Sunday, March 06, 2005

We all support Wal-Mart, whether we want to or not

“Estimated total federal assistance for which Wal-Mart employees were eligible last year: $2.5 billion” - Harper’s Index™ March 2005

I do not shop at Wal-Mart, but I am forced to contribute to the wages and benefits of its employees, merely because Wal-Mart would prefer not to fully remunerate those employees for their labor.

Wal-Mart is not alone in this, but because of their size, they are the biggest offenders. Any employer that does not pay its employees a living wage and/or does not provide health benefits passes these costs along to the taxpayers, whether we choose to purchase the employer’s products or services, or not.

If an employer cannot afford the upkeep on their machinery, they do not have the option of foisting that cost off onto us, so why do we allow them to do so with their human workers? Any business that “cannot afford” to pay a living wage and provide for the “upkeep” of their workers should accept that their business plan is flawed and that they need to revise their pricing structure to better cover their actual expenses. To instead demand that non-customers pay these costs of upkeep is unethical and ought to be illegal.

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