August 22, 2016
Washington, DC – Walmart does not pay its workers very well, but that’s not a reason to write a blog post at this point, is it? What about if they paid so poorly that it cost the United States twelve times what we spend on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration? Well, they do.
According to a 2014 study by Americans for Tax Fairness, American taxpayers are on the hook for roughly $6.2 billion in food stamps, Medicaid, and public housing that results from inadequately compensated Walmart employees:
“The study estimated the cost to Wisconsin’s taxpayers of Walmart’s low wages and benefits, which often force workers to rely on various public assistance programs,” reads the report, available in full here.
“It found that a single Walmart Supercenter cost taxpayers between $904,542 and $1.75 million per year, or between $3,015 and $5,815 on average for each of 300 workers.”
Americans for Tax Fairness then took the mid-point of that range ($4,415) and multiplied it by Walmart’s approximately 1.4 million workers to come up with an estimate of the overall taxpayers’ bill for the Bentonville, Ark.-based big box giant’s staffers.
The study then breaks everything down by state, including the company’s contribution to an outsized number of food stamp sales. From Forbes:
The report provides a state-by-state breakdown of these figures, as well as some context on the other side of the coin: Walmart’s huge share of the nationwide SNAP, or food stamp, market.
“Walmart told analysts last year that the company has captured 18 percent of the SNAP market,” it reads. “Using that figure, we estimate that the company accounted for $13.5 billion out of $76 billion in food stamp sales in 2013.”
Maybe they shouldn’t brag about this. They’re selling them to their own workers.