Working Class Rollback — Why Republicans Are the Ones Creating “Government Dependence”

walmartlowwagesWe all want a deal. We all want to maximize our dollar spent; it’s only common sense. That’s why we seek “bargains” and look for the lowest price possible. After all, if a company is willing to sell you something dirt cheap, what’s the harm in taking them up on it? That’s capitalism, right? What could possibly go wrong when products are sold so cheaply you almost wonder how the store is able to make a profit?

You will create an impoverished working class; that’s what will go wrong.

Just one Super Walmart in Wisconsin will wind up costing the American people around $900,000. Why? Because in order to subsidize selling you that Cuisinart at 20% below the competitor’s price that week, Walmart has to play their employees extremely meager wages with absolutely zero benefits. The issue is one of simple economics. When your labor force is paid so little that their dependence on government assistance skyrockets — they need to fill in the gaps created by their wages as compared to their cost of living. It really doesn’t take much thought to figure out that if you keep a segment of the population working at wages that do not allow people to fend for themselves, they will not be able to fend for themselves.

So there you have it — evidence that Reaganomics, Trickle-Down, Voodoo Economics, whatever you want to call the prevailing conservative paradigm is straight-up toxic to our social security net. For the divisive and untrue rhetoric from the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Tea Party-backed congressmen, the truth is that it’s not the Democratic party whose policies are built to set up dependence on the government, it’s the Republicans’ anti-labor policies having that impact. For thirty years now the balance of power has shifted further from the middle ground between labor and employer.

The reality of the situation is that Walmart’s business model includes taxpayer subsidies in the form of feeding and sheltering their employees. Shouldn’t that be the job of the employer, to provide wages that at least allow for their employees to eat and get medications they need? You have to believe that Walmart isn’t the only company short-shrifting both the American taxpayers and their work force. Why exactly does every fast food chain have a “value menu” where you can buy 12,000 calories of grease and fried potato for under a buck? Granted, the food used to create Whoppers and Big Macs isn’t expensive, but paying their fry cooks and cashiers well enough to where they don’t need food stamps apparently is.

People on the right love to kvetch about paying other people’s way in life, and they also complain about minimum wage, but just think about how much more that Wisconsin Walmart would cost people if employers could pay their staff however low they could find people willing to work for? Time and again we are starting to see the real impacts of Reaganomics on the middle class, and according to the report on Walmart’s wages, the working poor as well.

It’s a logical conclusion for anyone outside the conservative bubble that while the government should avoid stepping into how a business sets its wages in terms of a ceiling, there absolutely needs to be a floor from which to build up. Otherwise, the result is what we have now — a class of workers that absolutely have to rely on the taxpayers for help. Being the good hippie/liberal/commie that I am, I have zero problem helping those who need it; but it strikes me as the most poignant of ironies that for decades the right-wing in this country has tried to insist that it’s liberals who want people addicted to government hand-outs while all the while championing policies that actually do create more need for assistance.

Then again, when it comes to ideological consistency, looking to Tea Party Republicans isn’t exactly going to get you results. They are “Pro-Life” unless either someone is uninsured and needs medicine, or if they have committed a capital crime, then it’s kill ’em all and let Jebus sort them out. They’re the party of “less government” unless you’re a homosexual who wants to get married or a woman who wants to have a say in what she does with her vagina. In fact, even this notion that conservative fiscal policies lead to more poverty and more stress on the social safety net isn’t anything new; look at Europe’s ill-fated trek through Austerity Land as proof of that concept.

James Schlarmann

James is in his thirties and gets really passionately angry about politics. Sometimes that anger foments into diatribes, and sometimes those diatribes are comical. Other times, they are not. James is the founding contributor and editor-in-chief of The Political Garbage Chute, a left-leaning satire and commentary site, which can be found on Facebook as well.


Facebook comments

  • David D’Champ

    Wal-Marts employment model is a lie. Costcos shows that you can still offer low prices and not sacrifice your employees to do it. The whole problem with too many companies in the USA is the upside-down wage system them employ to keep as much money at the top level as possible. That is an employment model that is doomed to fail at some point in time no matter what the Uber-Rich tell you.

    • Chuck Reed

      you notice it’s all about “fair market price” for a CEO but don’t even go there about labor or you will be called a commie.

  • granny47

    I’m neutral on where to shop, but why do they always say that Walmart doesn’t provide insurance. My daughter works for Walmart and has EXCELLENT BC/BS insurance at a very reasonable cost to her! I am a nurse and gave flu shots last year and the Walmart/Sam’s Club customers who came in had the best coverage, hands down!

    • Chuck Reed

      Well granny how was the coverage for the 80 something percentage of employees that do not have any insurance at all?

  • Photographic_Memory

    Wal-mart and McDonalds are multi-billion dollar companies. It’s not the low prices, it’s the the unwillingness to pay their employees a living wage. Check out McDonalds Annual Reports sometime (easily available). The government absolutely should step in and set a ceiling for at least upper management pay (especially as concerns CEOs), who often get multi million dollar bonuses when doing a terrible job, or even to be forced to quit. The number couldn’t be arbitrary, it would have to be related to profit levels (it could help to simultaneously require some to be ear marked by law to go to non-management employees, with oversight from the SEC).