Friday, May 31, 2013

Dave Jamieson and Saki Knafo — One Walmart's Low Wages Could Cost Taxpayers $900,000 Per Year, House Dems Find

Walmart wages are so low that many of its workers rely on food stamps and other government aid programs to fulfill their basic needs, a reality that could cost taxpayers as much as $900,000 at just one Walmart Supercenter in Wisconsin, according to a study released by Congressional Democrats on Thursday.
Though the study assumes that most workers who qualify for the public assistance programs do take advantage of them, it injects a potent data point into a national debate about the minimum wage at a time when many Walmart and fast food workers are mounting strikes in pursuit of higher wages.
The study uses Medicaid data released in Wisconsin to piece together the annual cost to taxpayers for providing a host of social safety net programs, including food stamps and publicly subsidized health care, to workers at one Supercenter in the state.
According to the report, Walmart had more workers enrolled in the state’s public health care program in the last quarter of last year than any other employer, with 3,216 people enrolled. When the dependents of those workers were factored in, the number of enrollees came to 9,207.
"When low wages leave Walmart workers unable to afford the necessities of life, taxpayers pick up the tab," the report says.
The Huffington Post
One Walmart's Low Wages Could Cost Taxpayers $900,000 Per Year, House Dems Find
Dave Jamieson and Saki Knafo


Ryan Harris said...

The government sets the rules of the game. If they don't like low minimum wages, change them. If they want better benefits, require them. If they want to tax companies, tax them. Congressmen bashing the companies that follow the laws created by congress is humorous. Low margin competitive industries like hospitality and retail will always pay the minimum required by law. The Dems controlled the congress for much of the last century and have created most of these rules and laws themselves but they hate them? My heart bleeds.

I think it is sort of funny how folks with 'good' middle class jobs bash Walmart. Most of the people that shop at walmart earn less than the employees at walmart do. For those without the 'good' middle class jobs in the government subsidized industries and without regulatory barriers to entry, being a Walmart employee is probably a step up. I wonder how subsidized the average university professors job is? -- what does it 'cost' taxpayers for each of their positions. Between student loans, regulatory requirements for degrees and direct subsidies I'm sure a professor costs far more than a walmart employee, I'm not sure which creates a better world. Gauging from Harvard economists at least, I'd wager a Walmart employee does more good for the world and far less damage to society. The elitism and judgement in this article about how one type of subsidy for low wage employees isn't acceptable while completely ignoring the far larger subsidies provided to 'good' middle class people in different avenues demonstrates the all too common subsurface elitism and neoliberal bias against the poor. Lets talk about the subsidies for the 'good' rich and middle class jobs and then talk about Walmart.

Matt Franko said...

Good points Ryan,

Plus the fact that these two libertarian morons at HuffPo think that govt has to 'get the money' from the taxpayers...

Wait till 'Obamacare' hits...


paul meli said...

Many of ithe people that benefit from this $900B want to cut it zero if possible.

I do have a problem with companies thinking that low wages is in their best interest...

...and then jonesing to cut public spending.

Again, almost all of these contradictions are a result of a fundamental misunderstanding of how an economy works and where spending originates.

paul meli said...

I would also like to point out that applying for and collecting food stamps and assistance is somewhat de-humanizing and a huge time-waster.

The same is true for those collecting unemployment.

So in addition to low wages we give those workers the message that they are failures or parasites.

If that isn't enough now we want to drug-test them...

googleheim said...

This is a case where the tax payer and the currency issuer are BOTH - ON THE HOOK for the benefit of the USUARY RENTIER MEGA-GIANT WALMART - who in fact is on GRAND SCALE WELFARE.

So the low wage system doesn't work and simultaneously hypocritical

The tea leavers and right wingers love to drive wages down, and also reduce benefits to nil under the command of anti-re-distributionism.

Always the same - declare the State Department Broken and useless so they can shut down government.

Even Col. Powell practices this technique. Declare that it is broken and shut it down for all the benefit of taking over the usuary machine by the declaration of debt mongering and deficit hawking.

Obama wants to be like Reagan?