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00h UTC; SATURDAY, 13 OCTOBER 2012: As if Walmart wasn't already becoming its own worst joke, unravelling as it is in the face of industrial action by "associates" (as the retail giant euphemistically calls its employees) of late, along comes word of their emphasising their "Neighbourhood Market" approach in further expansion plans from next year--as in smaller stores in inner-city "group areas" offering a limited selection of groceries aimed at forcing "healthy competition" at the expense of smaller independent markets and convenience stores.

Meanwhile, an interesting piece at DailyKos.com reveals just how much of a "welfare quean" Walmart is simply by a) exploiting "welfare queans" themselves as their core market; and b) reducing its associates to "welfare quean" status because of willfully and consciously keeping wages all the lower just to keep costs down and maximise profits. Money quotes therefrom:
What is shameful is that CEO Mike Duke makes more money in one hour, than his employees earn in an entire year. Yet, Walmart – which employs millions of people in its stores, distribution centers, and warehouses – continues to abuse its employees and refuses to pay them a livable wage. The company has frequently been charged with wage theft claims by workers who point to the most common forms of wage theft: the refusal to pay proper overtime, the refusal to honor the minimum wage, and illegal paycheck deductions.

Meanwhile, Walmart routinely blocks any attempt by workers to organize, using anti-union propaganda and scare tactics, firing employees without just cause, failing to provide any form of decent healthcare coverage or a livable wage.

To make matters worse, these abusive Walmart policies have increased employee reliance on government assistance and the need for a government funded social safety net. In fact, Walmart has become the number one driver behind the growing use of food stamps in the United States with "as many as 80 percent of workers in Wal-Mart stores using food stamps."
Wal-Mart's poverty wages force employees to rely on $2.66 billion in government help every year, or about $420,000 per store. In state after state, Wal-Mart employees are the top recipients of Medicaid. As many as 80 percent of workers in Wal-Mart stores use food stamps.
Walmart's employees receive $2.66 billion in government help every year, or about $420,000 per store. They are also the top recipients of Medicaid in numerous states. Why does this occur? Walmart fails to provide a livable wage and decent healthcare benefits, costing U.S. taxpayers an annual average of $1.02 billion in healthcare costs. This direct public subsidy is being given to offset the failures of an international corporate giant who shouldn’t be shifting part of its labor costs onto the American taxpayers.
Wal-Mart workers’ reliance on public assistance due to substandard wages and benefits has become a form of indirect public subsidy to the company. In effect, Wal-Mart is shifting part of its labor costs onto the public.
And in the wnd, guess who pays for it?

You guessed it: The same Good Taxpayers who wind up bawling and whning and caterwauling and boohoohooing about taxes being too high already, that the State is "unravelling out of control," that many thousands of once-proud Good Workers are being forced out of the labour market as their emplyers whine about "undue regulatory burden" preventing their being able to expand or otherwise add new hires on their own terms--the same Good Taxpayers of a base, crude and primitive brand of True Patriot Love Thou Dost in Us Command as required through the "Tea Party," Fox News Channel, conservative prolefeed radio and Primitive Christian "churches" using the cover of Yahweh to excuse nativist and xenophobic jingoism not exactly in the Bible.

Who, it turns out, are too dependent upon Walmart for their shopping needs, unaware of the greater choices available out there (including goods of AmeriKKKan manufacture--more on this point presently--such so-called "patriots" insist upon buying) thanks to the Luscious Glory of the very ideal of ekonomesie vryheid met Amerikaanse eienskappe they claim to be the Guardians, Defenders and Torchbearers of.

And Your Correspondent thinks the Walmart employees as are now taking, or are prepared to take, Industrial Action to call attention to Walmart's abuses, perversions and travesties of ekonomesie vryheid, &c., at the expense of the "welfare queans" they cherish as their core customer base are Doing The Right Thing; as the Daily Kos item concludes:
They are fed up. And we should be too. Walmart should no longer be allowed to turn its back on the American worker and push its labor costs onto the American taxpayer. We need to protect our social safety net, American workers and American taxpayers. If Walmart can afford to pay CEO Mike Duke an $18.1 million bonus package, it can afford to provide a living wage for those whose sweat and hard work has made Walmart one of the richest corporations in the world.
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As for that desire of the so-called "REAL AmeriKKKan" to "buying AmeriKKKan" for once, if largely out of a desire to "protect American jobs [and] promote pride in America," Dave Zweifel, in his role as Editor Emeritus of The Capital Times (Madison, WI), publishes an occasional essay under the title "Plain Talk" in its online continuation, CapTimes.com; a recent such was a call to--you guessed it--"buying American."

The which deserves to be quoted in its entire for maximum impact:
The Great Recession hasn’t been pretty, but there is one good thing that can be said for it — it has at least rekindled an awareness that it might do us some good to buy products actually made in America.

All too many American jobs have been lost to overseas markets, many of them because U.S. corporations have found it more profitable to outsource production to countries where labor is cheap. The irony is that many of these corporations beat their breasts about how great a country we have, yet they’re willing to sacrifice their own American workers for a few extra bucks in the quarterly dividend pool.

The outsourcing of jobs is, of course, an issue in the current presidential campaign. Mitt Romney claims Barack Obama has been “soft” on challenging China’s low valuation of its currency, while Obama counters that Romney’s being disingenuous because it was he who personally sent thousands of U.S. jobs there while leading corporate investor, Bain Capital. The president has further charged that Romney’s tax plans would actually encourage outsourcing while his policies are aimed at bringing jobs back to the states.

Nevertheless, Dick Healy of Verona insists that even though goods made in foreign lands are produced by cheap labor, there are still plenty of good bargains on products made in good, old America. All you need do is shop around, a letter he forwarded to me a few weeks back explained.

Healy’s information is based on a report from ABC news anchor Diane Sawyer, who earlier this year embarked on a “buy America” campaign, one of several that have popped up in the country in the past few years.

For example, a wastebasket at Wal-Mart that was made in China was priced at $6.99. A shopper asked the clerk if there were others to pick from and she took him to another department that had U.S.-made wastebaskets for $2.50. Same for a kitchen rug. The guy had to look around, but he found some made in the USA for $3 less than those made overseas.

Often the big home improvement stores stock only tools and products made in China and other foreign countries where American jobs have been outsourced. Little neighborhood Ace Hardware stores are more likely to carry the made-in-USA brands.

Colgate toothpaste is made in Mexico. Crest is made here at home. Often GE light bulbs carry a made-in-Mexico label while unbranded “everyday value” bulbs are manufactured by a company in Cleveland, Ohio.

The challenge for shoppers is to read the labels because, as Healy’s letter points out, you might be able to not only save some money, but maybe even save some American jobs, too.

“Stop buying from overseas companies,” the letter adds, “you’re sending the jobs there.”

Indeed, Sawyer’s made-in-America crusade determined that if every American spent just $64 more each year than he or she normally spends, and purchased goods made in the U.S., it would create 200,000 more American jobs.

One of the reasons the American economy soared after World War II is that Americans bought locally. They patronized local merchants, they bought American-made cars, they shopped at the neighborhood supermarket.

Money goes a lot further when it is spread around locally. As Dick Healy points out, we can do that again.
Enough of a reason, perhaps, to start showing solidarity with the aforementioned Walmart "associates" risking their lives, their career rpospects, their credit records even, to defend a decent standard of living as benefits all of us Real Americans (unlike the Fox News simulation expected to cheerfully shop at Walmart and have no regard for what they're really doing through their patronage)--even if it means having to start looking for more small businesses as actually carry American-manufacture goods at decent prices for once.

So what stands in the way otherwise?



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