In the series “The Secret Life of a Food Stamp,” Marketplace reporter Krissy Clark traces how big-box stores make billions from the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, aka food stamps. What’s more, the wages of many workers at these stores are so low that the workers themselves qualify for food stamps—which the employees then often spend at those big-box stores.
This video crunches the numbers on how much Walmart, the single biggest beneficiary of the food stamp economy, might have to raise prices across the board to help a typical worker earn a living wage.
A note on methodology: Eligibility for food stamps varies according to income, number of dependents, and other factors. This estimate of Walmart’s potential cost from raising wages is based on wages for a Walmart employee with one dependent working 30 hours a week, a typical retail worker based on federal data.
“Each year, the federal government hands approximately $10 billion over to the richest 1% of Americans — mainly to rich retirees — according to an IBD analysis of data on various federal transfer programs.”
— “The Richest 1% Get $10 Billion A Year From Uncle Sam”, Investor’s Business Daily
There are 120 million households in the US, so let’s just say that the 1% is 1.2 million households. Diving $10 billion by 1.2 million and you get $8,333 in average yearly payouts to each ultra-rich household.
Compare this to the fact that the average yearly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, e.g., food stamps) annual benefit is $3,300 year.
Before we start cutting food stamps, we should start means testing Social Security and Medicare.
I first became interested in outsourcing during my employment at Frontera Corporation in 1999. Less expensive employees working with H-1B visas or contractors replaced many of our most seasoned programmers and project managers. As I learned how decreasing transaction costs would cause price (wage) differences between countries to narrow, I realized just how important this topic would become for the next decade.
At over fifty pages with several pages of econometric tables, the paper is too large to attempt to reproduce here for you in HTML format. I have included the introduction as a teaser below and hope you will download and enjoy the full paper. I also hope that you find it interesting and I look forward to hearing your comments.