It was Saturday in a city of 100,000 people and I drove around in the parking lot for 10 minutes trying to find a parking space within the county. OK, it was all the same county but it seemed like it was the next county when I walked from the parking spot to the front of the store. Wal-Mart seems to be the not only the "Saving Place" but the place to go to do all of your shopping. There were hundreds of cars in the parking lot and thousand of folks inside.
For years, Wal-Mart has been attacked from the left because of practices that have busted unions, eliminated health care benefits for most of their employees, and use of our tax dollars to subsidize their gross profits. Before we jump to Wal-Mart's problem of this week let's give some details on the attacks of the past.
On health insurance, according to the Wal-Mart Associates' Guide: Any person who is working part time (Wal-Mart's definition is less than 34 hours a week) must wait 2 years before they can enroll in the corporate plan. Full-time hourly employees must wait approximately 6 months before being allowed to enroll. Management have no waiting period. If you do qualify or hang around long enough to enroll, the most affordable plan is a $1,000 annual deductible. If an employee enrolls with this plan based on the average workers annual wage, they would spend up to 9% of their annual income on premium and deductible before any benefits would reimburse.
Some of you may be saying that well, that is no skin off my teeth, so what?
The taxpayers (that's you and me folks) do help subsidize Wal-Mart by providing things for their employees such as:
- $36,000 a year for free and reduced lunches for just 50 qualifying Wal-Mart families.
- $42,000 a year for low-income housing assistance.
- $125,000 a year for federal tax credits and deductions for low-income families.
- $100,000 a year for the additional expenses for programs for students.
- $108,000 a year for the additional federal health care costs of moving into state children's health insurance programs (S-CHIP)
- $9,750 a year for the additional costs for low income energy assistance.
If fair employee practices were in place, these expenditures could be paid by the employees or eliminated all together. And these numbers are represented of a sample 200-employee Wal-Mart store. We are talking about tax payer subsidizing close to $500,000 per year per store.
OK, enough from the left, so why is the right now bent out of shape at the smiling place? The right is alarmed at the fact that the corporate office has decided to sell the Oscar winning movie "Brokeback Mountain" and promote it's selling by using posters at the entrance of the store. And if sales of this movie wasn't enough, corporate office has also decided to sell the "morning after pill".
Now, I wonder if these folks could get together on one issue and really put the clamps on Wal-Mart. After all, if one of the main issues is "pro-life" wouldn't that extend to post-birth? And if one side is focused on the laws on the Leviticus side of the mountain range, shouldn't they also be focused on the teachings of Jesus?
But bringing the two spectrums of politics together? I think sorry to say, Wal-Mart is safe for now.