Gosh, time flies when it’s pushed along by a jetstream of greed.
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It seems like only yesterday that Walmart executives announced with self-congratulatory fanfare that the super-rich retailing colossus was not a scrooge after all. Indeed, while the world’s largest purveyor of stuff was not about to raise its poverty-level wages, it benevolently decided to provide a barebones health insurance plan to its 600,000 part-time employees, who make up nearly half of its total workforce.
But quicker than you can spell avaricious, the $476 billion-a-year giant has now decided to renege, saying that as of January 1st it will terminate coverage for employees who work less than 30 hours a week. Why that particular cutoff? Because, also beginning next January 1st, people working less hours than that can apply for subsidized coverage from the public insurance exchanges created by our country’s new Affordable Care Act. Yes, this means that super-wealthy Walmart is piling the cost of its health care obligations onto the backs of its low-wage workers, who might (or might not) be able to get a bit of a subsidy from us taxpayers.
Walmart’s slick honchos are effectively stealing a benefit meant to help low-income families, perverting it into a benefit for their own profiteering. But don’t think they’re Dickensian Scrooges coldly abandoning their employees. No, no – they say they’re engaging a “health coverage specialist” to guide workers through the process of finding an insurance “alternative.” Of course, that will be the one financed by you and me.
Once again, the Waltons – the exploitative multibillionaire heirs to the Walmart fortune – get the goldmine, while workers and taxpayers get the shaft. As the head of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union said of this latest ripoff, it’s “shameful.” But shameful is a core corporate value at Walmart.