Adrienne BoettingerFriday,12 July 2013

The Snap:

It’s such a yuppie cliché to hate Wal-Mart and yet hate it, I do. I hate it because it’s big and confusing, dirty and messily stocked, and you can spend 85 gajillion years in line waiting to purchase cheap-ish goods. Besides that, the corporation and the family that runs it both reek of greed more than men at speed dating events reek of Drakkar Noir.

The Download:

Wal-Mart consistently refuses to pay its employees a living wage despite the Walton family having a combined fortune of approximately $102.7 billion — more wealth than 41.5% of America’s bottom earners has. Four members of the family consistently rank on Forbes’ top 20 billionaire list and yet the company cannot afford to pay its employees enough so that they do not have to go on use government entitlement programs?? Puh-lease. Think about it: through your tax dollars, you’re subsidizing Wal-Mart so it can pay its employees minor ducats in a thankless job.

Just this week, the big-box-o-crap store threatened to pull out of deals in Washington, D.C. because the City Council passed a bill requiring all corporations operating in the city that have more than $1 billion in global sales to pay a minimum wage of $12.50. Given Wal-Mart’s track record, D.C. might be better off if the corporate giant makes good on its threat though it looks like Mayor Vincent Gray is going to cave and veto the bill.

I know what you’re thinking: “Adrienne, you commie liberal, this is all well and good but Wal-Mart is an American institution! You can buy everything there, like huge sacks of Swedish Fish and guns! And the Waltons are job creators who care about their community!”

In terms of Wal-Mart’s corruption, don’t take it from me. Read this piece of compelling investigative journalism from the New York Times. NYT explored the disgusting amount of bribery that Wal-Mart uses to get a stranglehold of the commercial market in Mexico: blackmail, re-writing maps, buying out corrupt officials and lying thru its teeth. And before you think that it was just the Mexican officials who were corrupt, executives at Wal-Mart’s headquarters in Arkansas knew about the bribery and did absolutely nada.

In terms of the Waltons’ wholesomeness, they are far from responsible corporate citizens. Bill Gates gives away 48% of his net worth to charity. Warren Buffet gives 78% of his. The Waltons? They’ve given away about 2%. And their plan for Wal-Mart and other American businesses to help improve the safety of overseas workers so that another tragedy like what happened in Bangladesh can be avoided? Toothless and insufficiently funded to make necessary building safety improvements.

So, when I am Queen of Everything, the Waltons will have to live on the hourly rates paid to their employees. Cities will be allowed to have no more than one Wal-Mart with a max of 5 per state. If Wal-Mart doesn’t treat its people better — like Costco has done — all Wal-Marts will be shuttered and the land turned into community supported agricultural collectives and interpretive dance centers.

Take Action!

Hat Tips:

PolitifactBusiness WeekWashington PostWUSANew York TimesBusiness InsiderTimeForbes, Image Credit: Flickr


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