Comments about ‘Sen. Bernie Sanders: Why is the government subsidizing Walmart?’

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Published: Friday, Feb. 21 2014 8:00 a.m. MST

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Ronnie W.
Layton, UT

I think those of us who a self-described "conservatives" have a hard time listening to Mr. Sanders.

Yet he is absolutely right. Wal-Mart is one the biggest government leeches there are. They intentionally work people just less than the required time to be considered a "full-time" employee so they don't have to offer health insurance. Many employees are forced to use WIC, food stamps and other government assistance programs.

Obviously I would encourage all Wal-Mart employees to go out and get an education so you don't have to depend on them. Make yourself more marketable to employers to the point where people must pay you more to have you. With no skills, you aren't marketable.

I worked there for awhile 3 years ago. As a 27 year old who just finished college I now make more than the general manger of the store I worked at. My advice to employees: get out. While legal, Wal-Mart will intentionally push the boundaries of what they can get away with. Success is good, but not at the expense of the government subsidies.

Happy Valley Heretic
Orem, UT

Great observation, one that has been made many times on these comments.
The notion that he wealthy are a precious commodity and can't afford to pay people what they are worth, while raking in obscene profits is offensive. The fact that they encourage their employees to seek government assistance is sickening.

Walmarts not alone, there's an epidemic of selfishness among our precious wealthy, encouraged by the "I built it all by myself, for I am an island in the sea of humanity.

They are incorrect, and at some point the other 90% who work for a living (if history repeats) will clear the slate for a better system, one where the citizens, not the corporate elite and a few ultra wealthy families run the country.

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

I think that Bernie may have also mentioned that the 6 main Walmart heirs have a combined net worth greater than the bottom 41% of American citizens!

How's that for income inequality?

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

‘Sen. Bernie Sanders: Why is the government subsidizing Walmart?’

“The idea that anybody could suggest that we are not seeing massive income and wealth inequality is beyond my comprehension,” Sanders said in his opening remarks.

Later he invokes the Walton family, the richest family in the world and the founders of Walmart, asking the panel if the wealthiest family in America should receive government assistance.

He answered his own question. “It turns out that they are the largest recipient of welfare in America because when you pay workers starvation wages, which is what Walmart does, how do the workers at Walmart survive?”

He goes on say that these workers collect benefits from the government because Walmart doesn’t pay them enough. So in essence, he tells the panel that Walmart takes welfare.


Amen, Amen & AMEN!
God Bless Sen. Sanders

Springville, UT

The Senator's questioning deserves close attention.

one old man
Ogden, UT

Exactly why I DO NOT shop at Walmart. But Walmart is only one of countless predatory businesses in America. McDonalds, Olive Garden, Poppa Johns . . . . the list is almost endless.

salt lake city, UT

@ Ronnie W.
Well said, and congratulations. On another note, don't shop or partronize Wal-Mart. As citizens we can speak with our wallets as well. Their earnings annoucement yesterday was poor and the company is not doing well because more and more people have decided to take their money elsewhere.

Poplar Grove, UT

The problem is that Wal Mart is just the biggest example. You think Shopko, Kmart or Target employee's get paid any better? Same on the fast food side, pretty much every major chain outside of In-N-Out pays these same kind of wages. Something has to change.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The CEO of Wal-Mart makes as much in an hour as a typical Wal-Mart employee makes in a year. The direct heirs of Sam Walton get as much in dividend income every single minute as an average employee makes in a year. But they can't afford to pay more than starvation wages?

Beaver, UT

I have always been fundamentally opposed to raising the minimum wage because I dislike government intrusion into the free market. However, as I've thought about it this morning, it would be the vital first step toward removing what Mr. Sanders has accurately described as "corporate welfare". BUT, this first step should under no circumstances be initiated without the accompanying second step, which is a matching (based on income level) increase in the threshold to qualify for all forms of government welfare/assistance. If the government money is not removed from the marketplace at the same time the private money is added, then the prices of goods and services will rise because people have more money to spend. If this happens the higher prices businesses inevitably pass along to consumers, to compensate for the higher wages, will not be balanced by reductions in our taxpayer funded entitlement programs; which will still be as crippling and unsustainable as they are today. Furthermore, any money saved by raising entitlement qualifications should be automatically applied to reducing the national debt and not simply reallocated to another spending program. Spread the word.


