Saturday, March 22, 2014

Wal-Mart's Crocodile Tears Don't Hide Its Greed

By Manifesto Joe

I got a little hot under the collar reading a recent story that quoted Wal-Mart U.S. CEO Bill Simon as saying that if Wal-Mart employees "can go to another company and another job and make more money and develop, they'll be better. It'll be better for the economy. It'll be better for us as a business, to be quite honest, because they'll continue to advance in their economic life."

This from the CEO of a company that pays its employees an average of $8.90 an hour, and forces many to go on food stamps and rent subsidies and low-income children's health programs such as CHIP. And you, the taxpayer, are subsidizing this company, to the tune of $86 million in California alone.

Here's a link to the article. And here's another link to a story about how much this company's predatory practices are costing the taxpayers.

Even more unfortunately, Wal-Mart isn't the only company that engages in low-wage exploitation of desperate workers. It's a prevalent practice in the fast-food industry. Not long ago McDonald's had to wipe egg (McMuffin?) off its face and alter a website where they had the gall to offer advice on how much its poverty-stricken employees should tip an au pair. It would appear that Ronald isn't the only clown who works for McDonald's.

This chipping away at the American middle class hasn't happened by accident. It is the widespread shortsightedness of Corporate America that is doing this.

Henry Ford, certainly no progressive, at least knew one thing about Economics 101: He paid his workers enough money for them to be able to actually buy the product they were making. This is a simple lesson that appears to be totally lost on 21st-century Corporate America.

Karl Marx was pretty clearly wrong about a lot of things, but I can spot one thing that he did see with great clarity. Amid many bids to reform capitalism, it has a nasty habit of reverting back to its original, primitive form.

Americans, in their stoicism and general acceptance of the so-called free market, will put up with this reversion for a very long time. I don't expect to see this New Gilded Age end while I'm alive, since I'm pushing 58 and have health issues.

But there comes a time, anywhere, when people get desperate enough to just start TAKING what they need. I don't see capitalism as likely to survive into the 22nd century, at least not in its current form. An economy has to be for the many, not just for the few. And that is a lesson that I think Corporate America has long forgotten, and will be forced to relearn just a bit too late.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.


Jerry Critter said...

It is time for companies like Walmart and McDonalds to pay the full cost of their labor. If not, at least their taxes should be increased to cover the additional cost to the public that results from their low wages.

Walmart US employees used $2.1 billion in public assistance while the company made $17 billion in profits.

Manifesto Joe said...

Unfortunately, they own a lot of politicians. I see violence ahead, but it will be long enough from now that I don't expect to see it, nor do I want to.

Anonymous said...

More and more, I hear people calling for Jeb Bush to run in 2016. If Jeb put Rick Perry on the ticket, he could claim to have a good job-creation record. But from what I understand, most of the jobs created under Perry have been low wage-type jobs. However, I don't think that really matters to the Limbaugh crowd---I guarantee you that they'd vote for that ticket in a heartbeat. I think Rush wants someone more Conservative than Jeb anyway---perhaps Ted Cruz? It will be interesting to see who is on the ticket.

Manifesto Joe said...

One of the few hopeful signs I see now is the division within the Republican Party. It's amazing when you see people like Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst being depicted as not conservative enough. I don't think there will be a split, but if the tea party types manage to dominate the Republican Party, it will return to minority status for a long time. Unfortunately, they are still going to have a lot of money, and that's mostly what matters in U.S. politics. There will have to be some kind of general mayhem before there will be permanent change.

Old Scout said...

The jobs attributed to Tex'ass' perry aren't new jobs. They are transferred jobs. Tex'ass doesn't win unless some other state suffers. That isn't competition it is tax haven give-away and employee punishment. From what I can see ... in Tex'ass all the employers are in a race to the bottom of the compensation bucket while climbing to the top of the social register.
Tex'ass needs to turn blue so it may again be Texas.

Manifesto Joe said...

I understand that Gov. Rick "El Pendejo" Perry has been running ads in California, inviting all the tax-ridden businesses out there to relocated to Texas. Yeah, come on down, so you can hire illegal immigrants at minimum wage to handle hazardous materials!

Anonymous said...

It has annoyed me how the likes of Perry are always extremely "Conservative" fiscally---but only when it comes to OTHER people.
Perry himself has cost the taxpayers a mint. In addition to his $150,000 salary as governor, he is also pulling down a $92,000 pension. I'm unclear as to how someone who is allegedly still working can also claim a pension---but then, I'm just a lowly private sector worker (and we don't get pensions). The only "retirement" plan I'll get is the day I keel over of a heart attack at my work station (I have no doubt I will work until the day I die).
In contrast to Perry, California's governor, Jerry Brown, has long been very frugal with the people's money.
In his first term in office, Brown got rid of the governor's limousine and other perks of office. He also refused to live in the governor's mansion (instead living in a tiny apartment, sleeping on a mattress on the floor).

Jerry Critter said...

There is a very basic difference between Perry and Brown.

Perry is a republican.

Brown is a Democrat.

That is all that needs to be said!

Manifesto Joe said...

There are more differences than that. About 50 IQ points -- that comes to mind.

Jerry Critter said...

Yeah, at least 50!

Old Scout said...

More like 80 to 100