I never would have said it that way...

But I think they have a point:
How Walmart Made Liberals Turn Right

The short of it is, Conservatives have long made the argument that a perpetual welfare state is destructive to virtue, and saps the willingness of the otherwise abled to do the right thing and work for a living.  Now the Liberals are making the same claim about Walmart.  If pays too little to its workers, goes the claim, because the welfare safety net allows its workers to live on the meager wages offered by Walmart (i.e. Walmart is therefore subsidized by the welfare state).  And if only those lazy, greedy Walmart fatcats would be forced off of their welfare subsidies, they'd have to actually pay their workers better.


Grim said...

That's just what I've been saying for years about the intersection of welfare and minimum wage laws. :)

E Hines said...

All we need to do is get those subsidy pushers off their addiction to the dependency of others on their "largesse," and the dependents all would be better off.

Eric Hines

MikeD said...

The problem with accusing Walmart of "riding welfare" is the assumption that they'd HAVE to pay workers more if the social safety net wasn't there. It's a false premise based upon the assumption that only those who can afford to accept the low wages because of their welfare checks work there. And yet, we're never given a percentage of Walmart employees on public assistance. I've been able to find pages where they cite studies that claim Walmart has a "disproportionate number" of employees on government assistance (and almost universally these studies are from labor groups critical of Walmart), but all that are listed is raw numbers (3,000 employees in this state, 1,900 in that one, etc). At no point do we get any data on what percent of employees those on public assistance represent. To accept the premise that it's all employees is ridiculous. And if you've ever been in a Walmart, you can see why. Most of the greeters (unskilled labor) are retirement age people who are likely supplementing income, though I am aware of at least one out there who did it because he was "bored at home" (talk to them, they tend to be nice people). Most of the cashiers (unskilled labor) are teens, and likely living at home, just like the vast majority of minimum wage workers.

I'm not saying Walmart has no one on public assistance. But I am saying I do not believe that without public assistance being there that they'd be able to attract employees without higher wages. Why? Because as long as there are unskilled laborers looking for work, there will be people willing to work for wages below the (American) poverty level.

Oh, and one last note, the "poor" in this country live better, safer, healthier lives than the middle class in the vast majority of the world. I'd much rather be poor here than middle class anywhere else (except maybe Canada, but that place is too cold).

Grim said...

This guy thinks that it's 15%.

Social Security retirees working there presents the same economic problems, although there's not as much talk about disbanding Social Security (or requiring you to stay retired to continue to collect it) as there is about ending the minimum wage (or welfare).

E Hines said...

These guys, in an article linked to below (? I'm too lazy to check), think the per cent of Walmart employees getting welfare in general is slightly less than the industry average.

From the OP link:

...isn't it [the number of Walmart employees on food stamps] also a result of the low wages Walmart pays to many of its employees?

Maybe. It's also heavily influenced by the eligibility rules for food stamps and by the welfare cliff overall.

Eric Hines