walmart: the temple of socialized capitalismIs Walmart doing something horrible today? Well, it’s a “day” so yes, of course Walmart is doing something horrible today.

Walmart—the nation’s largest private sector employer—is joining the ranks of companies seeking to avoid their obligation to provide employees with health insurance as required by Obamacare.

OF COURSE THEY ARE. See, there is pretty much only one way that a large employer can dodge the responsibility of insuring its workers, and that’s if their employees qualify for Medicaid. Who can make SURE that their employees earn low enough wages to qualify for Medicaid? Why, the employer, isn’t that convenient?

As Marcy Wheeler wrote back in 2009:

So if Wal-Mart wanted to avoid paying anything for its employees under MaxTax, it could simply make sure that none of them made more than $14,403 a year (they’d have to do this by ensuring their employees worked fewer than 40 hours a week, since this works out to be slightly less than minimum wage). Or, a single mom with two kids could make $24,352–a whopping $11.71 an hour, working full time. That’s more than the average Wal-Mart employee made last year. So long as Wal-Mart made sure its employees applied for Medicaid (something it already does in states where its employees are eligible), it would pay nothing.

And what do you know, that’s pretty much what they’re doing here:

According to the 2013 Walmart “Associate’s Benefit Book”— the manual for low-level Walmart employees—part-time workers who got their jobs during or after 2011 will now be subject to an “Annual Benefits Eligibility Check” each August.

Employees hired after Feb. 1, 2012, who fail to average the magic 30-hours per week requiring a company to provide a healthcare benefit, will lose their healthcare benefits on the following January. Part-time workers hired after Jan. 15, 2011, but before Feb. 1, 2012, will be able to hang onto their Walmart health care benefit if they work at least 24 hours a week.

What a SHOCKER it will be if employees magically fail to get scheduled for an average of 30 hours per week AND just HAPPEN to be paid wages low enough to qualify them for Medicare. Which would be a big surprise given that the average Walmart “associate” takes home about $250 per week and earns around $8 per hour.

How SAD if this means that the impoverished employees will only be able to afford to shop at Walmart, given its penchant for low low prices. What a wonderful and profitable cycle.

Did we mention that just six members of the Walton family are worth more than thirty percent of all Americans’ net worth put together? Did we also mention that Fox News, naturally, calls Walmart’s move “Obamacare Worst-Case Scenario Coming True”? It may not be the death panels we are so craving, but Walmart’s dick move is definitely Obama’s fault, just like the fact that pretty much all Walmart employees are on food stamps is because he is the Food Stamp President.


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  • Arbeit macht frei.

    • eggsacklywright

      It's OK, 'cuz they're freedom freis.

    • Guppy

      Not quite, but it will earn you an employee discount!

    • Negropolis

      This is so wicked it's good.

  • BaldarTFlagass

    2013 Walmart “Associate’s Benefit Book"

    Bet that's a pretty slim volume.

    • One sentence:

      "Yew are entitled to give yer life to Wal-Mart."

      • PugglesRule

        With an embedded MP3 playing SIXTEEN TONS by Tennessee Ernie Ford.

      • Callyson

        "…after you spend your paycheck here, that is"

    • kyeshinka

      A thinner book than "Human Rights Developments in the Soviet Union" or "Greatest Saudi Inventors."

      • "Famous Jewish Sports Heroes"

      • BaldarTFlagass

        "Great French Military Victories."

      • Callyson

        "Compassionate Conservatives."

      • LionHeartSoyDog

        Do you know who invented Al Gebra, kyestinka?

      • Negropolis

        "The Virtues of Chastity According to Mick Jagger."

    • BigSkullF*ckingDog

      Hey, at least we're not allowed to beat you.

      THE END

    • Like a playing card.

  • Baconzgood

    Reason # 10,834 I don't shop at Wal-Mart.

    • Oblios_Cap

      I keep at least 1,000 yards away from them, lest some of their evilness contaminate me.

