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Wal-Mart - expensive at any retail price

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Wal-Mart - expensive at any retail price

While many will look only at the retail prices of a company like Wal-Mart, these bargains may not be so cheap. In fact, by the time you add in the hidden taxes that you or your grandchildren will pay, you may be paying more than you think.

In Georgia, children of Wal-Mart employees made up over 10,000 of those on Georgia's health-care program for uninsured kids, the PeachCare for Kids program. The next largest employer, Publix, had only 700.

American corporations have changed in the last few decades. They now look at the government as means to increase their profits, by letting the citizens (that's you) cover many of their responsibilities with tax dollars.

The following article shows how one of the world's most profitable corporations has a corporate strategy of letting the tax payers pick up the tab for health care costs. Didn't this same corporation just pay a large fine for deliberate hiring of illegal immigrants?

Of course you also know who picks up the social costs of illegal immigrants!

Interesting comment about large campaign contributions though:

But in Maryland, Gov. Robert Ehrlich himself is on the Wal-Mart dole. He accepted thousands in campaign funds from Wal-Mart in January, just as Wal-Mart poured $250,000 into the Florida Republican Party coffers last year.

Just another example of the unholy influence that our new breed of multi-national corporations have on your local, State and federal government. A Wal-Mart Georgia Campaign Summary Report is at the bottom of the page. It is getting worse by the way, not better - and will continue to do so until you, the citizens, put a stop to it.

They do have good prices and sometimes you might even find something manufactured in the US on their shelves!

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Wal-Mart: the $288 billion welfare queen


MY VIEW
 

Wal-Mart is the sort of company for which superlatives were invented. Just named the number-one corporation on the Fortune 500 list for the fourth year in a row, the country's largest private employer pulled down roughly $288 billion in revenue last year - and over $10 billion in pure profit.

That's larger than the annual GDP of Saudi Arabia. Five of the top 10 richest Americans hail from the Walton family. And yet Wal-Mart is what former President Ronald Reagan might refer to as, well, a welfare queen.

As states across the country struggle to balance budgets and keep their Medicaid programs in check, data from Florida and 12 other states show Wal-Mart to be a top corporate beneficiary of state-run, taxpayer-funded programs like Medicaid.

That is, the retail behemoth deliberately cuts corners on employee health care, forcing a disproportionate number of its employees into state programs in order to receive health care for themselves and their families.

Of Wal-Mart's 1.2 million employees, only about 500,000 of them receive Wal-Mart health care. That's because the employee share of premiums is so high - in some cases, up to $250 per month, about 25 percent of the average monthly salary of a Wal-Mart hourly employee - that many full-time workers simply can't afford it.

In Florida, Wal-Mart has 91,000 employees. Every time an uninsured Wal-Mart worker goes to the ER and can't afford to pay for treatments, all Floridians are picking up the bill. Meanwhile, our Medicaid system is in crisis.

As health-care costs explode and job-based coverage declines across the board, more and more hardworking Americans are being forced into an already cash-strapped system. Medicaid costs in Florida, never cheap, have more than doubled over the past 10 years, from approximately $6 billion in 1995 to more than $14 billion today. To the extent that Medicaid is in crisis, Wal-Mart is a significant part of the problem.

It might be tempting to dismiss this issue as a larger one of corporate welfare, or to argue that we're singling out Wal-Mart unfairly. But facts are facts: Wal-Mart does not just shift health-care costs onto taxpayers, it does so at a level well beyond that of any other employer.

Five employers in Florida account for 29,000 Medicaid-eligible individuals (employees or dependents). Wal-Mart's share represents 42 percent of that group. In Georgia, children of Wal-Mart employees made up over 10,000 of those on Georgia's health-care program for uninsured kids, the PeachCare for Kids program. The next largest employer, Publix, had only 700.

Wal-Mart sees no problem with this. For evidence, you can go straight to the top. In a two-day "open house" with the press at Bentonville, Ark., headquarters earlier this month, Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott was asked why so many Wal-Mart employees are getting their health care from public assistance programs instead of their employer. Scott said, "In some of our states, the public program may actually be a better value - with relatively high income limits to qualify, and low premiums."

Government programs are a safety net for low-income Americans, not a competitor to the largest, most profitable company in the world. But more importantly, Scott is admitting that Wal-Mart takes advantage of public health programs for its own competitive ends: It passes costs onto taxpayers as a business strategy - not as an unfortunate consequence of some heretofore unrealized deficiency in its health-care program.

Finally, his response is entirely disingenuous. Scott acts as though public programs are a better deal for workers, when really they're simply a better deal for Wal-Mart. It's not that Wal-Mart can't afford to do better. It's that Wal-Mart chooses not to.

The Maryland Legislature recently passed a bill that would make large employers like Wal-Mart pay their fair share. It would require all companies with 10,000 or more employees to spend at least 8 percent of their payroll on providing health care for their workers or to pay into a state health care fund.

But in Maryland, Gov. Robert Ehrlich himself is on the Wal-Mart dole. He accepted thousands in campaign funds from Wal-Mart in January, just as Wal-Mart poured $250,000 into the Florida Republican Party coffers last year.

Call it "hush money": Wal-Mart keeps lining its pockets with taxpayer money, and the governors agree to keep quiet about it. It's about time someone stood up to them.

Source: http://www.tallahassee.com/mld/democrat/news/opinion/11426271.htm

 

From Georgia Secretary of State web site:

Office Sought:  
Chairperson and/or Treasurer:
Smalling, Laurie
Reporting Entity: Wal-Mart Stores Inc. PAC For Responsible Government
Contact Telephone:
(202) 783-1497
Address: 702 S.W. 8th Street
Campaign Committee?
No
  Bentonville, AR 72716
Registered with Secretary of State?
Yes
     
 
Summary Information
Contributions
In Kind (estimate)
Cash
Beginning Balance
$0.00
$1,104,993.93
Contributions greater than $101 This Period
$0.00
$211,830.83
Contributions less than $101 This Period
$0.00
$64,114.03
Total Contributions This Period
$0.00
$275,944.86
Total Contributions To Date
$0.00
$1,380,938.79
Expenditures
Cash
Beginning Balance
$24,500.00
Expenditures greater than $101 This Period
$5,000.00
Expenditures less than $101 This Period
$0.00
Total Expenditures This Period
$5,000.00
Total Expenditures To Date
$29,500.00
Net Balance On Hand
$301,464.31

Webmasters note: The above report for December 31, 2004 is out of balance! Total Contributions To Date minus Total Expenditures To Date should be equal to Net Balance On Hand. There is only about $1,000,000.00 missing in this summary section of the report. So much for accuracy in reporting.

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