Reprinted from Campaign For America's Future
See if this business model sounds familiar:
-- Close American factories and offshore production to a low-wage country with few environmental regulations. (Note: moving a factory out of the country "increases trade" and they say that's a good thing.)
-- Replace American-made goods with cheap stuff made overseas.
-- Pay workers so little that they need public assistance to get by.
-- Let executives and shareholders pocket the wage and cost-of-protecting-environment differential.
-- Use your status as a giant, multinational corporation to drive smaller competitors under.
-- Watch as your shareholders who benefit from this model use their wealth to influence government to keep wages low, keep the offshoring going, keep the tax-dodge loopholes open, and keep the workers from unionizing.
Some call this the "Walmart Model." One result of this model is that the six "Walmart heirs" are so wealthy from inherited stock that they have more wealth than 42 percent of all Americans combined. That figure is from 2012. It may be worse now.
The billionaires created by stripping the rest of our wages (and taxes needed to fund our government) use the wealth gained from this model to influence our government and keep the game going. For example, the Walton heirs helped fund a drive to repeal inheritance taxes. The Walmart heirs were one of 18 families that funded a 10-year campaign to get rid of inheritance taxes. In 2006 Congress did just that. Public Citizen documented how these families used front groups to push the "death tax" AstroTurf campaign to convince Americans that average people ("They're taking family farms!") were affected by this tax, when only one-fourth of one percent of Americans were affected at all. This campaign gave politicians "cover" to vote for the repeal. (Congress has since restored some of the estate tax.)
A Measure Of The Cost
How much does this Walmart-model economy cost? A new study measured job losses from Walmart's offshoring at 400,000.
The New York Times reports on the study, in "Walmart's Imports From China Displaced 400,000 Jobs, a Study Says":
"Imports from China by Walmart, the nation's largest retailer and biggest importer, eliminated or displaced over 400,000 jobs in the United States between 2001 and 2013 ...