    • 1stNewtontheMoon

      I tried to get them registered as a school so they couldn't move into our neighborhood of sex perverts.

    • mormos

      I would tell you some of the reasons I occasionally DO go to walmart, but the statement could be used against me in court…

  • AlterNewt

    Why won't Fox use more superlatives?!

  • Hey, man! This is so cool! The government effectively pays Wal-Mart for the right to hire workers!

    Capitalism at its finest, folks!

  • EatsBabyDingos

    BE IT Resolved by the Board of Directors of Wal-Mart that the beer sellers (cashiers) are now declared to be "waitstaff," and their wages cut to the federally mandated $2.08 per hour, and be it
    FURTHER RESOLVED that the waitstaff can put a little empty Hobobean can at their waitstaff position and grovel for tips.

    Thus say the omnipotent Articles of Incorporation. Let it so be done.

    • mormos

      christ man! don't give them ideas.

  • BaldarTFlagass

    Walmart will probably give out coupons to its employees to use at Papa John's Pizza, as part of their benefits package.

    • AlterNewt

      It's the Circle of Cheese, man.

      • eggsacklywright

        aka the great wheel of parameciums.

        • a paramecium has a flagella to whip the poors into shape, right?

      • not that Dewey

        Hakuna Parmesiana

    • Biff

      But only at Papa John's that are also conveniently located inside a Super Walmart.

    • RedneckMuslin

      Wal Mart employees can't afford Papa John's Pizza. He'll be raising it 10 cents per pizza.

      • BaldarTFlagass

        I thought Peyton Manning made him give away 2 million free pizzas during NFL season this year.

        • snowpointsecret

          Nah, he only did 1 million of those. We should have known he was greedy when he wouldn't listen to Peyton on his own commercial.

  • SnarkOff

    If the WalMart employees weren't so lazy, they'd sell drugs or blowjobs.

  • EnnuiThereYet?

    You're looking at this the wrong way. Think of all the data analysts Walmart hired to run these numbers.

    • gullywompr

      One of the few companies left that use (and need) mainframes, and squeeze every byte out of them.

    • Guppy

      Independent contractors.

  • Biff

    Here at walmart, we treat you like family!


    • BaldarTFlagass

      Yeah, if you're the Borgias.

  • 1stNewtontheMoon

    well, as long you can buy some shit made by your (even lower wage) chinese counterpart, a 3 lb vat of mayonnaise, and the latest Ann Coulter book for $8.68, then who's complaining?

    • You have to eat the mayo. You wouldn't want to accidentally live until you were 100 working for those skinflints.

  • But in their defense they would probably have to raise prices 2 1/2 cents/item to pay for employee healthcare/retirement/basic human needs…. How can they compete?

    • elviouslyqueer

      That's not low cost price matching we can believe in!

  • BaldarTFlagass

    At least they get to wear those snappy blue vests at work. I bet Walmart issues them for free to all of their associates.

    • gullywompr

      You get your deposit back when you leave, if you return it.

      • Oblios_Cap

        Who would want to keep one?

        • gullywompr

          Not so much that you want to keep it, but that you don't feel like returning it (I lost a deposit on my Busch Gardens uniform after I decided to fuck that place. Looking back, it was an OK summer job for a college kid, but I was a college kid, and "fuck that <fill in the blank>" was a rote decision at the time).

    • Negropolis

      What snobs. Where's my blue vest, hengh?

  • bravo_sierra

    I'd be curious to know how many employees will have their hours reduced so Walmart can avoid giving them benefits. My guess is that they're already keeping most of their employees at part time. Also, holyfuckingshit to working 40 hours a week and making just $14,403. Kind of makes forcing the 47% to start "paying their fair share" in federal income taxes seem a little ridiculous.

    • DCBloom

      Worst part of that is that they refuse to give them regular part-time hours. They open one day, close the next….. this way, it's impossible to take a second job.

