Sen. Bernie Sanders called out the Walton family for paying Wal-Mart workers starvation wages while collecting huge government subsides. Sanders called what Wal-Mart has done a great obscenity.
On The Ed Show, Sen. Sanders responded to the Republican claim that Wal-Mart can’t afford to wage employee wages with a few choice words for the Walton family:
Ed, you want to hear one of the great obsenities of our time? The wealthiest family in this country is the Walton family. They’re worth about $100 billion. That’s more wealth than the bottom 40% of the American people. One of the reasons the Walton family the owners of Wal-Mart are so wealthy is that they receive huge subsidies from the taxpayers of this country.
When you pay at Wal-Mart starvation wages. You don’t provide benefits. Who picks up the difference? The answer is that many of the workers in Wal-Mart end up getting Medicaid. They get food stamps. They get affordable housing paid for by the taxpayers of this country, while the Walton family remains the wealthiest family in the country. If that is not obscene, I don’t know what is.
According to Wal-Mart Subsidy Watch, Wal-Mart has received, “More than $1.2 billion in tax breaks, free land, infrastructure assistance, low-cost financing and outright grants from state and local governments around the country.”
A May 2013 study by the House Democratic Staff of the Committee on Education and the Workforce found that single Wal-Mart Supercenter costs taxpayers $904,542 per year, and could cost taxpayers up to $1,744,590 per year in public assistance costs. As of July 2012, Wal-Mart had 4,253 stores. Wal-Mart’s refusal to pay their workers a living wage costs taxpayers millions of dollars a year.
Republicans defend what Wal-Mart is doing as the free market, but there is nothing free market about taking billions of dollars from taxpayers while forcing those same taxpayers to support their employees, because Wal-Mart will not pay adequate wages. That isn’t the free market. It is corporate welfare.
When Republicans oppose raising the minimum wage, they are supporting lining the pockets of the Walton family with your money.
It doesn’t matter if you shop at Wal-Mart or not. If there is a Wal-Mart in your community, the Waltons are benefiting from the taxes that you pay. It is an unjust manipulation of our economy, and one of the great hypocrisies that supposedly free market champion Republicans continue to support and encourage Wal-Mart’s corporate welfare, while starving the working poor.
If you want to force Wal-Mart to take responsibility for adequately compensating their workers, demand an increase in the minimum wage.