Sen. Bernie Sanders was given a chance to respond to the interview he did on CNN with former Director of the Congressional Budget Office and McCain economic advisor Douglas Holtz-Eakin on MSNBC this Saturday, and he did a really great job once again with getting to the heart of what's wrong with the arguments by these cheap labor advocates, who want to defend the poverty wages being paid to those making minimum wage right now.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) appeared on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” on Saturday and scoffed at the idea that major corporations like Walmart can’t afford to pay their workers a living wage and that to raise the U.S. minimum wage would be bad for the economy.
Sanders said that the overwhelming majority of the U.S. population believes that the current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour is “obscene” and a “starvation wage.” He said that he hopes to mount a strong push in the Senate to raise the minimum wage and that if enough grass roots support builds around the country, “we can force the House to do the right thing.”
“We have to create millions of new jobs” to help the economy, he said, “but we also have to make the minimum wage a living wage.”
On The Ed Show, Sen. Sanders responded to the Republican claim that Wal-Mart can’t afford to wage employee wages with a few choice words for the Walton family:
Ed, you want to hear one of the great obsenities of our time? The wealthiest family in this country is the Walton family. They’re worth about $100 billion. That’s more wealth than the bottom 40% of the American people. One of the reasons the Walton family the owners of Wal-Mart are so wealthy is that they receive huge subsidies from the taxpayers of this country.
When you pay at Wal-Mart starvation wages. You don’t provide benefits. Who picks up the difference? The answer is that many of the workers in Wal-Mart end up getting Medicaid. They get food stamps. They get affordable housing paid for by the taxpayers of this country, while the Walton family remains the wealthiest family in the country. If that is not obscene, I don’t know what is.
According to Wal-Mart Subsidy Watch, Wal-Mart has received, “More than $1.2 billion in tax breaks, free land, infrastructure assistance, low-cost financing and outright grants from state and local governments around the country.”
A May 2013 study by the House Democratic Staff of the Committee on Education and the Workforce found that single Wal-Mart Supercenter costs taxpayers $904,542 per year, and could cost taxpayers up to $1,744,590 per year in public assistance costs. As of July 2012, Wal-Mart had 4,253 stores. Wal-Mart’s refusal to pay their workers a living wage costs taxpayers millions of dollars a year.
Republicans defend what Wal-Mart is doing as the free market, but there is nothing free market about taking billions of dollars from taxpayers while forcing those same taxpayers to support their employees, because Wal-Mart will not pay adequate wages. That isn’t the free market. It is corporate welfare.
When Republicans oppose raising the minimum wage, they are supporting lining the pockets of the Walton family with your money.
Amen to that one brother. And as he rightfully noted, even if you don't want to shop at Walmart because of their business practices, you're stuck helping them out anyway due to the social services their employees are receiving.
The Republicans keep pretending they hate welfare. They only hate it for poor people. They love it for the likes of Walmart and their ilk. If they really wanted to put a stop to the corporate welfare, they'd support raising the minimum wage considerably as of about yesterday. Don't hold your breath for that to happen any time soon.