Thanks to Walmart’s low wages and benefits, just one Walmart store costs taxpayers an estimated $1 million in public assistance usage by employees, according to a new report from the Democratic staff of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
The average Walmart associate makes $8.81 an hour, meaning even associates working Walmart’s definition of full-time hours would only make about $15,500, leaving many to rely on public assistance to make ends meet and provide for their families. Add to that Walmart’s unpredictable scheduling, associates’ reported difficulty getting full-time hours, and the fact that the company dropped health insurance for part-time employees last year, and it makes sense that the state of Wisconsin picked up an estimated tab of $5,815 per Walmart supercenter employee according to the report.
A major threat cited by American businesses is the lack of consumer demand. Inversely, the report explains, “Workers with more money in their pockets also need less public assistance. In this way, increased wages in the retail sector can lead to a virtuous cycle that promotes economic growth while reducing the deficit through a larger tax base and less need for public assistance.”
As Walmart associates continue on their Ride for Respect to the company’s headquarters in Arkansas before the annual meeting, this report shows that Walmart has plenty of room for improvement, and changes at the company would benefit workers, taxpayers, and the American economy.