That Wal-Mart store you pass by on the highway is costing you a lot of money. A 25 page report released last week by Congressman George Miller (D-CA), the ranking member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, says that American taxpayers are paying the tab for Wal-Mart’s low wages and benefits for its 1.5 million workers. The report, “Everyday Low Wages: The Hidden Price We All Pay for Wal-Mart,” calculates that a typical Wal-Mart with 200 workers costs federal taxpayers $420,750 per year, or about $2,103 per worker. Congressional researchers found that Wal-Mart’s everyday low wages were being “subsidized” by U.S. taxpayers as follows:
* $36,000 a year to provide free and reduced lunches for the children of Wal-Mart families.
* $42,000 a year for housing assistance.
* $125,000 a year for federal tax credits and deductions for low-income families.
* $100,000 a year for additional child tax credits.
* $108,000 a year for federal health care costs of moving into state children’s health insurance programs.
* $9,750 a year for the additional costs of low-income energy assistance.
The new report concludes that “Wal-Mart success has meant downward pressures on wages and benefits, rampant violations of basic worker’s rights, and threats to the standard of living in communities across the country. The success of business need not come at the expense of workers and their families. Such short-sighted profit-making strategies ultimately undermine our economy.”
Congressman Miller’s report is available on line from: http://edworkforce.house.gov/democrats/
WALMARTREPORT.pdf. The report notes: “Among Wal-Mart employees, some single workers may be able to make ends meet. Others may be forced to take on two or three jobs. Others may have a spouse with a better job. And others simply cannot make ends meet…Wal-Mart’s profits are not made only on teh backs of its employees — but on the backs of every U.S. taxpayer.”