Wal-Mart’s Low Prices Cost Taxpayers Plenty

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walmartWal-Mart is a favorite of many consumers because of its low prices, but a new report claims those bargains have a dark side.

Because of the chain’s low wages, its workers are often pushed to accept public aid, including food stamps and subsidized housing, according to a report from congressional Democrats.

That means a single Wal-Mart Supercenter store in Wisconsin may require taxpayers to shell out as much as $1.7 million per year — or nearly $6,000 per employee — in aid, according to one estimate in the report. A second estimate pegged the cost to taxpayers at a lower $904,542 per Supercenter. The study examined Wal-Mart stores in Wisconsin because of the availability of Medicaid enrollment data for the fourth quarter of 2012.
“When low wages leave Wal-Mart workers unable to afford the necessities of life, taxpayers pick up the tab,” the report notes. “Taxpayer-funded public benefit programs make up the difference between Wal-Mart’s low wages and the costs of subsistence.”
Wal-Mart defended its record by noting the company offers opportunities to its workers, spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan told The Huffington Post. She said 75% of Wal-Mart managers started as hourly employees. The company provides “a chance to move up in the ranks,” she said.
It’s not as if Wal-Mart doesn’t have the resources to increase wages. The retailer, which employs about 1.4 million U.S. workers, earned $17 billion in profits last year. While the report notes it’s not clear how much Wal-Mart pays its hourly workers, one research company pegs the average at $8.81. (That’s above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 but below President Barack Obama’s call for a $9 baseline wage.)
At $8.81 per hour, the average Wal-Mart sales associate would gross about $18,300 per year, or well within the income range for a family of four to receive food stamps.
In Wisconsin, Wal-Mart was ranked as the employer with the most workers on the state’s Medicaid program, the report notes. Even though 3,216 employees qualify for Medicaid, Wal-Mart is responsible for 9,207 enrollees because of children and adult dependents of those workers.
Meanwhile, some Wal-Mart employees are participating in strikes around the country and leading a protest in caravans to the company’s annual shareholder meeting on Friday, the Nation notes.


{Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. If you reduce the benefits, and increase the levels for qualifications, then Wal-MArt would cost us nothing.

  2. What about the other department stores and supermarkets. Why not check them out too, so that they can be compared to walmart. I wouldn’t be surprised if their wages are just as low.

  3. The correct headline should be “The Government’s giveaways cost taxpayers trillions, among them Walmart’s workers”. If we are going to blame Walmart for their workers’ government benefits then give them credit for the real estate, sales, and corporate income taxes, among others, that they pay. Figure in too the unemployment benefits that the taxpayers save by having these workers gainfully employed. There is also significant economic activity caused by the lower prices that Walmart offers its customers.So if you want to go down that path, instead of pushing your liberal anti successful business agenda,lets be fair and look at the full picture.


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