The Class War at Walmart
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In 2018, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon took home more than $23 million. By contrast, McDonalds’s Chris Kempczinski was paid a mere $18 million last year — falling just short of making two thousand times the median wage for workers at his company.
As many businesses across the country struggle to stay afloat amid rolling pandemic lockdowns, many of America’s largest corporations are doing just fine. Better than fine, in fact: it emerged this week that Walmart’s profits surged during the third quarter of 2020, exceeding $5 billion with McDonalds’s profits jumping almost 5 percent to just under $2 billion. The pandemic has proven especially lucrative for big retailers, the largest fifteen (including Walmart) collectively making $60.8 billion in profits in 2020 so far — an increase of $14.6 billion from last year.
All told, it’s a stark illustration of the extent to which the American economy works like a giant Ponzi scheme that thrives on the labor of workers paid next to nothing for the benefit of the exorbitantly rich. A deeply exploitative arrangement, it’s also one effectively subsidized by the taxpayer — as a new report published by Congress’s Government Accountability Office (GAO) makes vividly clear.
Commissioned by Bernie Sanders, who made the low wages of companies like McDonald’s and Walmart a centerpiece of his recent presidential campaign, the study uses data from February gathered from agencies across eleven states charged with administering Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps.
“Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.”
November 20, 2020 at 10:28 PM #380018
November 21, 2020 at 12:56 AM #380084soryangParticipant
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US prison labour, foreign weapons-makers finance Australian government think tank ASPI
by Marcus Reubenstein | Oct 12, 2020 | Government
Prisoners making missile parts are paid as little as 23 cents per hour. UNICOR, the operator of the factories in federal prisons, discloses on its website that prison authorities can withhold some, or even all, of those wages from prisoners to pay fines and other debts.
Since it was revealed a decade ago that these defence contractors were using prison labor, Raytheon shares have risen by 430% and Lockheed Martin’s by 500%. Over that time, their prison workers have not received a pay rise.
Independent news website Wired quotes a former civilian employee of prison labor operator UNICOR as saying, “We make wiring harnesses for the military, the [Lockheed Martin-assembled] Patriot missile being one of them.”
UNICOR controls prison labor across 110 factories housed in at least 65 US federal prisons.
Boeing, which donated to ASPI for a decade between 2008 and 2018, jointly manufactures the F-15 jet fighter, which uses components made by forced prison labour.
The Lockheed Martin F-16 jet fighters, jointly made by General Dynamics, use similar prison labor components, sourced from UNICOR.
Ironically, ASPI produces dubious reports about “slave labor” in Xingjiang, China. But there is no guessing about who uses prison labor, it’s ASPI’s US sponsors, who coincidentally, just happen to be weapons systems manufacturers.
November 21, 2020 at 1:38 AM #380088Cold Mountain TrailParticipant
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US is a huge user of prison labor. Prison labor fought the fires here on the west coast. For free, basically, unless you think wages at pennies on the dollar + massively inflated charges for phone calls and prison commissary is not essentially the equivalent of free labor.
November 21, 2020 at 1:53 AM #380090Ohio BarbarianModerator
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The employees are, of course, free to quit and risk utter destitution. If they try to unionize, they get fired, just like peasants who tried to improve the lot of their class was broken on the wheel before the French Revolution. Obey the masters or be harshly punished.
Indentured servitude is banned by the 13th Amendment, with the specific exception of prison labor. Once again, I think we need a new Constitution.
It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs
Show me a man that gets rich by being a politician, and I'll show you a crook.--Harry Truman
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