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

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  • Ronnie W. Layton, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 8:13 a.m.

    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
    Feb. 21, 2014 8:20 a.m.

    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
    Feb. 21, 2014 8:28 a.m.

    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
    Feb. 21, 2014 8:31 a.m.

    ‘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

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 8:34 a.m.

    The Senator's questioning deserves close attention.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 8:40 a.m.

    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.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 8:41 a.m.

    @ 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.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 8:51 a.m.

    @FT
    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
    Feb. 21, 2014 8:51 a.m.

    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?

  • brs27 Beaver, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 9:05 a.m.

    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.

  • cons1 HERRIMAN, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 9:12 a.m.

    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
    Feb. 21, 2014 9:12 a.m.

    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
    Feb. 21, 2014 9:29 a.m.

    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!

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 9:35 a.m.

    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
    Feb. 21, 2014 9:34 a.m.

    Con1

    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
    Feb. 21, 2014 9:36 a.m.

    WOW!

    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.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 9:38 a.m.

    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
    Feb. 21, 2014 9:41 a.m.

    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
    Feb. 21, 2014 9:56 a.m.

    @ 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.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 10:02 a.m.

    @patriot
    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.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 10:04 a.m.

    I often hear the statement: "The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money to spend".

    Is there any one out there who can help me understand what they are saying?

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 10:09 a.m.

    One could search long and hard to find an idea such as guaranteed full employment as a fix to a problem, but there is no evidence on God's green earth from Adam's exit from the garden to 2014 that would remotely show success with such foolishness. Of course, one recent example of someone who promised something similar would be Hitler before the holocaust. I would just as soon avoid a repeat of that. If there was ever a power grab of greater epic proportions, it would be to give a leader the power to implement such foolish notions.

  • Midwest Mom Soldiers Grove, WI
    Feb. 21, 2014 10:12 a.m.

    Thank you DN for including this video!

    Walmart is proof that trickle down doesn't work. The Waltons are so rich because they make a lot of money, but don't distribute it among their workers.

    There's a lot of talk among some conservatives about the "makers" and the "takers." Workers of America make the products and produce the labor that runs this country. Their labor also creates the wealth that makes some people rich and provides the capital to buy all the goods and services in our economy. It's also workers, not the wealthy, who volunteer their lives to defend this country. So I would submit that the makers are those who work and the takers are those who steal more than their fair share of the proceeds of productivity. After all, flipping burgers isn't a valuable skill, but it's worth a lot to those who grow rich because of burgers and other simple services. Their workers should not have to go on welfare just so their employers can have more profit. The final insult is the current political attacks on the poor.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Feb. 21, 2014 10:34 a.m.

    Ironically, Walmart is the greatest threat to capitalism. A growing monopsony, it simply drives out of business any competitor it wants to. It keeps tens of thousands of workers on starvation wages, thus perpetuating the poverty cycle and destroying the very consumer base it relies on. It acts as a parasite on the public coffers, as Sen. Sanders points out so well. Theodore Roosevelt would have known what to do with a Walmart in his time.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 10:52 a.m.

    I don't shop at Walmart because their products are substandard quality and everything comes from China. Basically, Walmart funds the Chinese military.

    That said, Bernie Sanders provides many hours of comedy on CSPAN. His disheveled looks along with his far, far left propaganda make me laugh. He alwasy looks like he just woke up.

    Unfortunately, I may have to agree with Bernie on this one issue. Walmart hasn't been a good corporate citizen since Sam Walton died. But for his kids, who apparently didn't learn much from him, it is all about money and power. Seems to be a theme in Arkansas. I recall a politician from Arkansas that's like that. So's his wife.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 11:04 a.m.

    Ultra Bob: "I often hear the statement: 'The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money to spend.' Is there any one out there who can help me understand what they are saying?"

    It goes right along with another popular saying "Put your money where your mouth is." Almost all the socialists talk about spreading other people's wealth around, not their own.

    Obama loves to talk all day about "income inequality", but I might take his words a little more seriously if he would distribute a little of his own income. He makes millions (definitely in the top 1%) and takes extravagant family vacations on the taxpayer dime.

    When I hear that he is giving a huge portion of this own wealth away or taking a vacation locally instead of flying around the world to exotic places, then I won't roll my eyes every time I hear him talk.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    Feb. 21, 2014 11:09 a.m.

