Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Nothing says, "I love you" like ...

Nothing says "I love you" like cheap crap made in China by slave labor, sold by a company owned by billionaires benefitting from corporate welfare, paying slave wages to employees ...

Welcome to Walmart,
   the stored owned by six mega-billionaires,
     the store that pays the worst wages,
        and costs taxpayers the most.

Wait, wait; stores aren't supposed to cost taxpayers anything!

A formal study noted, "...Walmart’s low wages and benefits, which often force workers to rely on various public assistance programs,” have a pricetag that communities pay.  The report concluded that, “... a single Walmart Supercenter cost taxpayers between $904,542 and $1.75 million per year, or between $3,015 and $5,815 on average for each of 300 workers.”  Americans for Tax Fairness made this estimate using data from a 2013 study by Democratic Staff of the U.S. Committee on Education and the Workforce.

To be fair, Walmart isn't the only low-wage payer, and wages aren't the only problem.  Recent decades (3) have seen stagnation in wages and upward-employment opportunities.  Progressively more adults/parents are stuck in low or minimum wage traps without real opportunity for advancement.  Corporate profitability has soared, but the gains have paid owners, not workers.  The economic inequality inherent in today's business practices has ended what we once counted on; economic mobility.  We expected to start at the bottom of the ladder, but we didn't expect to stay there.  More and more workers find themselves in that position.

This year, about 15 percent of Americans (about 47 million people) fall below the poverty threshold.  The numbers are worse for women and minorities, of course.  And children.

Farther below, there are about 1.5 million Americans in 'extreme poverty' or effectively living on nothing at all.  The numbers have perhaps doubled since '96 following welfare reforms and stagnation in the jobs market.  There are perhaps 1 billion people in the world in such circumstances.

Imagine if you will, not a day of distress but a lifetime.  Not enough for heat or food or water, for clothing or transportation or healthcare, not enough to give your own children a hand up.  Persistent poverty, passed on from generation to generation, all in a time when there still plenty for everyone.  There's no actual food shortage; there's still enough for everyone, at least for now.  The difficulties are social and political, not availability.  

Returning to the subject at hand ... nothing says 'I love you' like lending a hand, helping out, making a difference, helping things change for the better.  Happy Thanksgiving.