The other way we're subsidizing Walmart...

Most of us know how taxpayers subsidize Walmart's low wages with billions of dollars in Medicaid, food stamps, and other financial assistance for workers. But, did you know that we're also subsidizing the retail giant by paying the cost of their environmental destruction.

According to a new report from The Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Walmart is one of the world's biggest consumers of coal, which makes them one of the leading carbon polluters. The authors of that study calculated how much electricity the chain uses, how much coal they consume, and the greenhouse gas emitted by every Walmart store and distribution center in our country.

The results were “staggering” - showing that Walmart uses 19.5 million megawatt hours of energy – the same amount used by “every industrial facility in New Jersey and West Virginia put together.” That is six times more electricity than the entire U.S. Auto industry, and 75 percent of all their energy comes from coal.

Walmart isn't only dodging their responsibility to pay a living wage or contribute to our nation by paying their fair share of taxes. They're also skipping out on the bill when it comes to society's cost of cleaning up our environment.

Bill McKibben of said, “It's unconscionable that the country's largest employer and the world's largest company is choosing to hurt our planet and hurt working families with its dirty operations and poverty pay.” He added, “Walmart and the Waltons can help our communities truly live better by switching to clean energy and paying workers a fair wage.” And, McKibben is exactly right.

One of the best ways to make that happen is to stop covering the costs of these practices. Let's end the subsidies by making Walmart pay a living wage, and by putting a tax on the tons of carbon that they're pumping into our atmosphere.


Roger Ledbetter's picture
Roger Ledbetter 9 years 30 weeks ago

I've been trying to call in for over a week, and get this message: "Your call can not be completed as dialed." I called the 1-866-987-8466 number on both my land line and my cell phone. Please help.

My comment is about marijuana from last week. I live in Washington and voted to legalize pot because so many people are harmed due to the black market. But that doesn't mean that I think it is a harmless recreational drug. It does little harm to those who use it infrequently. But a few people become potheads and smoke pot daily and even many times a day. Saying it is less harmful than alcohol is like saying shooting your foot with a 22 is less harmful than a 45. People do become chemically dependent on marijuana. Pot is unique and complex. As a chemical dependency (CD) counselor, I spent 3 hours on the various bad effects of marijuana, and only an hour on cocaine where the damage is less subtle and easier to demonstrate. Tom, as much as love you, I think you go too far when you start sounding like a commercial for pot. Because of the absurd classification as a schedule 1 drug, I don't think it has been studied as much as it will be now that it is legal. A very subtle negative effect of marijuana is that it interferes with REM sleep. This seems to be fairly common knowledge in the CD treatment field, but not known else where. I worked with criminal offenders and cannabis dependent people for 34 years, and have had many report, once they got sober, that they are dreaming again. To my knowledge this has not been studied. The only reference I have been able to find in the literature is from the Height-Asbury clinic. REM sleep is critical to mental health and feeling rested. This could explain a-motivational syndrome. Over and over again, when a cannabis dependent person finally gets clean, they have reported to me that they have more energy, are getting more done, and like it. One more Idea: Pot might interfere with the healing from PTSD. Some of our best trauma researchers think that nightmares are the body trying to heal itself from trauma just like a fever helps to heal an infection, or swelling symbolizes a broken bone. A nightmare allows you re-experience the trauma in a safe non-life threatening way just like talking about it in therapy. I have had vets report marijuana is a benefit because they don't have nightmares. Perhaps marijuana interferes with healing from PTSD? I don't think this has been studied. You said on the air that you had a "great night's sleep". Perhaps you did not? Not having REM sleep, is easy not to notice. A problem with marijuana is that some people think they are doing much better when high, than they really are.

ckrob's picture
ckrob 9 years 30 weeks ago

Re the callers advocating a Sanders/Warren ticket in 2016, money will be an essential to have any traction in a campaign. If the ticket develops, I pledge to put $5/mo. (maybe more) on my bank auto payment function. A million similar grass roots folks would generate $5 million a month (or more) freeing Bernie and Elizabeth from fund raising pressures/obligations. Anyone else?

Our candidates are always picked by the party bigwigs, This is a way around that bunch of sellouts.

SueN's picture
SueN 9 years 30 weeks ago

Sorry Roger, that is probably the phone company's fault, and what it actually means is that all the lines are all full. Please try ringing as soon as you hear somebody ring off.

Johnnie Dorman's picture
Johnnie Dorman 9 years 30 weeks ago

Say, Roger. I'm sixty years old and I've been smoking Marijuana since I was twenty-three. I smoke frequently, and In all that time, I have never experienced any of the problems that you have mentioned here. I dream and I get my REM sleep just fine. In fact, I sleep better under the influence of Marijuana. As for your statment about it being better to be shot with a 22 than a 45 caliber bullet, I would say that people deserve the right to chose what recreational drug they prefer if they choose to do any type of recreational drug at all. Since I choose to use some type of recreational drug, I simply prefer to be shot in the foot by a 22 rather than losing my entire foot by being shot there with a 45. A better choice and a better recreational drug. In consideration of all that you said, I think you're full of it.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 30 weeks ago

Reply to #1: Roger, please learn the facts before spouting off your opinion about something you know little about. Marijuana is NOT a harmful as alcohol, even to those who overindulge. Unlike alcohol and hard drugs and even some (ahem) prescription drugs, pot is not physically addicting, although some people do become psychologically addicted to it. Your analogy is way off base, and as a chemical dependency counselor you should know better than that. I smoke the stuff regularly myself and it has not interfered with my REM sleep.

As one who loves cannabis and has smoked it for nearly a half century, I am tired of all the fearmongering and misinformation getting passed around about my chosen vice and tired of having to defend it. Thom’s perspective on this issue is truly a breath of fresh air. - AIW

xunergos's picture
xunergos 9 years 30 weeks ago

as an avid user (wake and bake) of MJ since 16 (now 61) i remember my dreams nightly although i do remember them better after not using mj for 3 days. i am a business owner and have been self employed my entire life. you would be hard pressed to prove that my use of mj has any resemblence to shooting myself. more like healing the wounds of all the cheap shots made by uninformed people who make their living trying to tell me my life would somehow be better if i weren't so freaking happy. current research on cbd's in mj show the amazing cancer fighting properties of the plant and it is my understanding other current studies show a correlation between mj use and a lower incidence of alzheimers. introduction of infrared radiation and products of combustion directly into the lungs is probably never an optimal delivery method so i converted to eating my herb or vaporizing it as early as the 1980's. as far as a "good night's sleep" i bounce out of bed every morning fully rested and do not use stimulants like caffeine except for on extremely rare occaisions. the people i know weho are strictly cannabis users and eat extemely healthfully without using alcohol, caffeine, or excessive sugar all have more energy and healthier outlooks on life than anyone else i know.

ChicagoMatt 9 years 29 weeks ago

Concerning Thom's topic: If the problem is that we are subsidizing Wal-Mart's low pay, the answer might lie in taking away the subsidies. If they were faced with a workforce that suddenly couldn't feed themselves/or were motivated to find better work/ or were demotivated to work as well, then maybe Wal Mart would be forced to pay more. That is, if they know the government is going to help their employees, where's Wal Mart's motivation to change? Just a thought.

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