Sunday, June 19, 2005

An Open Letter to Sen. Hillary Clinton

Dear Sen. Clinton,

On the last "Crossfire" show, a clip about you was shown. It mentioned you were/are on the board of directors of Wall-Mart. The issue that I wish to address is Wall-Mart's refusal to provide health care benefits for their workers.

Your public service record clearly shows you care deeply about the health care issue. And I realize that when Wall-Mart was a small business starting out in Arkansas, it could not afford to pay health care benefits for its employees. Few new businesses can.

But Wall-Mart is no longer a struggling new business. It is a thriving one. And they are stealing from the taxpayer.

Wall-Mart, by counseling its employees to apply for Medi-caid and other government run health programs, is stealing from every taxpayer in the USA. Instead of being a morally responsible company, doing its duty, and paying to insure the health benefits of its workers, Wall-Mart chooses to pass these expenses on to the government. And when the government pays, the taxpayer pays.

Yet, Wall-Mart agreed to pay for health care benefits for employees in stores located in the People's Republic of China. My question is, why does Wall-Mart do more for its foreign employees than it does for Americans? Was it not America that gave Wall-Mart its start? Was it not America that made Wall-Mart the thriving business it is today?

Is this how a corporate Wall-Mart thanks those that made it rich? Seems to me a company that started out doing a good thing, and needing a little government help to create this good thing, has taken advantage of those that helped it.

What bothers me is I know someone in the Silicon Valley area of California. He works for Costco. Costco has great prices and does a wonderful job for consumers. And Costco STARTS their workers (in this area of California, anyway) at $10 per hour. After a year, they get health benefits. Yes, Costco's balance sheet is not as lucrative as Wall-Mart's and their stock is not as high on Wall Street. But to create the high profits Wall-Mart enjoys, Costco would have to pay their employees less and take away their benefits.

Why should Costco, and other companies like it, be penalized for doing the right thing? Costco, in my opinion, because it cares about its employees, should be rewarded by the system and not take home a smaller paycheck in the form of lower stock prices.

What do I think you should do about it? First, I think you should speak out loudly, publically, and often, against Wall-Mart's health care policies. Not to mention their theft of taxpayer dollars by forcing their low-paid employees into taxpayer paid health care.

Second, you should write and promote legislation that penalizes companies like Wall-Mart. How? By increasing their taxes to pay the health care costs of employees who qualify for goverment plans. If they won't pay for private insurance, make them pay for the public insurance their employees use.

It is time for Wall-Mart and other such companies to grow up. When you are young and new, just as when you are a small child, not much is expected of you. It is understood that you can only do so much until you grow as a business.

But like a child, as a business grows and matures, it must accept more responsiblity. You do not give a newborn a 10-speed bicycle. First the child must learn to walk, then ride a tricycle. The child learns to care for the trike. Keep it clean, keep it out of the driveway, etc. Then comes the bike with training wheels. And so on, until the child is ready for the big, cool, 10-speed.

Along the way the child's responsibilities increase. So, too, should the small business that becomes a large corporation. Wall-Mart long-ago left its training wheels behind. It has surpassed the 10-speed and is racing down the economic highway in a brand-new high-speed sports car. And yet, no one has asked it to increase its responsibilties. Like the child with the trike, it is still depending on government hand-outs to care for the health needs of its employees. And while it is doing so, other companies are taking home less profits just because they do the right thing. Wall-Mart should be ashamed.

And, Sen. Clinton, we are depending on you to put them to shame.

The Democrat Lady


sly said...

Amen! This bit about WalMart (might better now be China Mart) vs. Costco. Same here, Costco pays better and has better benefits and better service than Sam's. Also, not to mention that the WalMart went from being pro-American and tying to have American goods and make American jobs went out the door and much you talk about came about as a result of Sam Walton leaving it to his kids. They have made it grow and make more money, but they care about nothing and nobody but making themselves and the shareholders more money.

Yes, we need to do something about WalMart as a nation. It is pathetic that they can get by with some of what they do, especially concerning employees.

Blue Cross of California said...

Walmart really needs to work to provide there employees with proper health care.