Apart from being known for its cheap deals and its humungous megastores, it turns out that the biggest and most famous retailer in the world, Walmart, is surrounded by controversies, scandals and multi-million dollar lawsuits against its poor and unsafe working conditions, its devastating impact on local communities, and a whole lot of corporate greed. The retail giant’s problematic corporate policies in the U.S., however, are only the tip of the iceberg. For decades, Walmart’s empire is being built on overseas markets through wage slavery and theft, child labor, and many other atrocities that are just now being unveiled to the public. The truth is that the cost of low prices is higher than most people even dare to imagine.
Due to its ultra-low wages, Walmart employees often need government benefits to have proper access to food and healthcare. The company routinely uses taxpayer money to finance its exponential corporate growth. A report released by the House Committee on Education and Welfare found that a two-hundred-person Walmart store costs federal taxpayers approximately $420,750 a year, or $2,103 per employee. These costs include $36,000 a year for free and reduced-cost school lunches; $42,000 for Section 8 housing assistance; $125,000 for low-income family tax credits and deductions; $100,000 for additional Title I expenses; $108,000 for state children’s health insurance expenses; and $9,750 for low-income energy assistance. According to the New York Times, Walmart workers are sicker on average than most American workers. And yet, the billionaire enterprise has done everything in its power to provide the cheapest health insurance plan possible for its employees, using taxpayer subsidies to fund most of these plans. With wages so low, the vast majority of Walmart employees can’t afford health care at all. But even so, if they want to receive some sort of health benefits, they have to disburse 20 percent co-pays, as well as a $5,000 out-of-pocket payment. This means that, if a Walmart worker gets severely ill, they could end up with a $7,500 medical bill.
Unfortunately, the iconic store chain has become an example of capitalism at its worse. Four members of the Walton family, the founders of Walmart, collectively own more than $100 billion in wealth, which accounts for more than the entire 40% bottom half of U.S. income earners collectively own. They do everything they can not to give up a penny more than they have to, and being the richest family in the world, they also become the ugliest reflection of corporate greed.
The problem is not being wealthy and influential, but building a huge fortune on the backs of extremely-low paid workers and using whatever strategies they can to avoid having to pay estate and inheritance taxes on their assets, and even using malicious techniques such as establishing a type of charitable trust that can shelter money from taxes, and later put that money back into the pockets of family heirs. Sometimes, with a profit! Sam Walton was actually known for being morally opposed to charity. He said, “We have never been inclined to give any undeserving stranger a free ride,” and “We feel very strongly that Walmart really is not, and should not be, in the charity business.” It’s, in fact, everyone else who should do that to support their underpaid employees.
That’s why criticism of Walmart has become about as common as the store itself, and it appears to be getting worse over time. In today’s video, we gathered some of the most shocking facts about the big-box retailer which prove that the company does live up to its bad reputation.
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