As I’ve noted before, one reason that low-wage employers are able to get away with providing their workers so little in wages and benefits is that they depend on American taxpayers to subsidize their stinginess.
At Wednesday night’s debate for candidates in the race for governor of California– after Arnold Schwarzenegger finished explaining how overburdened businesses can’t afford to provide health insurance to their employees– Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante replied: “You know, when you have a mega-corporation, the biggest in the history of the world like Wal-Mart who are underpaying their people and then as a result give them official documents to go and apply for food stamps and public health care. That’s a burden that taxpayers can’t afford any longer either.”
If anyone has denied Bustamante’s assertion, I haven’t heard about it.
So here’s the situation as I understand it: Wal-Mart– which earned $8 billion in profits last year– pays its employees so little that it has to direct them to the public sector for help in putting food on their tables and providing health care for their families.
In Israel this is what’s known as chutzpah. Shouldn’t it be disturbing the sleep of the free marketeers?