    Midwest Mom
    Soldiers Grove, WI

    Agreed!
    Great comment! Spot on.

    =====

    Irony Guy
    Bountiful, Utah
    Ironically, Walmart is the greatest threat to capitalism.

    [Agreed!
    The funny thing, they are doing giving more to Communists in China than they are to AMERICA!
    and the pro-business Conservative see no problem with this?...]

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 11:34 a.m.

    I would suggest the federal government remove tax deductions and incentives for companies that pay poverty wages. We as taxpayers should only give tax incentives and deductions for companies that actually provide decent paying jobs.

    Otherwise it is just corporate welfare.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    Feb. 21, 2014 11:45 a.m.

    bandersen
    Saint George, UT

    Of course, one recent example of someone who promised something similar would be Hitler before the holocaust.

    =======

    Really?
    Once again with a Hitler reference -
    once again, getting it all wrong,
    and once again getting it all backwards.

    Hitler took care of the unemployed the same way he took care of anyone else
    "not fit for the New Society" --

    Liberals,
    Communists,
    Homosexuals,
    Abortion Doctors,
    Addicts,
    Illegal Immigrants,
    Porn,
    Terminally ill,
    the Homeless,
    and of course, the Jews.

    The uber-Germany Nationalists and the Military Industrial Complex LOVED him.
    To them, he was a True Patriot,
    "Taking Germany back" from the passifist Liberal Weirmar Republic.

    BTW --
    Hitler NEVER would have allowed buying food, clothing and other daily necessities from his sworn enemies, let alone letting a Company's employees leech from the National Treasury to survive.

    But Conservatives let WalMart and other companies send $Trillions of dollars annually to China,
    in fact -- they are their biggest cheer-leaders.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 12:13 p.m.

    Ultra Bob: William Sumner said, "A man who can command another man's labor and self-denial for the support of his own existence is a privileged person of the highest species conceivable on earth...The working man needs no improvement in his condition except to be freed from the parasites who are living on him." He also said this, "History is only a tiresome repetition of one story...Persons and classes have sought to win possession of the power of the state in order to live luxuriously out of the earnings of others...A man whose labor and self-denial may be diverted from his maintenance to that of some other man is not a free man, and approaches more or less toward the position of a slave." Crony capitalism is not liberty and as long as you put evil men in power, whether in a capitalistic system of socialistic system, the poor and the working man will be hurt. Socialism is just communism light. A war is brewing in America, but it is not one of arms, but of ideas. Liberty versus slavery.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Feb. 21, 2014 12:47 p.m.

    I concur, the socialists are out in force today.

    The fact is we are not subsidizing Walmart. We are subsidizing people with no desire to develop marketable skills. We are also allowing politicians to vilify a company in order to achieve their political adgenda.

    Out of all of the people working in the labor force, only 2% earn minimum wage. The rest earn more than that. Then, most of the people earning minimum wage are Highschool kids and college kids paying their way through school.

    So, why do we need to raise wages for less than 1% of workers?

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Feb. 21, 2014 12:51 p.m.

    All right you liberals who don't believe in trickle down. Tell us where trickle up has actually worked? The trickle up idea/anti-capitalist rhetoric that you believe is just collectivism. So tell us, where has collectivism actually worked?

    You say that capitalism is a failure, yet what is your alternative, socialism, communism, fascism? The alternatives to capitalism are all huge failures.

    Some of the more devious people will say that we need a combination of collectivism and capitalism, but that is exactly what got us to this point. You want to use capitalism to fund your collectivism, then blame capitalism when collectivism fails.

    So, tell us, where has your collectivist ideas actually been able to match capitalism in terms of prosperity and lifting people out of poverty.

  • Mister J Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 1:32 p.m.

    re: liberal larry

    "...the 6 main Walmart heirs have a combined net worth greater than the bottom 41% of American citizens! How's that for income inequality?"

    More like irony. Its the bottom 41% that make up at least 95% of Walmarts patrons.

  • Mister J Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 1:34 p.m.

    to Flashback

    Don't forget Jerry Jones (the best GM in the NFL).

  • Mister J Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 1:38 p.m.

    to Redshirt1701 about lunch time

    "Tell us where trickle up has actually worked?"

    Uh, Walmart. You obviously have not been paying attention.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 1:42 p.m.

    airnaut (aka Open Minded Mormon):

    Capitalism respects no borders. If money flows freely to the best value (you know...like when it is in the hands of a shopper), then it will flow to countries where productive workers and favorable business regulations exists. If we want to compete with China, then we must compete, not try to change all the rules.

