• Walmart Supports Raising Public Food Benefits– For Its Own Profit

    April 9, 2014

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in: #99Percent, Economy

    They say politics makes strange bedfellows. They also say poverty is just another profit opportunity, at least over at Walmart.

    Walmart supports an increase in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, i.e., food stamps) benefits, to erase the cuts Congress voted into place last fall. Does Walmart really care more about the fate of about hungry children than does Congress? Um, not really. Walmart has instead acknowledged publicly that federal cuts to food stamps are a threat to its bottom line.

    Poverty Pays

    In its required 10K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Walmart was oddly blunt about what the SNAP cuts may do to its bottom line:

    Our business operations are subject to numerous risks, factors and uncertainties, domestically and internationally, which are outside our control. These factors include… changes in the amount of payments made under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Plan and other public assistance plans, [and] changes in the eligibility requirements of public assistance plans.

    According to Walmart’s Chief Financial Officer Charles Holley, the company didn’t anticipate how much cuts to such programs would affect it. Reductions to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that went into effect on November 1, 2013, ironically first day of Walmart’s fourth fiscal quarter, led to a between $1 and $36 reduction in SNAP benefits per household, or up to $460 a year. Walmart knows its customers– poor people with even less money simply can’t buy enough to keep corporate profit high.

    Follow the Money

    How much profit? While Walmart does not break out sales paid for with SNAP, it looks like big bucks.

    In a study entitled “FOOD STAMPS: Follow the Money,” researcher and public health attorney Michele Simon established:

    – In one year, nine Walmart Supercenters in Massachusetts together received more than $33 million in SNAP dollars—over four times the SNAP money spent at farmers markets nationwide;

    – In two years, Walmart received about half of the one billion dollars in SNAP expenditures in Oklahoma;

    – One Walmart Supercenter in Tulsa, Oklahoma received $15.2 million while another (also in Tulsa) took in close to $9 million in SNAP spending.

    (Simon’s research also found out that bank JP Morgan Chase is also profiting heavily off the electronic bank transfer-based SNAP program. Morgan has contracts for the SNAP electronic benefits transfer services in 25 states. In Florida, Morgan Chase has a five-year contract worth about $83 million. In New York, a seven-year deal that originally paid Morgan Chase $112 million for services was recently amended to add another $14.3 million, a nice 13 percent increase.)

    All this money in play affects a lot of Americans. 2011 saw a new record enrollment in SNAP, 1 of every 7 Americans.

    Walmart Want to Keep Selling Sugary Soda as Food

    But back to Walmart. Not only does Walmart want SNAP money, it also wants to keep as many of its products SNAP-eligible as possible. The Department of Agriculture must certify an item as available for purchase with food stamps; some long-term no-no’s include alcohol, tobacco and many prepared foods. Yet the top three food vendors in terms of SNAP-money received are Coca-Cola (who makes Coca-Cola), Kraft (of highly processed foods fame), and Mars (the candy and snack food maker.) Walmart has joined those companies to lobby the Department of Agriculture, and Congress, against any measures that would restrict SNAP use to more healthy food choices.

    Since Congress has been debating the soda-food stamps question on and off since 1964, it seems unlikely Walmart and the others have much to fear.


    SNAP Funds Your Everyday Low Prices at Walmart

    As reported previously, one of the main reasons why Walmart can sell things cheap is that it gets away with paying below a living wage because you, the taxpayer, subsidize the employees’ wages. The gap between what the majority of employed people earn through the minimum wage at places like Walmart, and what they need to live a minimum life, is made up by federal and state benefits. Nearly three-quarters of enrollments in America’s major public benefits programs are from working families. They work in jobs that pay wages so low that their paychecks do not generate enough income to provide for life’s basic necessities.

    And it is not just Walmart. The cost of public assistance to families of workers in the fast-food industry alone is nearly $7 billion per year. That money, which might rightly be paid by McDonald’s and Burger King and KFC, is instead paid by the taxpayers, money lenders to a government that is far more interested in subsidizing business than in caring for the nation as a whole.

    This Land is Your Land

    America is indeed the land of opportunity; where else in the world can the collusion of government and corporate interests create both a major lobbying effort to increase food aid to America’s poor, while at the same time fleecing taxpayers so that large corporations can further monetize poverty? Exceptional, indeed.



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    Copyright © 2014. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity. Follow me on Twitter!

  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...

      1

      You can buy anything you want at Alice’s Food Stamped Supported Walmart:

      Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton is the buyer who plunked down a cool $70 million to purchase the “Jewel of Fifth Avenue”. The property that once belonged to Seagram magnate Edgar Bronfman Sr. was subject to a bidding war. The original asking price of $65 million was surpassed when Ms. Walton outbid her competition. The fee for the lavish pad is but a mere drop in the bucket for Ms. Walton who has watched her wealth grow from an estimated $26 billion in 2012 to a reported $33.9 billion entering 2014.

      04/9/14 11:56 AM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...

      2

      My only disagreement with this criticism – UNDER the current circumstances of ghetto life which won’t change anytime soon – is about legislating for “healthy food choices” unless and until the poor actually have access to them.

      I mean, in my personal experience, in urban ghettos (aka “inner cities”, really ghettos) – one of which I lived in when I was a poor college student without a car – suburban style supermarkets are few and far between, often inaccessible even by public transportation unless one rides several buses for one or two hours each way and then drags back whatever one can carry in one’s arms. Consequently many of the urban poor don’t have many food choices to begin with. More often than not they need to rely upon small local shops around the corner, with exploitatively inflated prices, stocked mostly with non-perishable foods in boxes and cans.