      • Oblios_Cap

        If they had a second job, the company wouldn't be in complete ownership of their serfs. And they might realize there are better jobs than at Wal-Mart.

  • gullywompr

    Watch out for falling wages. (smiley face)

  • Let's see, feeling stabby comes after feeling shouty. And by that reasoning then feeling shootie (with or without votes) comes after stabby. What comes after feeling shootie, 'cause that's what the Walton's get me feeling? It would be so sweet to say goodnight to this tribe.

    • MosesInvests

      Feeling nukey?

      • HogeyeGrex

        I think feeling napalmy comes before that.

        Though, in the effort to keep with weejee's "s" words, 'splodey might be on the menu.

    • BaldarTFlagass

      Feeling nuke-y? Feeling nookie?

    • I think getting strangly comes in between

    • BadKitty904

      "Feeling burn-y" would be my guess…

      • Oblios_Cap

        Feeling pitchforky usually accompaines that feeling

        • I like the pitchforky, you could be so much more creative, than you can just being shootie. Torches a burnin' obvs goes with the pitchforks.

    • Guppy

      We at Wonkett only feel votey, ever.

  • EatsBabyDingos

    Wal-Mart will then offer free medical coverage (coathangers and tape) and dodge a billion in taxes with its new ASSociate BENefit Deduction, or "ASS-BEN-D." If you are sick, you get an ASS-BEN-D.

    • Toomush_Infer

      Is that like ASS PER INch?…

  • snowpointsecret

    Wait, Walmart is actually capable of lowering pay and benefits more than they already are? Wow, we really did get news here!

    • HogeyeGrex

      Clearly, someone in upper management has been slacking.

    • 1stNewtontheMoon

      In Russia, YOU pay WAL-MART to work for them.

  • If Wal-Mart human sacrificed a Greeter per night to appease the vengeful spirit of Sam Walton I would not be surprised.

  • EnnuiThereYet?

    A millennial version of Loretta Lynn is writing her signature song now:

    I was born a Walmart checker's daughter.

    • Negropolis


  • squirrel_time

    Dick moves?

    You can find them in aisle three.

    You're welcome.

  • SorosBot

    Wait, Wal-Mart might suddenly start trying to screw their workers out of earned benefits? That is just so completely new and shocking, I can't believe it!

  • Tommy1733

    It's funny that the Waltons are so wealthy yet choose to live in near-poverty:

  • BaldarTFlagass

    I'm looking at the picture at the top, and scratching my head. Do they actually have Walmarts in cities? I've only seen them in the suburbs, or on the outskirts of little towns with vacant central business districts (ie Main Street) out in the countryside.

    • SorosBot

      Oh yeah, they've got them in cities, but not in any central downtown areas that I know of, just in strip malls in outskirt neighborhoods.

      • Negropolis

        The big boxes are on their way to inner cities with their "urban" concept stores that don't require a lot of parking. There are a few urban Targets and such, now.

  • Disassembly

    Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go. I owe my soul to the company store.

  • edgydrifter

    Naturally, then, we should restrict Medicare eligibility and cut funding for food stamps, because that's the only way we can get these lazy parasites to break the cycle of government-enabled dependency. Why, I'll bet they'd all be successful hedge fund managers and think-tank fellows within a fortnight!

  • snowpointsecret

    Walmart superwingnutcenter: A full Walmart supercenter, along with a Papa John's, Chick-Fil-A, and a coal mine, all conveniently located in eastern Ohio!

    • StillGoinGreen

      You forgot the mega-church!

    • KotBR

      The fracking wells will be out back.

  • BigSkullF*ckingDog

    I wonder what percentage of these minimum wage, no healthcare having Walmart employees are teabaggers? In rural areas I'm guessing 75%.

  • BaldarTFlagass

    Always the cheapest way out. Always.

