Walmart

Food Stamps: Profits from Poor at Risk

Consider the irony of companies like Walmart that economically forces their employees to apply for food stamps, and then profits from their food stamp dollars. That's not more public welfare, that's more corporate welfare. But now those profits are at risk, because the GOP's current version of a farm bill includes ZERO for food stamps --- meaning, 1 in 6 Americans could also go hungry.

The Triangle Fire Goes Global

trianglefireOn March 25, 1911 a fire broke out in the Triangle Shirtwaist factory where 146 workers died. The company had blocked the exits and the stairwells so employees couldn't leave or take a break. As the fire spread, workers were trapped and the only escape was to jump ten stories to their deaths. The outrage sparked reforms and unionization for U.S. garment workers.

Over 100 years later on November 24th, 2012 the exact same thing happened. Workers burned alive and jumping to their deaths has gone global. In a history repeats itself Déjà vu, we've outsourced our history of worker exploitation and lack of safe work environments along with American jobs. Once again, fire escape routes were locked by managers and workers couldn't escape the flames. In Bangladesh 112 people were killed in a garment factory fire.

The flames at the Tazreen Fashions factory outside Dhaka spread rapidly on the ground floor, trapping those on the higher floors of the nine-story building. There were no exterior fire escapes, according to officials, and many died after jumping from upper floors to escape the flames.

As firemen continued to remove bodies Sunday, officials said at least 112 people had died but that the number of fatalities could go higher.

Walmart's Low Prices Bear a High Cost for America

For untold millions, Walmart is not simply a place to shop, but the place. Considering that the quintessential big-box retailer claims to, and often does, offer just about every conventional item necessary for the family at an affordable price, this should be none too surprising.

However, at what cost does this convenience come, and in the grander scheme of things, is what Walmart has to offer really convenience at all? The company’s ownership would most definitely say so, as would throngs of eager consumers. Many economists, social scientists, and former employees, though, have a strikingly different opinion. While one can choose to believe whichever side of the argument he or she likes best, where do the facts lie?

First and foremost, it should be known that every single American taxpayer is essentially footing the bill for Walmart’s mere existence.

According to Reuters, this is because, as a study published last year by the City University of New York’s Hunter College Center for Community Planning showed, company employees receive inadequate health insurance coverage and in turn are left with few other options than to apply for public assistance. Beyond providing a lack of medical benefits, Walmart’s presence in most regions, says the study, "Depresses area wages....pushes out more retail jobs than it creates, and results in more retail vacancies."