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The High Cost Of Wal Mart Essay

2036 words - 9 pages

There is a new welfare queen on the block and this one is richer, bigger and even greedier than any account of the 1990s welfare queens that led to the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996, which hampered the ability for the 90s narrative of welfare queens to become a reality. The new welfare queen is Wal-Mart and it is costing the American taxpayer a substantial sum each year. Each year Wal-Mart costs the American taxpayer $2.66 billion dollars in government assistance or approximately $420,000 per store. At this same time CEO Mike Dukes earn more money in one hour than one of his associates will earn in a year and Wal-Mart raked in 15 billion dollars worth of annual ...view middle of the document...

In Maine, Wal-Mart has topped employers with the largest number of workers on MaineCare, Food Stamps and Temporary Assistance For Needy Families. These workers, particularly the associates, are not being lazy. Rather, they are forced into the country's safety net programs by Wal-Mart’s low wages and limited benefits. In Maine, the Wal-Mart issue is a microcosm of what is happening across the country.
The average sales associate at Wal-Mart earns only $8.81 per hour, which translates to less than $16,000 dollars annually. For a family of two, that is below the minimum criteria level for qualification of government subsidies, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Medicaid (medical and various health-related services for citizens with low incomes). The poverty line for a family of two is set at $15,730 and to be eligible for SNAP the income must be at or below 130% of the poverty line. While, for Medicaid participants must be at or below 133% of the poverty line, which would correlate to $20,920. In both of these cases the average sales associate that has a family of two earns approximately four thousand dollars below the federal poverty guidelines that are set for these entitlement programs. If we were to consider a family with children the burden continues to grow. A family of three is well below the poverty line, which is at $19,790. A single adult earning that amount of money is very close to the federal guideline and depending on how much their net income would be after the many costs of life, they could be eligible for entitlement programs. SNAP and Medicaid are not the only government programs that a Wal-Mart employee earning $8.81 an hour would be eligible for. In Maine, we should take special notice to the Low Income Energy Assistance program, which requires a family of two to make no more than $22,695 to be eligible. This brutal winter surely has made the demand for energy assistance very high. Subsidized housing can also be a factor, as the income requirement varies by county in Maine. If a Wal-Mart associate has children, then they most likely will be on the Child Nutrition program, which requires households to be at or below 130% of the poverty level for free lunch and at or below 185% for reduced lunch. Overall, there is a plethora of programs that a Wal-Mart sales associate can qualify for because of the low wages. However, this cost is pushed onto the American taxpayer and as you may expect, it is not cheap. When a business pays the average employee an annual pay of approximately $15,576, how is someone expected to survive with the many costs of life.
In Maine, jobs are not as abundant as they once were. Historically speaking, Maine was a state that once possessed vast manufacturing industries. Citizens of Maine could once find easy employment at the vast manufacturing industries, which paid a great deal of money. In fact, many of these industries, such the shoe manufacturing worked by piecework....

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