Media in Trouble: All the news thats UNfit to print!: Who's Wal-Mart Is It?

"The information of the people at large can alone make them safe, as they are the sole depositary of our political and religious freedom." --Thomas Jefferson 1810

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Who's Wal-Mart Is It?

Sirota brings to light the fact that it may just be Our Wal-Mart HOO!

Turns out that by compounding slave wages along with deficient health care benefits, Wal-Mart is costing EVERYBODY some tax payer dollars. Wal-Mart apparently employs the most Medicaid beneficiaries in America. Now, before you go blaming the welfare state for supporting people with jobs remember, Medicaid has a means test. It only applys to poor people. Meanwhile, Wal-Mart pays its executives at least $20 million a year.

Not only that, but by being the number one exporter of jobs, Wal-Mart succeeds in yet another usurping of tax payer dollars to pay unemployment benefits to those people who loose their jobs to the China/Wal-Mart manufacturing connection.

Wal-Mart and other corporations are also constantly seeking tax breaks from local governments, using jobs and expected economic development as justification for these cuts. So tax money that would be instantly generated by a Wal-Mart's property taxes, is reduced instead hoping for the increase in employment making up for that tax revenue somehow. This is something I hardly understand, since most Wal-Mart's cause people to stop shopping at local mom and pop shops which actually do pay taxes, forcing many of them to close down. Eventually local governments loose even more tax revenue and as such loose twice. But people get minimum wage jobs and that I guess keeps the politicians who make these decisions in power. A job is better than NO job. These are the same people that prefer ostratization of Gay people to economic security when they visit the ballot box.

I realize that Wal-Mart is something of an economic experiment. One that asks are we better off having good paying jobs? Or are we better off with with cheaper stuff? The experiment is obviously dependent on a quid pro quo. Loose good paying manufacturing jobs, but maybe get a lower paying job. Afford a Big TV or afford a smaller TV made in China. It doesn't matter because you will be able to buy cheaper (albeit lower quality) stuff. You get what you pay for, right? So in the end after 5 years your Chinese TV may break but you bought it for half the price of a potentially American made TV so you make out about even.

I have to say the Wal-Mart experiment is tipping into a very dangerous territory. Local, State, AND Federal tax dollars are indirectly falling into Wal-Mart's coffers. By saving money on expenditures like health care benefits, living wages, and property taxes, the bottom line looks better to investors and as such more money goes into the coffers. CEO's get bigger bonuses and We The People flip the bill for the stuff Wal-Mart should be paying for but isn't.

There is a fine balance between business rights and labor rights. Business needs laborers but laborers need businesses to work for as well. This is the basis of any capitalistic society. However, when tax dollars are being used to subsidize that balance in favor of a few coroporate CEO's that the benefit to society becomes a bit foggier.