Originally Posted by blaise
Well that's why I don' know if it's appropriate to say Wal Mart is costing taxpayers anything. They pay the market rate for those employees.
Wal Mart would probably counter with, "If we didn't employ these people they'd probably require even more assistance."
The lack of an obvious solution doesn't make it less appropriate to say. Walmart is not paying the market rate. That's been pointed out several times.
It's been proven that Walmart is costing the taxpayers. Read this nice detailed report from Congressman George Miller. It actually has some suggestions on how to approach the problem:
Wal-Mart's Labor Record
CONGRESSMAN GEORGE MILLER
Democratic Staff of the Committee on Education and the Workforce
U.S. House of Representatives
Wal-Mart routinely uses taxpayer money to finance its never-ending corporate growth. A report commissioned by the House Committee on Education and Welfare estimates that a two hundred person Wal-Mart store costs federal taxpayers approximately $420,750 a year, or $2,103 per employee. These costs include:
-$36,000 a year for free and reduced cost school lunches,
-$42,000 for Section 8 housing assistance,
-$125,000 for low-income family tax credits and deductions,
-$100,000 for additional Title I expenses,
-$108,000 for state children’s health insurance expenses, and
-$9,750 for low income energy assistance
State and local governments also lose when Wal-Mart comes to town. A study commissioned by the Los Angeles City Council in 2003 found that Wal-Mart is a net loss for the communities it moves into. An influx of “big box retailers” such as Wal-Mart 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.
Fewer than half – between 41 and 46 percent – of Wal-Mart's employees are insured by the company's health care plan, compared nationally to 66 percent of employees at large firms like Wal-Mart who receive health benefits from their employer. In recent years, the company increased obstacles for its workers to access its health care plan.
In 2002, Wal-Mart increased the waiting period for enrollment eligibility from 90 days to 6 months for full-time employees. Part-time employees must wait 2 years before they may enroll in the plan, and they may not purchase coverage for their spouses or children. The definition of part-time was changed from 28 hours or less per week to less than 34 hours per week. At the time, approximately one-third of Wal-Mart's workforce was part-time. By comparison, nationally, the average waiting period for health coverage for employees at large firms like Wal-Mart was 1.3 months.
The Wal-Mart plan itself shifts much of the health care costs onto employees. In 1999, employees paid 36 percent of the costs. In 2001, the employee burden rose to 42 percent. Nationally, large-firm employees pay on average 16 percent of the premium for health insurance. Unionized grocery workers typically pay nothing. Studies show that much of the decline in employer-based health coverage is due to shifts of premium costs from employers to employees.
Moreover, Wal-Mart employees who utilize their health care confront high deductibles and co-payments. A single worker could end up spending around $6,400 out-of-pocket – about 45 percent of her annual full-time salary – before seeing a single benefit from the health plan.