Friday, June 04, 2004

Wal-Mart is bad for America

Why you're right:

1. Wal-Mart destroys more jobs than it creates. A new Wal-Mart destroys jobs by putting local merchants out of business. The jobs Wal-Mart creates are fewer, lower-paying and mostly part-time. (Good Jobs First)

2. Wal-Mart burdens public health care programs. Most jobs at Wal-Mart have little or no health benefits. Wal-Mart encourages its workers to seek public assistance for their health care. In Georgia, 10,000 children of Wal-Mart employees were enrolled in the public health insurance program. (NOW with Bill Moyers, AFL-CIO)

3. Wal-Mart exploits workers. The average hourly worker makes just $18,000 dollars a year. Meanwhile, in 2002, the corporation raked in $6.6 billion in profits. Wal-Mart has known for years that many of its stores violate child labor laws and state regulations requiring work breaks - but has done little, if anything, to stop it. (Mother Jones, New York Times)

4. Wal-Mart degrades the environment. The federal government charged Wal-Mart with violating the Clean Water Act in 17 locations across the country. Run-off from Wal-Mart construction sites polluted drinking water, streams and lakes. To settle the charges Wal-Mart agreed to pay a $1 million dollar fine. (EPA)

Why They're Wrong:

Proponents of Wal-Mart tout their low prices - and the positive impact they have on the purchasing power of consumers. But Wal-Mart is able to provide low prices because they are heavily subsidized by taxpayers. In addition to relying on public health care for their employees, Wal-Mart has benefited from over $1 billion in economic development subsidies. (Good Jobs First)

A Better Idea:

Make corporations like Wal-Mart help pay for public assistance programs from which they benefit. Instead of providing taxpayer subsidies to Wal-Mart, invest in businesses that provide stable jobs with adequate wages and health benefits.