It is rare that I use this website to speak for or against issues that are not specifically addressed in God’s Word, but this is an exception. That said, I am looking for a Christian response, an opinion from the body of Christ, something that may unite us on this topic. So, feel free to join in and respond, repost, and share.
The salary package of the CEO of Wal-Mart was announced as reaching $25.6 million dollars; much of which is the result of stock options, but let’s agrees, that’s a lot of money . The CFO received $8.2 million, or three times less, but a number that is out of my range of thought none the less . These announcements came shortly after reports that Wal-Mart made more than $17 billion in profits  while paying more than half of their employees less than $25,000 a year . In Tennessee, the numbers can be worse. For example, a full-time employee can make $8 an hour, $320 a week, which translates to $17,240 a year. This, while the poverty line figures were released in February of this year showing that a family of four is below poverty if they make $23,850 . Let’s keep in mind, Wal-mart employees one million people. That is a lot of people to keep in poverty.
So what’s the beef?
So what, right? Are you reading a shrugging your shoulders and thinking, what does that have to do with me? Let me tell you what that has to do with you, taxpayer. As long as Wal-mart pays below poverty, the government is subsidizing the incomes of those employees. In other words, when a household is making $20,000 a year (and let’s keep in mind, that is while working 40 hours a week), the government is paying out food stamps for those who apply, plus a housing subsidy, and now, untold dollars for medical insurance. According to a government study of Wal-mart in Wisconsin, 300 employees were receiving at least $900,000 in governmental aid . That figure will only go up because of Obamacare.
Let me just translate all of this information for you. The government, or more properly-you the taxpayer, is paying Wal-mart to subsidize their poor salaries to a million people, in order that Wal-mart can show a $17 billion profit and pay its CEO $25.6 million. How does this make you feel?
The Complaint Against the Government
Now, I know that there are some of you reading this right now who are ready to jump on the government and start complaining that it is not the government’s responsibility to do charity, pay welfare, and that they should stay out of the food stamp business. Ok, I am not going to make the argument that the church failed to support the poor during the FDR administration and that is why subsidies were made, and the further failing during the Johnson administration and the result of his war on poverty—let’s make that argument in a future post. In the meantime, let me just agree with you. Fine-done. So then, it is the church’s job to help the poor.
Let’s now assume that the church will do a perfect job and begin to help the poor in vast huge numbers. Ok, this doesn’t solve the problem because instead of the government subsidizing Wal-mart, the church will be subsidizing Wal-mart and making sure that Wal-mart keeps its $17 billion profits.
So, what is the solution?
So, what do we do? What is a Christian solution? What does the Bible say, if anything? Certainly, the Bible speaks out against greed and against coveting. The 10th commandment is “Thou shalt not covet.” So, is it wrong? Is it sin? Is it immoral?
To be sure, Wal-mart is simply using the capitalistic system that most American Christians support. But should we have some control? Is there a stopping point?
Should Christians boycott Wal-mart? Should we protest?
Proverbs 31:8,9 Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously; defend the rights of the poor and needy. ESV
Let’s begin the conversation and stand for the poor and against avarice. Please respond.