Monday, April 18, 2005

Please don't shop at Walmart's - part 2

You know they closed down a store in Canada because the workers voted to unionize. Now workers at every other store will be afraid to organize for fear of losing their jobs altogether. And you already know that they force prices down so low that manufacturers have to ship factory jobs overseas putting American laborers out of work. Now read about how they are subsidized in two ways by our tax dollars in an article by Susan Lundine and Christine Selvaggi Baumann entitled, "Reports blast 'double-dipping' by Wal-Mart". Here are two passages:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which has reaped millions of dollars in government subsidies to expand its operations in Florida, is potentially the state's biggest user of the Medicaid system.

The nation's largest employer and grocery retailer, which constantly battles allegations of substandard employee wages and benefits, has more Medicaid-eligible employees and/or dependents than any company in Florida, according to the state Department of Children & Families.
And accepting subsidies while having so many Medicaid-eligible employees is something "we look at as double-dipping," says Philip Mattera, research director of Good Jobs First, the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that wrote the report. "They're hitting up taxpayers in two ways to finance their expansion.

"We're talking about a company that has about $288 billion in revenue and $10 billion in profits," Mattera says. "Why should state or local governments give handouts to this company?"

When you shop at Walmart's you are supporting unjust labor practices, the exporting of American jobs and poverty level wages. Isn't that, on a deep moral level, a kind of theft? Personally, I want to pay the kind of prices for goods that represents their true cost from a fair trade point of view. If that means I can't afford all the stuff I could possibly want, well, that's undoubtedly good for my character. Why, in our culture, do we feel so entitled to cheap goods - and more and more of them? Is outrageous materialism really worth the human cost involved?

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