Forum Post: How could smart people be so stupid? How the Walton family just blew it and why Walmart execs should be tried in criminal court
Posted 5 years ago on Dec. 7, 2012, 10:55 a.m. EST by therising
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5 members of the Walton family have as much wealth as the poorest 40% of American citizens combined. So the 5 Walton's have as much wealth as 124 million people. Last year Walmart made $15.4 billion. So, explain to me why a family and the execs they oversee would do THIS!: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/06/world/asia/3-walmart-suppliers-made-goods-in-bangladeshi-factory-where-112-died-in-fire.html
What is the real cost of Walmart goods? And what would their profits have been if they paid a fair wage, insisted on sane safety guidelines (instead of evading them)? What would their profit have been if they weren't taking a billion dollars a year in subsidy from the American taxpayers (80% of the Walton's Walmart work force is on some kind of government assistance -- they display public assistance applications in all their break rooms since their wages and benefits are so poor).
Here's the really sad thing: Walmart would still be incredibly profitable and the Walton's would still be fabulously wealthy. If that's the case, why are the Walton's/Walmart still fleecing American taxpayers, employing people at wages they can't live on? And why did these people in their factory have to die in this fire?
What the fuck is wrong with the Walton's and Walmart execs? This is pathological greed. Why are we putting up with this behavior? If this corporation is a person, it's a highly dangerous and destructive person that needs to be held accountable.
I just read that the stories of Walmart fire and Walmart receiving taxpayer subsidy are hitting CNN and other mainstream media. Boy, I'd hate to be working in Walmart PR right now (or be a Walmart family member at Christmas dinner). Americans are hearing a). How they as taxpayers are subsidizing Walmart and b) How unethical the company they're subsidizing is.
Maybe now we taxpayers will insist on an end to the $1 billion annual subsidy to Walmart. We certainly don't want to be supporting companies whose negligence on safety results in over a hundred preventable deaths in their factory.
Why on EARTH wouldn't the Waltons and Walmart execs just do the right thing (fiar wages, safety, no taxpayer subsidy) and save face and enjoy their money?.... Instead they trade their reputation and the well being of hundreds of thousands of workers for a little bit more $. It's a lousy trade off because the Walton's standard of living doesnt go up one bit, but they have to hang their head in public and at the Christmas dinner table over the headlines. Why would smart people be so stupid???
Reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Homer says to Mr. Burns: "Gosh Mr. Burns, you must be the richest man in the world!" And Mr. Burns replies: "Ah yes. But I'd trade it all for a little more."
So how do we fix the problem, not just at Walmart but system-wide? How do we do that, practically speaking? I'm kind of at a loss. All I can think of is direct nonviolent action in front of Walmart stores and other companies like them that brings mainstream media attention to the issues discussed above (subsidy, safety, living wage).
Black Friday Walmart protests were a good example and a good start and that got big mainstream media attention. That made it all the way to the break room, living room and water cooler discussion of millions of Americans. To me that's the key.
We need to fix this. Are there other things we can do as American citizens? Any way to push congress to stop the subsidies? I suppose my stumbling block is that until we do at least SOME of the things on the list at this link... http://www.occupywallst.org/forum/you-may-have-seen-this-list-of-8-practical-goals-b/ ... we won't be able to get past the bought off congress.