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Found 1 result

  1. One of the strangest progressive memes of the past few years has got to be the following, which is currently making the rounds on social media: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/10/10/1141724/-Walmart-fuels-inequality-epidemic-taking-advantage-of-our-safety-net http://activism.thenation.com/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=11116&tag=twitter Stripping away the many superfluous adjectives, the argument goes something like this: - Walmart pays low wages and limited healthcare benefits to many of its employees - Some of the employees are eligible for food stamps and Medicaid because of their low compensation. - Therefore, Walmart is using social safety nets as an integral part of its business model (Walmart = Welfare Queen) There are too many logical fallacies wrapped into this argument to give proper treatment in one post. Aside from the dubious employment-as-exploitation framework upon which the argument rests, it is uniformly assumed that Walmart's low-wage workers are welfare recipients because of the widely accepted progressive truism that "it's impossible to live on such wages." One problem with this assumption - and with the broader category of "living wage" arguments - is that many low-wage workers are in fact living in households with pooled resources. A few obvious complicating factors in the analysis are marriage, roommates, teenagers living with parents, and other sources of income. For the argument to carry any semblance of merit, one must further assume that Walmart wages are in fact adjusted downward in proportion to the availability of government programs like food stamps and Medicaid rather than being based on competitive market conditions. To my knowledge, there is no evidence whatsoever to support this conclusion, nor is such a hypothesis even testable in the first place.