The Waltons and Walmart: a fortune built on food stamps

Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men . . .

—John Adams, 2nd president of the United States

If John Adams were alive today, he would see that what he warned against has come to pass: The government exists primarily for the profit and private interest of an elite group of people and the global banks and corporations they control, and only secondarily for the common good of the rest of us. As an example, let’s take the Walton family, the billionaire owners of Walmart, and their relationship to the federal Food Stamp program:

The historic 100-city strike of Walmart workers on Black Friday 2012 was organized to protest their low wages, lack of benefits, and appalling working conditions. It was significant in that it was the first strike against Walmart in its 50-year history. It was a statement about the growing difficulty of living on low wage jobs in America.

So, how does Walmart get away with treating its workers so badly? Walmart and the Walton family are substantially subsidized by federal tax dollars. The Walton’s can pay workers $8.00 per hour—an amount no one can live on—because they know the government will step in and subsidize that amount with Food Stamps and other programs for those living at or below poverty levels.

So think of it this way:  From your pocket to theirs—not for the “common good” but for the Cayman Islands accounts of a family of billionaires with the blessing of your government.

The Walton’s food stamp scam

John Thorpe, writing for Benzinga, explains how the Walton’s have built their fortunes by working both ends of the Food Stamp program.

First of all, he offers a shocking figure: Walmart receives between 25 and 40 percent of all Food Stamp spending. Up to 2 in 5 dollars spent by all Food Stamp recipients is spent at Walmart.  Of the approximately $72 billion the federal government spent on Food Stamps last fiscal year, Walmart would have earned up to $28.8 billion in sales from the program alone. The company brought in $448 billion in sales last year, so this government program represents a good chunk of those sales.

So let’s recap: Walmart doesn’t pay a living wage, lets the government subsidize their operating expenses by giving employees food stamps, which the employees then spend at Walmart. A very nice scam indeed!

Walmart’s devastating effect on the economy and communities

The following is from Winning Words Project:

Walmart’s intentionally low wages force employees to need approximately $420,000 per year, per store, totalling $2.66 BILLION annually in Food Stamps and other taxpayer assistance…to survive.

Walmart’s intentionally low wages cost the country HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of dollars in payroll tax deductions for Federal, State, and Local taxes.

Walmart’s intentionally low wages cost our communities the ability to hire and retain important public service workers like firefighters, police officers, maintenance workers, and teachers.

Walmart’s intentionally low wages cost our communities with their increased need for those same public services they are underfunding.

Walmart’s intentionally low wages and lack of covered benefits cost taxpayers over $1.02 BILLION a year in healthcare costs.

Walmart’s intentionally low wages cost taxpayers as much as $225 MILLION in free and reduced price lunches for school-age children.

Walmart’s intentionally low wages cost taxpayers over $780 MILLION tax deductions for low-income families.

Under a sane government policy, the minimum wage would be a living wage. It would be illegal for a company to underpay its employees and use the government to subsidize the rest of the wages (and its operating cost) with government programs. But what we have exists because our elected officials are not focused on the common good. Instead they let the owners of Walmart and other slave-wage-paying corporations, in the name of a “free-market system,” steal boatloads of cash from the public coffers.

When you hear the phrase “welfare queen” think members of the Walton family living high on the hog with your money. Then call your Congressman and Senator and tell them you no longer want Walmart to pad their payroll with your tax dollars, and that you no longer want the federal government to subsidize the Walton family fortune.