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 350.org 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.