Folks, right now I'm working a longer post about a different topic, which I won't get around to posting until tomorrow. And on this blog, I will have much, much more to say about Walmart and its impact on wage inequality in the weeks and months to come.
But for now, please read this recent story from Bloomberg Businessweek about the retail giant's latest shenanigans, and kindly note the following points:
1. First, Walmart pays its workers poverty-level wages. But of course!
2. Next, they cobble together a "charitable" organization called "Associates In Critical Need Trust" (ACNT). The ostensible purpose of said organization is to pressure their marginally better off employees into contributing to a charitable fund to help Walmart workers who are impoverished. Because you know Walmart -- they're all heart!
Let's be clear here: contributions hardly seem voluntary. “We’re going to be
relentless in encouraging participation," said one corporate memo.
3. Only it turns out that the ACNT is actually an elaborate scam -- little more than a money-laundering scheme to funnel donations to "pro-business" political candidates
4. Finally, to square the circle for you, and translating Walmart-ese into plain English: "pro-business" means anti-worker -- most notably, these days, anti-minimum wage. The article even mentions the minimum wage as the issue Walmart has been "most vocal" about.
And so, to summarize: Walmart strong-arms its employees into contributing to a so-called "charity" for impoverished workers. But this alleged charity is actually a slush fund for political candidates who will vote for policies -- such as a lower minimum wage -- which will make those workers even more destitute. It's pure evil genius!
Walmart, of course, doesn't so much as bat an eyelid about any of this. The article quotes the usual kool-aid-chugging Walmart flack burbling the standard Walmart happy talk about how the ACNT is "a great way for people who contribute to the
PAC to also do good for fellow associates."
But there are also hints that even the sleepy FEC might not be so amused. And the sleaziness of the ACNT scam is so repulsive that even one of Walmart's former employees expressed "discomfort" with it, according to the article.
I have written about Walmart before, and suffice it to say, I will write about it again. It is the modern American Leviathan, our corporate heart of darkness. How much more dark could Walmart be? The answer is none. None more dark.