    We might not like all the things pure capitalism brings, but any attempt to regulate it to death will be to the detriment of everyone (especially the poor).

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 2:24 p.m.

    @JoeCapitalist
    At the same time you have to regulate capitalism. There are examples of pure unfettered capitalism in the world. Look at Somalia for example, if you have money you can buy anything you want. Literally anything, you want drugs, you can get them with enough money. You want to buy a human being to be you slave, just pony up the cash. You want to buy a large number of military grade weapons, same thing. Capitalism without regulation is a system run purely on greed, with no regard for human life or safety. In order for Capitalism to work there must be regulation. Period.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Feb. 21, 2014 2:34 p.m.

    To "Mister J" I don't think you are paying attention. Trickle up means that you dump all sorts of free stuff on the people in hopes that they improve their lives. According to Senator Sanders the people receive stuff, but their lives are not improving. So, apparently it isn't working at Walmart.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 2:36 p.m.

    Ultra Bob
    Bandersen.
    IMO, Hitler was a product of the oppression imposed on the German people after the First World War. They are a proud and intelligent people, desperately wanted a leader that would lift them out of their misery and give them back self respect. Hitler used the situation to grab power and tried to rule the world.
    The economic oppression that we are seeing in the United States has been repeated time after time for all of history. I agree that a war is brewing in America...of ideas of liberty versus slavery, but you may have the wrong idea of who the players are who are on the side of liberty and those for slavery.

    Redshirt1701.

    It's common knowledge that the sum of the group, a collective, is greater than the sum of the individuals. Every government, every organization of any kind is a collective.

    Capitalism fails when it doesn't do its job. Controlled Capitalism is probably the best system for business in America. Uncontrolled Capitalism is the law of the jungle, survival of the fittest. The law of the jungle is no good for the operation of a civilized society.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 3:19 p.m.

    re:Schnee

    Missing the point. Let the free market decide ...not the federal government. Actually - let the states decide!! How about that! In the Dakotas there is an oil boom on private land and everyone is making great money there ...even Wallmart employees. Forcing an across the board pay increase for everyone simply turns the economy on its head. This minimum wage increase is all about politics and nothing more. The minimum wage is not supposed to be a "supporting wage" for people to live on. People pay minimum wage for low skill people ...mostly teenagers to get work experience...but of course Obamacare takes care of that anyway doesn't it by allowing dead beats to stay home and do water colors or drugs and get subsidized by working people...right (according to Nancy Pelosi)?? Why work when someone else can work for you ...The Obama Motto.

  • 569 Humble, TX
    Feb. 21, 2014 4:00 p.m.

    What % of Walmart employees own smartphones?

    True of False: If given higher wages then Walmart employees would use it to buy nutritious food for their families.

    Do you know anyone who is starving in the U.S.? Does this level of starvation compare to those of Central Asia, Latin America, or Africa? Are these starving people using their money to buy cheap yet filling foods like beans and rice?

    Are Walmart employees living on the street?

    Did Walmart employees have the opportunity to attend community colleges or trade schools to develop skills to find higher paying jobs?

    Will Walmarts owners say: "Gee. They raised the minimum wage. I guess that means we will just have to lower our profit margins and disappoint our shareholders to pay for the increase."? Or will Walmart owners find new creative ways to outsource and automate more of their business using cheaper labor in other countries?

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Feb. 21, 2014 4:03 p.m.

    To "Ultra Bob" but the sum of knowledge or experience of a collective is not collectivism.

    Capitalism does not fail when it is allowed to operate as just capitalism. Capitalism fails when the government control it or competes with it. Government in the US was never intended to compete with capitalism or to control it, yet thanks to the Progressives and liberals it is. Government's intended purpose was to enforce contracts and keep the nation secure. The government has little else to do.

    There is no such thing as Uncontrolled capitalism. That is called anarchy, and that is not what capitalism is about.

    If you want liberty, then you have to follow capitalism. All collectivist ideologies require strong central government, which will ultimately reduce you to little more than a slave.

    So again, the challenge is yours. Tell us when collectivism has worked. When has collectivism been able to match capitalism?

  • Mister J Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 4:42 p.m.

    to Redshirt1701

    Irony & humor impaired, I see.

  • itsjustme Vernal, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 5:10 p.m.