  • I'll first have to listen to Bill Clinton's soon-to-be-Grammy®-award-flashin' Back to Work, to reconcile how his home state's omnipredatory chain retailer repeatedly sends its workers home with $250-per-week, threw its Made-In-America priorities under the bus, denies promotions to women or people of color so deftly even the US Supreme Court can't decide how to mark them for obstructive tactics – – and yet considers itself a national treasure by Winning the Future, then dividing it up between six lucky legacy-bearers.

    • memzilla

      … for whom the Rethuglicans will lobby forever, to try to repeal the estate tax that seems aimed particularly at them, because it is, the greedy f**kheads.

      Anyone willing to bet me that returning the estate tax to Clinton-era levels would be enough to pay for every Walmart employee's healthcare? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

  • proudgrampa

    Brings new meaning to the phrase "I owe my soul to the company store."

    looks like disassembly beat me to it – great minds think alike!

    • FeloniousMonk

      The ghost of Tennessee Ernie Ford haunts all the threads about Walmart. Some say that, come the revolution, it will finally go to its eternal rest, but I say they're just whistling past the cemetery.

  • It's kinda fucked up, but ultimately the most compelling rationale for single-payer will be advanced by the opponents of healthcare reform, since the cheap motherfuckers won't allow their employees to afford anything else.

    • 1stNewtontheMoon

      perhaps. probably more likely they continue to tout a return to the old "don't get sick" system.

  • BigSkullF*ckingDog

    Last time I was in a Walmart the greeter slipped me a note asking me to please kill him. It was wierd.

    • Oblios_Cap

      Did you?

      • BigSkullF*ckingDog

        Of course I put him out of his misery. I'm not a monster.

  • hagajim

    And this is why single payer makes sense.

  • pdiddycornchips

    Who shops at Walmart? Mostly wingnuts and tea baggers. This is their shit sandwich, let them eat it. One day they will realize they only way to beat Walmart is to stop shopping there. That may take some time, These are not very bright people.

    • kyeshinka

      Not too bright at all. These are the people who take their one personal day per year and spend it waiting in line at Chic-filA Appreciation Day for shitty sandwiches THEY have to pay for. Just to stick it to a couple of gay people seven states away.

    • BadKitty904

      Truly. These are the low-income dumbasses who have fought so hard to protect the entitlements of rich right-wingers like the Waltons. OK, guys, you've made your corrupt, venal bed – now lie in it…

      • 1stNewtontheMoon

        you guys just don't get it. next year, they're going to be filthy fucking rich (right after the trailer is paid off). see, just like the waltons. and they won't want to pay any of them damn taxes either.

  • Hammiepants

    The level of "WTF" engendered by this article is nil.

  • Oblios_Cap

    How SAD if this means that the impoverished employees will only be able to afford to shop at Walmart

    ♪ I sold my soul to the company store…♫

  • Oblios_Cap

    I worked as a vendor delivering books to Wal-Martians years ago. They further degrade the employees by having the big sing-alongs at the start of a shift. Apparently, enthusiastic participation is mandatory when singing the praises of the Walton brood.

    • Lucidamente1

      Yay! Just like North Korea!!

      • Sadlyt, it's only the most egregious example of the "compulsory fun" that jerb creators shove down their wage-slaves' throats in order to guilt them into subservience.

    • You know who else made the serfs engage in big singalongs?

      • BaldarTFlagass

        Baron von Trapp?

      • HistoriCat

        The Beach Boys?

        Oh – you said serfs.

  • BadKitty904

    I wonder if future Walmart employees will have to pay for their own shackles and branding?

    • Oblios_Cap

      And the bullet used to dispose of them when they can no longer work?

  • Come here a minute

    If only there was a way for the workers to act as a group to increase their leverage against their employer.

    • Negropolis

      Rick Snyder is about to murder unions in Michigan, so all of the rest of the nation should kiss their ass good bye. If they can get away with it in the birthplace of the Flint Sit-Down Strike, they will get away with it anywhere.

  • TootsStansbury


  • HRH_Maddie

    The worst part about all of this is that I imagine a large number of Walmart employees vote Republican and are probably opposed to Obamacare.