One thing that is missing here is that the 10.10 minimum wage set by Obama for federal workers is lower than the beginning wage for Walmart employees. So it does nothing to relieve the problem of the workers there.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Simple solution:

U.S. government hire all the unemployed workers at a living wage. Lay a tax on all American business to pay the full cost of the program. Employers would have to pay the living wage in order to get any workers at all. Employers could reduce the tax by hiring all the workers.

Further, get the employer out of the employee's personal business. No more phony benefits like health insurance, retirement or profit sharing to hide the lack of real pay.

Get business out of government. Stop political campaigns and lobbies.

Provide real tax reform.

In other words give the people's government to the will of the people.

Baron Scarpia
Logan, UT

The problem with the 'free market' is by definition, you will always have winners and losers, and society has to pick up the pieces for all the "losers" who get marginalized by their lack of skills and power to command better wages. Walmart is often ranked as the most powerful corporation on the face of the planet (sometimes switching with Exxon-Mobile for that honor), so workers have little say on their bargaining power for more pay.

I read that Walmart has significant turnover simply because it is cheaper to simply let "experienced" workers go and bring/train in new people to replace them than pay the higher salaries for more productive workers. It's not what is taught in business schools, but workers can't tell companies what to do. It's sad when your fate as an employee is at the mercy to managers more concerned with "corporate policy" regardless of logic.

I'll give Walmart credit, however. Last November, it had a food drive for their employees and that helped their workers have a better Thanksgiving. Very thoughtful!

Saint George, UT

Bernie has one thing right: Subsidizing Wal-Mart has nothing to do with Capitalism. However, the other part of just as faulty. Federal government involvement in minimum wage is socialistic and ends up keeping the poor poor! For the most part, business loves minimum wage because they will just raise their prices. Even Bernie understands this, which is why it is a charade. What does it really matter to him? He's a millionaire and doesn't care about the poor! In the end, he gets to live off the labor of millions who are keep in poverty by government fiat! Unfortunately, many Americans are fooled by this false charity by politicians. Wake up America!

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah


I'm not sure where you found your information but pay scale.com lists the following wages for Walmart employees.

Sales associate $7.61-$12.64

Pharmacy tech $8.77-$14.42

Overnight stocker $7.77-$13.00

It looks like they are starting at about the same wages I was making in the summer of 1976 working heavy construction, to pay for college!

DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT


The socialists and class warriors are up early today.

I urge all the generous people criticizing Walmart to start their own business and pay people whatever their generous hearts consider to be "adequate" wages, and not keep a dime for their own efforts.

"The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money to spend."

Will anyone criticize the big sports stars for the megabucks they get paid and do not share with everyone else? Or entertainment stars? Or, is it only people who work hard in real businesses providing essential goods and services and JOBS who are the bad guys.

Cedar Hills, UT

You force Wallmart to raise the minimum wage to $10 and Wallmart reacts - like any other business - by laying off workers and raising the prices of their products. Now EVERYONE gets hurt. Socialists should NEVER be allowed to influence economic policy!! Socialist refuse to allow the free market to set the wages because they don't believe in the free market...never have. There is NOTHING in a Socialist's mind that has anything to do with protecting freedom..nothing. If Wallmart starts losing employees due to low wages then Wallmart will increase their pay on their own...that is called Capitalism and competition in the free market. Liberalism is all about FORCE. Capitalism is all about freedom of choice. America was born as a free country. Socialism equates to bankruptcy.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The fact is that business pays for every person in the United States of America. Only now, business forces the employed workers to pay for the unemployed workers food, clothing and shelter out of the wages of employed workers.

Full employment guaranteed by the government under the plan I proposed would:

Cause a great reduction if not the complete elimination of poverty, welfare, charity, food stamps and improve the chances for equal opportunity for all people.

Not do away with Capitalism and the possibility for a person to excel in wealth.

Not take away any freedom from people, only from business who has no need for freedom.

Provide a more stable economy by preventing the antics of business to prevent a free market.

DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT

@ Ultra Bob 9:41

And where would "the government" get the money to pay everyone for everything?

You are back to taking earnings from the hard working "makers" and idealistically giving it to the "takers." Basically full fledged communism.

No one is forced to work at Walmart. They are free to work for Ultra Bob at his generous wage levels if they want to.

Salt Lake City, UT

A study found that to raise minimum wage to 10 dollars, Walmart would have to increase prices of their products around 1-2%. That's not crippling at all. Costco manages this just fine.

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