Activists’ policies counterproductive

The Oklahoman Editorial Modified: November 5, 2013 at 6:15 am •  Published: November 5, 2013
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Liberal groups often denounce Walmart and other retailers for being recipients of indirect taxpayer-funded “corporate welfare.” But they do so inconsistently.

Good Jobs First, a pro-union group, declares, “Many Walmart workers are ineligible for health coverage from their employer or choose not to purchase what is available, because it is too expensive or too limited in scope. These workers often turn to taxpayer-funded health programs such as Medicaid.”

So even when Walmart offers workers insurance, its critics lambaste the company because some people choose to decline coverage in order to get welfare benefits. This “corporate welfare” attack was always a stretch. Without Walmart, many low-income workers wouldn’t be workers at all. Any job is a good job for the unemployed.

Yet Good Jobs First and similar groups are largely silent about the corporate impact of food stamps. Walmart gets about 18 percent of total U.S. outlays on food stamps. Walmart and similar companies have spent millions lobbying Congress to support the food stamp program in recent years. The end of a temporary federal stimulus program that increased food stamp benefits could potentially reduce revenue for some grocers; Walmart has lowered its sales forecast.

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