Tens of thousands of protestors participated in some 1,500 strikes initiated by the organization OURWalmart against the largest private employer in the country yesterday, which of course was Black Friday, known as the “Super Bowl of Shopping” in this country. To mark the occasion, Amy Goodman interviewed Catherine Reutschlin, a policy analyst at Demos who recently published a report called A Higher Wage is Possible which argues that the retail giant’s claim that they can only keep their prices low by refusing to give in to demands for fair wages are false. The report argues that the company would actually become more profitable by paying higher wages, due to a more committed and less transitory work force.
For the purpose of this series of posts on the hypocrisies of corporate welfare, one detail stood out from the Democracy Now piece: “A recent report showed that every single Wal-Mart in the country cost taxpayers between $900,000-$1 million in support for poverty alleviation programs like critical health care for workers and their families.” The same is true of other employers in this series: the striking concession workers at the AT&T ballpark in San Francisco were also noted to rely heavily on subsidized public housing to make ends meet in the skyrocketing rental market of the Bay Area.
So who’s the welfare queen now? Apparently, it’s The Waltons.
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, hello austerity!