Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wal-Mart Gets Rich Off Government Subsidies

By Manifesto Joe

Bashing welfare is a very easy thing to do, and with some reason. I just saw my hometown not long ago, and it looked like a scene from The Last Picture Show. Storefronts that used to thrive were boarded up. Half the town, probably more, is on government assistance of some sort. Agriculture is moribund because of Texas' drought, and there's no industry nearby to speak of. The tax base pretty much consists of the substandard school district, which is heavily subsidized by the federal government, and the local supermarket, which gets much of its money through the food stamp program. Welfare programs appear to have created a town full of dependents.

Couldn't these people work? That's the natural thing to ask. If the city fathers lure in an industry, they would likely have to do it through huge tax abatements, and that wouldn't add much to their tax base.

And then, one can always commute to one of the nearby towns and work at the Wal-Mart store.

Problem is, that probably wouldn't get you entirely off government assistance. Because the pay at Wal-Mart is so shitty -- an average hourly wage of $8.81, I've read -- Wal-Mart "associates" often have to stay on food stamps to be able to feed their families. The company doesn't offer benefits to many of its "associates," so that means the employees have to stay on government health programs like Medicaid and CHIP. Meanwhile, as we the taxpayers pick up the tab for all this, the company rakes in profits for some of the richest people on Earth.

It's an indirect government subsidy, but a subsidy nonetheless. You and I are paying for stuff that any "decent" corporation would offer employees enough money and benefits to afford. From what I've read, the annual subsidies are usually at least $900,000 per store, and they can run as high as $2 million. Here's a link to an article on the subject.

I briefly mentioned tax abatements earlier in this post. This is another way that corporate entities get subsidies, with these coming generally at the local level, in the realm of property taxes. It's the ordinary shmoes in American communities -- including some of the ones who take jobs with these cheap blackmailers -- who end up paying more in property taxes because of the abatements. And if the city and/or county fathers don't put out, they are essentially told, "We'll just take all these jobs someplace where they will."

Yet another problem all this creates is the disincentive to work. With wages so low, and with one often having to commute to a neighboring town to find a peon's job, why work? Why not just sit at home and collect entitlements, when "work" isn't likely to provide a path to a better life?

Yep, it's very easy to cuss people on welfare -- as long as they're the poor ones. It becomes more difficult when it's some of the richest people on the planet who happen to be sucking on the government tits. When poor people do it, it's evidence of moral degeneracy. When the rich do it, it's called "smart business."

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.

Monday, June 3, 2013

A Brief Detour Into Boxing

By Manifesto Joe

Here's one answer to an old debate in boxing circles: Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Louis. Here's the opinion of an old pro who had just fought the prime Ali:

"Louis wouldn't have a chance; he was too slow ... There's no way to train yourself for what he (Ali) does. The moves, the speed, the punches and the way he changes style every time you think you got him figured. The right hands Ali hit me with just had no business landing but they did. They came from nowhere. Many times he was in the wrong position but he hit me anyway. I've never seen anyone who could do that. The knockdown punch was so fast that I never saw it. He has lots of snap, and when the punches land they dizzy your head; they fuzz up your mind. He's smart. The trickiest fighter I've seen. He's had twenty-nine fights and acts like he's had a hundred. He could write the book on boxing, and anyone that fights him should be made to read it."

-- Zora Folley
Sports Illustrated, April 10, 1967

I just watched the YouTube archives on Ali vs. Ernie Terrell, of which sportswriter Tex Maule said: "It was a wonderful exhibition of boxing skill and a barbarous display of cruelty." Ali was clearly pissed because Terrell kept calling him "Clay." -- MJ