    No news here. The Democrats want to raise the minimum wage. That is all they ever talk about. At what point is the minimum wage high enough? Why not call for a $20 per hour minimum wage? Why not $30 or $40 or $50 per hour minimum wage?

    When the minimum wage is increased, EVERYTHING is going to cost more. And the people that only earn the minimum wage will never get ahead.

    The youth of today will not have a chance of getting a job if the the minimum wage is constantly increased. Who would settle for a lifetime of minimum wage jobs?

  • NedGrimley Brigham City, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 6:02 p.m.

    Famous recent quote: "Americans understand that some people will earn more money than others, and we don't resent those who, by virtue of their efforts, achieve incredible success. That's what America's all about."

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 7:02 p.m.

    I don't like, or shop at, Walmart. I understand the desire to raise the minimum wage but don't think it will bring the desired effect.

    The problem, as I see it, is that it is a thriving economy that drives wages up; right now businesses have a large pool of the unemployed to draw upon. We don't have a thriving economy because guv'mt keeps intruding, because the corporate tax is high, because business is bogged down with too many regs. We also have such a large labor pool because mothers go to work, and illegal aliens clog the labor pool and bring wage levels down.

    This is just another red herring. There needs to be a return to a solid manufacturing base in this nation, with a drop in the corporate tax, and an import duty sufficient to level the playing field with enslaved nations in Asia. There needs to be an enforcement of e-verify not amnesty. I'd love to see a reduction in the number of working mothers at that point, and a return to the old values of this nation.

    My opinion: it won't happen, but I keep hoping.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 10:49 p.m.

    Two things:
    1. Teenagers as a percent of all working age adults.
    2. Jobs you think are for teenagers (and thus should pay next to nothing) as a percent of all jobs.

    The latter is a much higher percentage than the former and some of you don't seem to understand that. Someone kinda has to work these jobs. Someone always kinda has to work these jobs. If everyone got a master's degree... someone still has to work these jobs.

  • Ex-Pat of Zion Lititz, PA
    Feb. 21, 2014 11:23 p.m.

    @ DN Subscriber: Mosiah 4:16-19 with emphasis on the last verse. We're ALL takers.

  • Me an Der Lees Summit, MO
    Feb. 22, 2014 5:59 a.m.

    Words, words, words -
    As soon as we see THOSE
    who want more of our stuff
    taken from us to give to those with less stuff
    STEP UP and give away their own stuff
    only then can we know that their intent
    is focused on the benefit of others
    rather than their own status
    and wealth
    so forget their words
    and check out their private actions

  • The Economist Newport, PA
    Feb. 22, 2014 7:07 a.m.

    I do not know why these discussions don't describe what is really going on in the labor market. There is supply and demand like in any market. The supply of labor right now exceeds the demand. That is why there are lower paying jobs. If we improve demand for employment, wages will go up. Increasing Minimum Wages will shift the market. Some will benefit, but others will loose jobs because it will be cheaper to automate or shift employment elsewhere. I am not hearing discussions on what we can do to improve demand for labor. That will require stimulation of entrepreneurship, tax incentives for hiring Americans, tax incentives for providing tuition reimbursement to employees, providing educational assistance to those in need, etc. That is the long-term solution.

  • AlanSutton Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 22, 2014 8:41 a.m.

    Walmart does the opposite of what the senator alleges. It helps all of us more than government ever could. With its low prices it has grown to its current size, but along the way has saved shoppers billions - perhaps even trillions - of dollars. That's the way to truly benefit the average American, something the government could never do.

  • CPA Howard Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
    Feb. 22, 2014 11:07 a.m.

    Since when did income equality become a right? I don't remember reading it in the Constitution or any of the amendments. However, I do remember reading it in FDR's bill of rights he proposed in his 1944 state of the union address, "Employment, with a living wage".

    Before we jump on the band wagon of Wal-Mart should pay a living wage, the Government should make sure that NONE of the members of the Armed Forces. Sen. Sanders is a senior senator, why hasn't he gone after the president about raising the wages of our solders.

    The minimum wage is a function of supply and demand. I live in Billiings MT and McDonalds is paying entry level employees $9.50 per hour because of low unemployment. Also only a small percentage of people who are paid the minimum wage are supporting a family, the majority are High School and College students.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Feb. 22, 2014 3:54 p.m.

    To all the lefties on this thread:

    WalMart is NOT the largest recipient of welfare. This is a ludicrous but savvy political ploy that plays well with the uneducated and Senator Sanders political base.

    It is not WalMart's job to pay its workers more than their market worth. It is not WalMart's responsibility to make sure its workers have a $13-16,000/yr health insurance plan, when the workers are not creating anywhere near that kind of value for others. And if government forces WalMart to pay its workers more than they are worth, in hourly wages and/or benefits, it will only hurt WalMart workers the most in the end, WalMart and other employers will be incentivized to hire fewer workers, raise prices, etc., and the economic engine will certainly slow down.

    When Detroit, big Auto and Chicago/Illinois paid their workers more than they were worth, it helped some workers for a short time, but in the end, it bankrupted companies, cities and states. It slowed growth, reduced employment opportunities and hurt the least mobile, least educated the most.

    Senator Sanders ludicrous statements may be good politics, but they make for horrible economics.

  • Ex-Pat of Zion Lititz, PA
    Feb. 22, 2014 6:15 p.m.

    @CPA Howard. Not the Constitution, but the last sentence of the Declaration of Independence. Without the latter, the former never would have been framed. Despite all the rhetoric of the TEA Party, their constituents are mostly about "me".

    How did Reagan shift the discussion at the end of the Carter administration? By creating a common external enemy (USSR) and spending an insane amount on defense. Bush? He got lucky with 9/11 (if one can call that luck) and again creating an external foe (Iraq). Reagan spent on a "cold" war and Bush on a "hot" one. Absent that, we start in on one another, finding fault in our differences with one another. Wouldn't it be tragic if we (poor and rich alike) persisted in activities that will lead us to our own destruction?

    Hugh Nibley wrote a very nice piece on Rome in the fourth century A.D. titled, I believe as "A Question of Loyalty". All I can remember was it was in his collected works in the volume titled "Ancient States". That entire volume is a pretty good examination our current condition.

    Economics tells us about businesses creating barriers to entry. The same applies to social status.

  • runnerguy50 Virginia Beach, Va
    Feb. 22, 2014 6:26 p.m.

    Companies should not have to provide health insurance to employees. Medicare should be available to all and then contract out to Medicare Advantage like they do now but pay Medicare Advantage companies less. The benefits for Medicare should be reduced for younger people as well. Now once you have a baseline of what the minimum benefits are for Medicare and allow companies to offer better benefits then Medicare if the company wants to offer that to employees.

    I lean towards the conservative side but I really dislike wal mart. Poor service, poor products and poor employees. Not something I support.

  • Harrison Bergeron Holladay , UT
    Feb. 22, 2014 6:39 p.m.

    Ok all you genius Liberals. If raising the minimum wage to $10.10/hr will do so much to eliminate poverty, why stop there? Really, if that is the answer, why not $20/hr? Now we are talking about real 'hope and change.' But why stop there? That was so easy, let's just pencil-whip poverty out of existence! How about $40/hr? Yeah baby, now we are talking about a living wage, by golly!

    Can you Liberals not understand that the free market determines what a job is worth? If you compel an employer to pay more for labor, what then happens to the products he sells? If the market will support a higher price, he can pass it on to the consumer. So now you have increased the cost of goods and services for everyone - including those with the new higher minimum wage! Or if the market will not support a higher price...hello pink slip.

  • netjes Grand Rapids, MI
    Feb. 22, 2014 8:53 p.m.

    Wal-Mart pays its workers more than any other employer will pay them. Hopefully this is clear. A Wal-Mart worker cannot find a better-paying job anywhere. Clear yet? And for this, we fault Wal-Mart?

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    Feb. 22, 2014 9:46 p.m.

    Question - Who shops at Walmart?
    Answer - Those with low wages, including Walmart workers.

    Q - So when Walmart has to raise its prices to pay the workers more, who will be hurt by the higher prices?
    A - Those who make low wages, like Walmart workers.

    Senator Sanders favors the ACA, and it allows wealthy doctors and medical supply companies to receive government subsidies. Seems like he just wants to pick winners and losers.

    EVERY time society makes a government safety net to help those in need, the clever people will find a way to get their hand in the deep pocket of the government and take a huge share. This is why the government cannot and should not be the answer to social problems. The pocket is too deep and the corruption too rampant.

  • MarkJ South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 22, 2014 10:17 p.m.

    In a free market economy, we all benefit from Walmart paying cheap wages through better prices. None of us owe anyone a living. The absence of government meddling is not a subsidy, and calling it one is very twisted logic. Minimum wage should never be raised again, so that businesses can be free to compete and workers can be free to find employment where ever they are able. Similarly, all businesses should be free to avoid paying government required benefits by limiting hours - that is the fault of the government regulations, and another example of how messing with the free market hurts everyone. If you can't get a job that pays enough to live the way you want, cut your standards or increase your value as a worker. Minimum wage hurts everyone by forcing jobs overseas, setting unrealistic living standards for unskilled laborers, and raising prices. Higher prices hurt low wage earners far worse than they hurt high wage earners. Pure free market economy is the way to go. If you are feeling exploited, find something else to do with your skills or find new skills.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Feb. 22, 2014 11:15 p.m.

    @Harrison Bergeron. How would you end poverty?

    The truth is there will always be people at the bottom no how hard anybody tries. It is capitalism, but in the past most people understood a need for a safety net or a minimum standard. The truth is minimum wage has not kept up with inflation. Your argument on why stop at $10.10 has been a typical argument from those opposing a minimum wage increase. No one was advocating making poor people middle class by just pencil whipping poverty out of existence.

    I think maybe it is time for the government to stop giving tax incentives and deductions to companies that pay low wages. If the company wants to pay a minimum wage then fine but they should not get tax breaks or deductions.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 23, 2014 12:57 a.m.

    " A Wal-Mart worker cannot find a better-paying job anywhere"

    Very sad comment, isn't it? Yet this person says it like its a good thing. Another person claims walmart is good for America because it has low prices on products. Can you imagine? Like that's what makes America great low priced stuff made in China. Maybe this person would want to research HOW walmart maintains those low prices. Still another says this:

    "when the [walmart] workers are not creating anywhere near that kind of value for others."

    Can you imagine? This person actually believes this. These workers created multiple billions of dollars for many people, these workers created huge fortunes, massive fortunes, for others. And this person thinks they created nowhere near that kind of value for others.

    And still others think the labor market is based on supply and demand. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is ALWAYS a surplus of labor in any modern economic system. There is NEVER more jobs then workers in a modern economic system. For the vast majority of workers, when there is not a unified work force, wages are determined by the company.

  • Nosea Forest Grove, OR
    Feb. 23, 2014 5:44 a.m.

    "The trouble with capitalism is capitalists; they're too ... greedy." President Herbert Hoover, Republican President

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    Feb. 23, 2014 1:50 p.m.

    In every system there will always be people at the bottom. The more corrupt the government, the more people at the bottom. Socialist governments seem to have more people at the bottom than capitalist governments. As our government is becoming more socialist, we have seen the average family income drop. Same has happened throughout Europe.

    Will we learn from this? I know some of you won't, but hopefully the majority will.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 23, 2014 4:25 p.m.

    Badger, what are you talking about? You throw around a couple of words, socialist and capitalist, and you think that means something.

    These issues are far more complex then just saying "as our government gets more socialistic".

    Some of the greatest prosperity, for all, the world has ever seen was in this country, right after welfare programs, and social programs and strong federal planning had been implemented. And the top tax rate was ninety percent. NINETY PERCENT. it was amazing what those programs did, those socialist programs. But there have been people ever since that have been doing everything they can to dismantle those great advancements. And they are winning. Those socialist programs, Medicare, social security, etc are the legacy that the greatest generation left us. And we have watched, and some have abetted, while those that do not love this country and its promises, but love only money and power, have done everything they can to tear it down. They have almost won.

  • Harrison Bergeron Holladay , UT
    Feb. 23, 2014 5:11 p.m.

    Shaun: "How would you end poverty?"

    Well Shaun, I'm glad you asked. Because I already have ended poverty; for myself. Yes I was once poor. And no it was not fun. But nobody told me I had to stay that way. So I worked my tail off, and now I'm not poor any more. I never asked any of my employers to pay me more. I never wanted the government to force them to either. Instead, I worked hard, improved my skills and my employers voluntarily paid me more (or another one did).

    You see Shaun, the big Liberal lie about poverty is that it is a permanent situation. But the truth is that poverty is only beginning for most people. Those who remain poor, do it by choice. There are countless numbers of refugees who come to this country with absolutely nothing. And yet in a few short years, they have lifted themselves out of poverty to a comfortable life style, the same way I did. And they do it with less help and encouragement than their neighbors who are 2nd or 3rd generation poor.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 23, 2014 7:11 p.m.

    Badger, what are you talking about? You throw around a couple of words, socialist and capitalist, and you think that means something.

    These issues are far more complex then just saying "as our government gets more socialistic".

    Some of the greatest prosperity, for all, the world has ever seen was in this country, right after welfare programs, and social programs and strong federal planning had been implemented. And the top tax rate was ninety percent. NINETY PERCENT. it was amazing what those programs did, those socialist programs. But there have been people ever since that have been doing everything they can to dismantle those great advancements. And they are winning. Those socialist programs, Medicare, social security, etc are the legacy that the greatest generation left us. And we have watched, and some have abetted, while those that do not love this country and its promises, but love only money and power, have done everything they can to tear it down. They have almost won.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    Feb. 23, 2014 10:29 p.m.

    @Ronnie W.:
    "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."

    That's not Wal-Mart's fault. It's the fault of the government who makes the laws. All Wal-Mart is doing is applying the laws as passed by Congress to do what companies are created to do... maximize profits for owners (stockholders). And, of course, who is it that passes the laws? Guys like Bernie Sanders.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    Feb. 23, 2014 11:06 p.m.

    @one old man:
    "Exactly why I DO NOT shop at Walmart."

    I don't shop at Wal-Mart because almost everything in the store comes from China.

    "But Walmart is only one of countless predatory businesses in America. McDonalds, Olive Garden, Poppa Johns... the list is almost endless."

    So, I guess you won't be shopping anyplace then, right?

    @Midwest Mom:
    "Walmart is proof that trickle down doesn't work. The Waltons are so rich because they make a lot of money, but don't distribute it among their workers."

    Wal-Mart distributes profits to stockholders. If you work at Wal-Mart and want the company to distribute to you, buy some Wal-Mart stock. That's how a capitalist society works.

    @Flashback:
    "I don't shop at Walmart because their products are substandard quality and everything comes from China. Basically, Walmart funds the Chinese military."

    Actually, Wal-Mart funds our national debt via China. So don't knock Wal-Mart... without whom we may not be able to fund our government.

    @patriot:
    "This minimum wage increase is all about politics and nothing more."

    True. He buying votes for upcoming elections... with other peoples' money.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    Feb. 23, 2014 11:25 p.m.

    @netjes:
    "A Wal-Mart worker cannot find a better-paying job anywhere."

    Wal-Mart pays competitive wages. In the oil producing areas such as the Dakotas, Wal-Mart pays way more than in high unemployment areas... in order to compete.

  • SLars Provo, UT
    Feb. 23, 2014 11:45 p.m.

    Harrison Bergeron, do you really believe that the poor want to be that way? I know two people, identical skills, one makes twice as much as the other. Both are hard workers. Should the person earning less keep quitting jobs until the earn what the other one does? When quitting jobs becomes a habit, companies will not hire you. You're over simplifying.

    90% of the companies I worked for never gave me a raise for bettering my skills, or working harder. They gave me a title and more responsibility instead. You can't eat a title or more responsibility.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 12:49 a.m.

    "the big Liberal lie about poverty is that it is a permanent situation."

    No, poverty is a permanent situation. There has always been poverty in the world. Most people that have ever lived have lived in poverty. Need is ever present. Oh, I know, the individual if they work hard in this country has a good opportunity to lift themselves up. But for many this will never happen. Do people really pretend the workers at Walmart do not work hard? I know, I know, then go work someplace else, get an education. But, remember, not everybody is as clever as you. And sometimes, people really do catch a bad break or two.

    I don't know what to think of your statement that you have never asked for a raise. Good heavens, do you value yourself so little? Of worship your lords, I mean employees, so much.

    "Those who remain poor, do it by choice"

    And here, my friends, is the great conservative lie.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 8:50 a.m.

    I have not seen a significant raise in over 15 years,
    I'm salary, and now expected to work over 50 hours a week.

    America is going down the toilet,
    and it is the greed of Corporations who are causing it.

    Either Government steps in to address it,
    or
    Revolutions will.
    [see American, French, Russian, etc.]

    I prefer the 1st option,
    because the 2nd one does not go over very nicely.

  • Harrison Bergeron Holladay , UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 3:59 p.m.

    Slars: "... do you really believe that the poor want to be that way?"

    Of course not! When I was poor, I didn't want to be. That was why I chose to do something about it. But there are also those who are poor and wish they were rich, but are not willing to do something about it. If refugees can come to this country speaking a foreign language with only the clothes they are wearing, no marketable skills, no education and achieve an upper middle class lifestyle, then why should anyone be consigned to permanent poverty?

  • Harrison Bergeron Holladay , UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 4:34 p.m.

    mark: "No, poverty is a permanent situation. There has always been poverty in the world."

    Yes, like children are a permanent situation. There will always be "poverty" in that sense because we will always describe the bottom wage earners as the "poor." But not individually (and we are talking about America, not the rest of the world).

    mark: "Do people really pretend the workers at Wal-Mart do not work hard?"

    I don't. I worked much harder when I was poor, than I do now. But I did not have the skills and education I do now. Nobody expects someone to work at Wal-Mart for life. And everyone who works at Wal-Mart is there by choice. There's no forced conscription at Wal-Mart. There are no indentured servants. Everyone asked for the job and agreed to the wages. Every employee is free to leave for a better offer as I'm sure many do. But what a great place to get some work experience, learn retail or customer service and get paid while you improve your education or marketable skills.

  • NedGrimley Brigham City, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 9:43 a.m.

    "Nobody expects someone to work at Wal-Mart for life. And everyone who works at Wal-Mart is there by choice. There's no forced conscription at Wal-Mart. There are no indentured servants. Everyone asked for the job and agreed to the wages. Every employee is free to leave for a better offer as I'm sure many do. But what a great place to get some work experience, learn retail or customer service and get paid while you improve your education or marketable skills."

    Worth reposting...

  • Ex-Pat of Zion Lititz, PA
    Feb. 25, 2014 12:46 p.m.

    Harrison

    Your "immigrant" analogy is a classic straw man. A more apropos analogy for that group is "pioneer". We celebrate (rightfully so) the victory of the survivor under harsh conditions. You may, on rare occasions, get the story of those who perished on the journey. They're the forgotten (unlucky) ones. The common thread about all of them was that they were trying to make a better life for their posterity. I doubt many of them envisioned shangri-la.

    The point is this: If you're going to throw out "Horatio Alger" as a template, you'd better be sure the utility of the copies is as effective. That means everyone one willing to work hard and sacrifice (education is a trade off) should be entitled to the good life ... whatever that is. The real world says otherwise, but true pioneers would be willing to share one another's burdens - and fate - be it good or bad. Testimonial (yours included) is the most insidious form of propaganda there is. Not everyone who tries makes it. But it's hard to convince folks who live in the MLM capital of the world of that truth.

  • Capsaicin Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 26, 2014 6:57 p.m.

    As bernie said, wal-mart is a wealthy company. Yet, they don't raise wages and salaries more than "market price". The market price of a worker has stagnated. Its not going up and it certainly hasn't kept pace with inflation over the last 50 years. These companies and a lot of other corporations are not generous with their earnings. And THAT is what constitute greed. Greed is destroying america from the top down. There is a difference between greedy capitalism and GENEROUS capitalism; the latter where a company raises wages/salaries as their income and success grows. It seems though, success to the 1% means giving the residual to their top execs. Which would be why their income has grown and the general population is relatively stagnant due to inflation and lack of income increases. You won't ever see a 1%'er admit this though. they're too busy thinking that they can get away with starving their minions while they have massive wine-cellars, 100 ft yachts and a half dozen homes around the world. Mega-multi-millionaires and billionaires especially need to be regarded for who they REALLY are. Greedy. $100 million plus net worth and they keep compensating themselves?

  • Silvex Salt Lake, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 6:25 p.m.

    @Ex-Pat

    Case Study
    From 1978 until the mid 80's about 2 million Vietnamese fled communist re-education camps in small boats. More than a half million of these "boat people" ended up in the US. They came speaking a foreign language with the clothes they were wearing and very little else.

    Despite language barriers and war prejudices, they worked hard and lifted themselves out of poverty. According to census data, their economic status has improved dramatically. By 1989 only 34% were still below the poverty line. By 1999, the percentage had dropped to only 16%.

    The majority are now small business owners and employ others. They practically own the fishing industry in New Orleans; a place where, coincidentally, we were told during Katrina that government welfare was the only solution to perpetual poverty. I guess the Vietnamese did not get the memo.