, this is more a concept of Communism. Business subsidies are offered by Federal, State and/or Local Governments when the powers that be feel it would be prudent to have said business in their locale. It can be argued if these subsidies really do any good or not but their existence shouldn't be assigned to either Party and used to confuse the populace. Lets take a closer look at WalMart. They employ 2.4M people worldwide. The Company is worth around $200B with roughly 3.6B shares of stock outstanding, $50B in debt with $10B in cash on hand. The Company is huge and their profit needs to be huge as well. Sure, with $14.7B in profit WalMart could actually afford to pay an additional $5K to each employee. But, in doing so there would be roughly no profit. No profit for the investors, no reason to continue in business. Should WalMart decide to follow this suggestion we'd see a couple things happen, if they didn't simply close. First would be a massive drop in the value of WalMart and it's shares. To offset this drop in value the WalMart customer would see a significant increase in product cost, this would help to increase profit but only to the point that customers still shop there. Cont.
Voice of Reason November 13, 2012 at 10:00 PM
If costs go up too high they loose customers for good. It's a slippery slope, employing so many people while bringing low cost goods to market for the consumer that requires low cost, all while earning a profit and keeping shareholders happy. I would like to see the reference for the numbers quoted in regards to the number of Dollars in Food Stamps given to WalMart employees. Does the USDA issue reports breaking down Companies who have a large number of Food Stamp recipients on their payroll? I'm not familiar with such a document and understood the USDA as not being cooperative in disclosing details of the SNAP program. Are these numbers just another “fact” without any merit? With all that said you probably think I'm a fan of the store. Well I'm not, but primarily due to the fact that most items are imported. I stopped in a WalMart, just to look around and I do have to give kudos to them for one thing I noticed. There were a few employees that were quite elderly and a couple others that clearly had a diminished mental capacity. For these people to have jobs to go to, it must help to give them a sense of pride and purpose and I applaud WalMart for doing that. Cont.
Voice of Reason November 13, 2012 at 10:00 PM
When considering where to make purchases please at least stop in your local shops and check out their goods. It may not always be financially feasible to avoid the box stores but every dollar you spend at your neighbor's store is a dollar (well a portion anyway, after taxes) they have to spend supporting you and other locals. Note: The numbers I've quoted are the most recent releases that I've studied. Newer numbers may have been released. Finis.
Phucaugh November 13, 2012 at 10:09 PM
I sense this thread is soon to be deserted and filled with tumble weeds. I had intended to continue of few conversations I had begun, however, I have been very busy. Thank you VOR for the info on the oil subsidies. I now have a place to start looking. And thanks for being one of the few reasonable people online interested in doing more than just trolling and attacking. I might post a few more items if I have time in the next few days. (not likely)

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