      A higher minimum wage would be a good and essential start, but that won’t solve the problem without restoring America’s manufacturing base AND making it accessible for urban workers without cars.

      04/9/14 1:14 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...

      3

      And here Spongebob Squarepants will show you the Chinese side of the problem:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZRKfyABraM

      04/9/14 1:22 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...

      4

      It can really vary. When I was in Rust Belt West Virginia this summer, the local food stores had less than ideal fresh fruits and vegetables despite it being prime season and close to the sources of production. In Harlem yesterday, the selection was pretty decent. Availability is certainly an issue, but also price. The more nutritious food was much more expensive than the lower crap stuff.

      Another issue is knowledge. Many people don’t know what is healthy, or the difference nutritionally between fresh stuff and canned death stuff.

      04/9/14 1:31 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      5

      quote:”How much profit? While Walmart does not break out sales paid for with SNAP, it looks like big bucks.”unquote

      Indeed.

      quote”Ms. Walton who has watched her wealth grow from an estimated $26 billion in 2012 to a reported $33.9 billion entering 2014.”unquote

      Meanwhile, Mr. and Mrs Pitchfork, restrict eating to once a day in order to make their current SNAP benefit of $179 last through out the month. As their pre SNAP cuts benefit was $289, this is a decrease of $110, ironically providing living proof the statement given above…

      quote”… ironically first day of Walmart’s fourth fiscal quarter, led to a between $1 and $36 reduction in SNAP benefits per household,”unquote…

      is a bald faced fucking lie.

      As my Senator happens to be Debbie Stabenow, who cut a deal with another Congressional cockroach, to cut $40 BILLION from the SNAP program, while providing a TRILLION dollar tax payer funding to make war on the entire planet, all the while building NSA’s Zotabite surveillance storage at it’s Bluffdale Utah super-computer facility to wage Orwell level spying on every person in America, I believe I have earned the right to verbally spit in her face. Which I did. The day after she voted. I hope the staff who read my email fainted, notwithstanding Stabenow herself.

      And now, another fucking Congressional cockroach, is complaining his salary of close to $200k..isn’t enough to live like he should be entitled to. right.

      The English language doesn’t have the words to express my outrage and contempt for these bastards. But my next letter to them might get close. However, the day they cut my SS, is the day I’m done with words.

      04/9/14 1:45 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      6

      ps. I truly believe, at some point, we will witness the day when citizen outrage will explode in French revolution insanity whereby these motherfuckers will get lined up and shot. One..by..one.

      04/9/14 1:50 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...

      7

      @ PVB, you’re probably right about the availabilty of fresh food varying. My experiences in the ghetto were 30 years ago, although I doubt that particular area has changed for the better.

      @ Pitch, re the French Revolution, some comic relief by Mel Brooks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sN6fp2gUS68

      04/9/14 2:41 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      8

      On a side note, there is another reason why the inequality gap is growing exponentially…

      the whole fucking system is rigged for the 1%.

      http://charleshughsmith.blogspot.com/2014/04/its-not-just-stock-market-thats-rigged.html

      yesireeebob..it’s only a matter of time till all hell breaks loose in this country.

      04/9/14 8:46 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...

      9

      “it’s only a matter of time till all hell breaks loose in this country”…

      I thought it already had. All those people living in tents? Only the wrong people are in America’s Hell.

      04/10/14 3:44 AM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      10

      On a side note….breaking news..on the

      “it’s only a matter of time till all hell breaks loose in this country”… front. It’s happening. Waco 11 forming as I type as the Bureau of Land Management send in their goon squad. In Nevada. The Oathkeepers have put out a bulletin calling for as many people as possible to assemble on this familys farm as fast as possible. Yesireebob..only a matter of time. Well..it’s here.

      http://sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com/2014/04/just-received-this-link-from-nevada.html

      You need to know the background..here

      http://sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-bundys-vs-blm-nazis-its-past-time.html

      Bureau of Land Management. Now militarized just like every other agency in the USG. Like Mike says..this is going to get out of control. The line in the sand has been drawn. We’ll see if DHS comes in and steps over it. If so, this will be the turning point. Make no mistake. These people will not back down.

      04/10/14 1:52 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      11

      Well sooprise sooprise sooprise. I’m not the only one who thinks this story is important ….

      http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/

      Thank you Kevin. This story needs to go viral..on MSM. As I type, the Oathkeepers are gathering in mass. Lord forbid the Feds step over the line here. They are asking for a war. A real, 4th Generation warfare war. And they know it.

      http://sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com/2014/04/oath-keepers-to-help-with-bundy-protest.html

      04/10/14 3:34 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      12

      side note Nevada update:

      http://sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com/2014/04/militias-mobilizing-to-support.html

      and now, they know WHO these BLM people are…

      http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/info/state_directory/southern_nevada.html

      Precisely what scares the daylight out of them. 4th Generation warfare in living color.
      ———————————————–
      we now return to the purpose of this blog…

      PETER. Why is the comment section “closed” on your latest post?

      04/11/14 1:18 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...

      13

      It should not be closed. I never knowingly close comments. I’ll check but in the meantime please comment in any other post until I sort it out.

      04/11/14 2:30 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...

      14

      I also have no idea why your comments, and yours alone of the regulars, often end up in “moderation.”

      04/11/14 2:31 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      15

      “moderation” due to multiple hyperlinks, you yahoos

      04/13/14 5:39 PM | Comment Link

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