Monday, November 18, 2013

Me and Kati (9)

Well, Kati, we haven’t had a talk for a few days. There are a number of things we need to discuss. That is, I need to discuss while you, as usual, just listen. One thing, I am somewhat put off by your overly aggressive sleeping habits. You used to sleep with me every night, then for a long time you didn’t, and now you do again. I don’t mind you sleeping on the bed with me, but you insist on having to sleep tight against me. Thus when I turn over or move, and you then move closer, we move randomly across the bed all night which I find uncomfortable. Why can’t you sleep like Spencer, who sleeps on the far corner of the bed and you hardly know he is even there until you wake up? You think because you have such a pretty face you can get away with anything…and you can.

But that is not the most important thing on my mind at the moment, it is Walmart, even though it is none of my business. Well, Kati, in a way it is my business as it seems it is my tax dollars that subsidizes this disgusting Dickensian enterprise. First of all, Kati, we already know that because of their terribly low and unfair wages we taxpayers are already subsidizing them by having to cover health care costs, food stamps, and the other necessities they do not provide. Now, however, they seem to have reached an all-time low in expecting even more aid. In at least one Walmart store they are now asking their employees to donate to a fund so that their employees can enjoy a decent Thanksgiving. In other words, they want their employees to subsidize Thanksgiving dinners for other employees (because their employees do not make enough money to enjoy Thanksgiving on their own). I don’t believe the word Chutzpa extends quite this far. It seems that the average Walmart employee makes somewhere around $15,000 to $17,000 a year (although Walmart claims it is $25,000). In any case, with wages that low the only way their employees can survive is through food stamps and other forms of welfare which we, the taxpayers, are paying. This situation is ridiculous enough to begin with, but now when they expect their employees to donate to other employees can celebrate a national holiday, they have reached a new low. I’m not entirely certain even Dickens would have gone so far.

This absurd, if not completely obscene business model (like most), wants to insist they cannot pay higher wages and make a profit, a claim that is in this case (and virtually all other cases), patently untrue. When you understand that the five (or maybe six) Walmart heirs have together more money than some 40% of the population at large, they could easily share some of their billions with their workers that make it possible. I guess this might mean they might individually get a few billions less but what the hell, why should they (I mean, after all, they “work hard” for their money, they really “earn it,” and they “deserve it”). And so, Kati, that’s the way it is here in the America of unrestrained capitalism. It just doesn’t get any more absurd or obscene than that, but it’s the “best economic system” in the world, and why should workers get any more money anyway, they’d just piss it away buying Picassos, yachts, and unborn lamb.

 I think, Kati, that no decent country would allow the massive imbalance in wealth that now exists here in the U.S. It may be there aren’t so many decent countries in the world but it would be nice if we could claim to be one. But we have become shameless in our exploitation of labor, the environment, the neglect of our children and education, our infrastructure, and our attitude towards the less fortunate. We will doubtless pay the price of this cavalier attitude towards our lives and especially those of our children. But as the thoughtful George W. the Dim said, “ha ha, we’ll all be dead by then.”

If I think too much about all of those Chinese factories where all the stuff in a Wal-Mart is made, I get that woozy feeling you get when you see ducks covered in crude oil.

No comments: