Lisa's Rants and Raves
Ladies and Germs: I'm taking the opportunity to place a repeat in this section. I'm still getting adjusted to this weird “empty compound” syndrome since my kid has exited stage left.
Also this particular piece really fits in with the advertising campaign that I sold this time. Please folks, take a moment to check out our “Shop Locally” region of this fine publication. These small businesses NEED you in order to survive and so do we, frankly.
With that, I'm off. (The End and Interstate Crosscheck in parenthesis at the beginning of a column – a digression too.)
Do you recall the infamous “welfare queen” of whom that god of the right wing Ronald Reagan spoke? If you do not, this might not make a whole lot of sense but then again, does it ever?
Back in the 1980s Reagan described a welfare recipient who tooled about the country in “her” Cadillac, or some such nonsense. He utilized some other bizarre descriptions of said “woman” as well, but I cannot recall and I really don't want to research it at this time. The whole point of his particular methodology was to supposedly illustrate, by using colorful language, how a certain segment of society was committing fraud on a massive scale. I'm scared, hold me.
He never did locate the illusive queen of his visions. However, I have fabulous news because I found “her.” In all honesty, many others have unveiled the true identity of the authentic first family of welfare royalty.
Actually, “she” has been a household name and has been spotted in many a hamlet for quite some time. In fact, there have been politicians, media talking heads and others who have brought this horrid gal, and her heinous actions, to light.
The above-mentioned is sometimes donned in gray and blue. On many occasions she is known to wear a yellow or beige outfit as well. (Her wardrobe often depends on her location.) As the old song goes, “she's a brick house” and has captured the attention of citizens around the world.
Do you give up yet? OK, I shall come clean at this time—even though I know you love these sick guessing games I play. The “Welfare Queen” (WQ) of whom I speak is none other than Walmart and/or the Walton Family. I suppose for the purposes of this piece they can be used interchangeably because the Waltons actually own Walmart and Sam's Clubs.
You read that correctly. Please stop with the fainting act and rise from the floor this instant. This behavior has begun to grate on my last nerve and I will not tolerate it any longer. I did not intend to cause a massive clutching of pearls here in the reading region.
I shall elaborate wildly so that you totally believe me when I say that Walmart is the true WQ. Here are just a few statistics which will serve as a springboard to my launching into the ranting portion.
The family has more wealth than 42% of American families combined and is the richest in the United States. Hold on to something sturdy at this time. They have more wealth than Bill Gates and Warren Buffett combined and have reached that upper echelon via inheriting the controlling stake in the company.
According to Forbes, the net worth of the American WQ in 2015 amounted to $149 BILLION. Keep in mind that those darling cherubs must share said fortune or split it between 6 family members. Anyhow, because those little angels simply cannot afford to treat employees in a humane manner, they instead leave it up to the taxpayer to provide assistance via government programs.
You see my sweets, the richest clan in this country does not pay their so called “associates” a decent wage. Therefore, most have to sign up for essentials like health care and food stamps through various governmental agencies. This practice is actually encouraged by management and the higher ups at WQ headquarters.
As Mother would say, “I'm appalled” over the whole thing. Actually, Mother is appalled and has been ever since we spent a cozy Mother's Day watching the documentary, “Walmart: The high cost of low prices.” The documentary is the brain child of Brave New Films and is available (free of charge) to anyone who has a computer and possesses the ability to perform the notorious “Google search” technique.
Now that I've plugged the documentary, I shall return to the regularly scheduled program.
The Welfare Queen has been known to bomb into various municipalities and wreak havoc on all in its path. For just one example, as a result of WQ landing on the scene, many small businesses are forced to close down. (It's hard to compete with slave labor that results in lower prices but more on that later.) Many former boom towns morph into ghost towns within months. Because empty store fronts are not appealing to the average eye, it leads to property values plummeting.
Former employees have exposed various aspects of the Sam Walton business model in action, so to speak. One reflected about the crew cruising through a borough along the way to a new location. As they meandered about, they would literally point at various stores and declare how long it would be before they were driven out of business. Isn't that absolutely precious and rather quaint? I mean, it puts me in the mind of a Normal Rockwell portrait.
Just reflect on how this reading area once looked before the WQ took over. Linesville, Conneautville and Conneaut Lake, to name three, were teeming with activity. A family could actually shop in their own town or travel a short distance to another. Can you imagine?
The WQ model of operation is almost identical to the company stores that were a central part of coal mining towns. An entire village would be controlled by the coal company including the housing and the mercantile establishment. Workers were offered housing in shanty-style dwellings and the rent was plucked from paychecks. Anything left over on payday was spent at, you guessed it, the coal mining company store.
There is no difference when a Walmart employee clocks out for the day and uses his/her government money in the very same store in which he is employed. The prices are so low, due to many disturbing factors, that many good minded people simply have no choice. It's a Catch 22, for lack of a better description. It's quite a scam and is pretty ingenious when one ponders a bit. It's sickening to the max but that WQ sure has learned how to work the system.
I grow exceptionally weary when I hear a certain segment of society constantly moaning about how welfare recipients are the bane of our existence when Walmart is clearly the largest taker in this country. How about we direct our ire at the actual WQ instead? They simply cannot tarnish their precious bottom line by paying a living wage, having REAL health benefits for employees and offering a 40 hour work week for full-time employees. In the land of the WQ full time is considered to be about 28 hours a week.
