The United States of Wal-Mart by John Dicker
Okay, they are anti-Union and a huge chunk of their employees get paid so little that they are on Medicaid. Okay, people with minimum wage jobs or no jobs shop at Wal-Mart because their prices are low. Why are the prices so low? Because they pay their employees so little -- and because they buy merchandise from overseas, which eliminates many of the jobs formerly held by their customers.
It's kind of like the Bush Administration economic policies all rolled up in one corporation, or was that Enron?
But we digress.
Wal-Mart is becoming the big fat target that symbolizes the widening income gap in America, globalization, government subsidies of private businesses, and the decline of the middle class, not to mention conservative politics and onerous work demands of its employees.
And there's more coming. "Outfoxed" producer is doing a documentary on Wal-Mart coming out in the fall (and we can assure you it won't be a Valentine), and another book on the company is do out around the same time.
To us, Wal-Mart is most symbolic of the self-cannibalization it represents of the working poor, the non-working, and the lower middle class who buy goods made overseas because they can't afford ones made in the U.S.A. It's kind of like patronizing your own economic slaughterhouse.
The book is chock full of factual and anecdotal information about Wal-Mart and its founder Sam Walton, such as, "It employs one of every 115 American workers. If it were a nation-state, it would be one of the world's top twenty economies." It has yearly sales of some $260 billion.
If Wal-Mart isn't slowed down, America is headed toward third world status, subsidized by the taxpayers, who foot the bill for worker's social needs beyond what their low wages can afford them.
Wal-Mart may put forth a smiley face, but it has one of the highest employee turnover rates in retailing. Obviously, not everyone is happy -- and for good reason.