  • Jus_Wonderin

    I might be wrong, but I am beginning to think Wal-Mart is more interested in profit than the welfare of their employees.

  • Oblios_Cap

    Maybe a retail workers' association that could somehow represent them in negotiations for better wages and some benefits…

    • BigSkullF*ckingDog

      Commies !

  • Low Low Prices brought to you by Socializing the costs and capitalizing the profits for the rich.

  • Goonemeritus

    This is a tragedy, thanks to Obama these poor workers went from sub poverty wages to slightly lower sub-sub poverty wages.

  • snowpointsecret

    I guess there's one slight bit of good news out of this. Now I have another reason to hate Wal-Mart, my last new reason was more of a minor annoyance.

    Not that I didn't have good reasons otherwise, mind you, but it reinforces why we all hate them so much.

  • A conservative (though on the other hand relatively open-minded, though on the third hand absolutely low-information) friend of mine just got his hours cut at Enterprise, for the same ostensible reason. "Is there ANYTHING good you can say about Obamacare?" he asks. Well, let's see, it WILL insure about 30 mill of the 50 million current uninsured, 20,000 of whom die each year as a result, so it does SAVE LIVES. "Why doesn't anybody ever mention that?" he replies. Sigh.

  • DahBoner

    Walmart's dick move

    Working on those dick moves…

  • widestanceromance

    Alrighty then. I've collected all the reasons why I have not stepped foot in a Walmart for years. Now, all I need is a nice glass cabinet to showcase them.

    Walmart is filth.

  • Toomush_Infer

    Do I have to be the first to say it? – if us U.S. taxpayers have to subsidize the healthcare and underemployment expenses of Walmart, isn't it time to nationalize them Waltons?….

    • pdiddycornchips

      Nationalize Walmart? That's SOCIALISM!!! The great masses in fly over country prefer Feudalism.

    • schvitzatura

      Walmart = American Glavnyi/Gosudarstvennyi Universalnyi Magazin!

  • steamynachos

    Isn't this just proving the point that the government should be handling healthcare in the first place? Might this actually hasten to move to Single Payer?

  • decentcitizen

    Wal-Mart is making a fine case for single-payer.

  • HobbesEvilTwin

    They built that.

  • ttommyunger

    One sure way to turn a loyal employee into a loafer, cheat and thief is for the employer to constantly underpay and fuck over him/her. Check that box. I normally don't advocate for shoplifting either, but Walmart makes it seem so right…

    • Negropolis

      I wonder what kind of insurance Walmart has? It must be through the roof.

      • ttommyunger

        Especially when you count the life insurance they take out on their most at-risk employees.Sent from the Field, not in Garrison.

  • sullivanst

    Last time I looked I didn't think merely being woefully poor qualified a healthy single non-parent for Medicaid in every state. True, Obamacare was supposed to fix that, but then "Justice" Roberts and his asshole friends were all like "States can tell Barry to go shove it on that part, even though it'll really fuck up one of the grounding assumptions in the individual mandate calculation", and guess just which states are most prone to telling Bamz to shove those Federal dollars up his ass if he's thinking about paying for poorz' healthcare with them…

  • Respitetini

    Are there no workhouses?

    • Guppy

      This is the workhouse!

  • lochnessmonster

    I owe my soul to the company STORE…

  • christianmuslin

    I like Walmart. I don't ever shop there, once was enough. However, its existence reduces the number of diabetic go-carts at the malls.

  • BZ1

    Is this the same Walmart that had a union in a store in Quebec and then closed down the store, throwing everyone out of work. Yes, thought so.

  • sati_demise

    So Walmart can suck on our socializms even more then they do now?

    Is that even possible?

  • sati_demise

    Waiting for the Monsanto vs Pharma PPV wrestling match when health insurance corporations realize they have to pay for all the health problems caused by shitty Monsanto GMO foods.

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