To better explain the sordid saga, I am going to borrow excerpts from the article, - See Rant page 5
Rant - from page 3
“10 Reasons Walmart is the worst company in America,” from The Daily Dot. I will return soon with my usual attempt at some sort of neat and crisp ending.
Many people are aware that when Walmart comes to town, the company drives out smaller mom-and-pop businesses, but what not everybody realizes is that the presence actually does little to bolster the economy of local communities in the long run either.
For example, a study commissioned by the LA City Council in 2003 found that Walmart is a net loss for the communities to which it locates. An influx of “big box retailers” such as Walmart was estimated to cost an additional $9 million in state health care costs and a loss in pensions and retirement benefits so large that the increase in public assistance, necessary to make up the shortfall, could not even be covered by increased sales and property taxes.
It’s been estimated that over 50 percent of Walmart goods come from overseas suppliers. This doesn’t just take away American jobs in favor of cutting costs; it also creates a living hell for those forced to meet Walmart’s hefty supply needs. The corporation has been accused of paying off officials in foreign countries in order to keep many of the details silent, but various stories paint a gruesome picture.
A great example of this is Bangladesh, where the minimum wage for garment industry workers is just $37 a month. The conditions in the facilities where these products are made are incredibly unsafe. A 2012 fire in one factory, which made garments for Walmart, killed 111 people, while another in 1990 killed 32. And a class-action lawsuit from 2010 alleged that one woman worked seven days a week, from 7:45am to 10pm, putting chalk - Work page 7
Work - from page 5
marks on pants, without a day off for six months.
To top it all off, it’s been noted in the past that most of the employees at Walmart’s overseas factories may be underage. Harvard Law cites a human rights study from 2006 which describes the conditions at one factory in Bangladesh:
The children report being routinely slapped and beaten, sometimes falling down from exhaustion, forced to work 12 to 14 hours a day, even some all-night, 19-to-20-hour shifts, often seven days a week, for wages as low as 6 ½ cents an hour. The wages are so wretchedly low that many of the child workers get up at 5:00 each morning to brush their teeth using just their finger and ashes from the fire, since they cannot afford a toothbrush or toothpaste.
Besides mistreating their employees, Walmart has, in some ways, literally stolen money from them over the years. In one instance, the company forced employees to buy new uniforms—when they could have just bought them new uniforms themselves.
In another case, workers in Pennsylvania sued for forcing them to work through unpaid breaks, meal times, and other instances when they were supposed to be off the clock. At least this time around workers found justice. Mic.com’s Matt Connolly writes, “Started in 2002 when a worker sued for unpaid wages, the case became a class action suit as other Walmart workers with similar stories joined in, culminating with a court decision ordering Walmart to pay $151 million to workers, plus $33.8 million in attorney's fees.”
The icing on the cake? The payout had - See Payout page 8
Payout - from page 7
major financial repercussions for Walmart, with their stock dropping six cents a share after the decision came down. Walmart also went through similar litigation in 2011, when they agreed to pay $21 million to workers in Riverside County, California, for making them work overtime, sans breaks, for minimum wage—and for no extra compensation.
The good part about these cases is that the workers who were wronged saw some of the money they were owed returned to them. The bad part is that unless Walmart shares drop more than six cents, the cycle is likely to continue.
I'm back as I might take up the entire paper if I continue to provide information from the above-mentioned source.
In addition to all of that jazz, there are a plethora of other hideous examples of how this Welfare Queen does not give a diddly about anything but that precious bottom line. Knowing that they are hated by many leads them to carry out campaigns of the good image variety.
For instance, the infamous (in my not so humble view) Walmart Foundation’s initiative to fight hunger is spotlighted in the public arena as their own employees go hungry. Mind you, $300 million in taxpayer money for food stamps helps a touch with this horrific situation. Also the blatant male bovine excrement they spew about buying American is a touch disingenuous because, for ONE example, the company's new uniforms were made in Jordan.
Don't even get me started on the great lengths they take in order to block any kind of union form forming within their doomed walls of oppression.
The absolute bottom line of this blather is that Walmart is far removed from the wholesome family company image that they project. They are simply NOT concerned with humanity by any stretch of the imagination.
Polluting the environment, oppressing women employees (here and abroad) and soaring through tax loopholes are all their specialties. Shifting the tax burden to lower and middle class citizens is their true art form.
The next time some loon on Capital Hill starts screaming about testing the urine of welfare recipients, perhaps we should demand that the true Welfare Queen(s) get in line first. Of course, the Walton crew would have to be removed from their underground bunkers first but I think that could be arranged.
*For any kind of further reading or viewing pleasure, please see the documentary that was mentioned in the above public service novel. Also, here is the direct link to the Daily Dot article from which this jazz was borrowed: http://www.dailydot.com/opinion/walmart-labor-unions-bad-company/
There are many other sources online as well. One only needs to possess a curiosity for truth and the ability to utilize “that there googly thingamabob” in order to keep abreast of the many issues facing this delicious country that we all know and love.