Don't support businesses that wreck middle class
To the editor:
In response to Clarence Fanto's June 19 column "The bottom line: Walmart supercenter too good an opportunity to squander," another low-paying employer is exactly the wrong choice for the William Stanley Business Park in Pittsfield.
Why should taxpayers subsidize more low-paying jobs while Walmart continues to make billions of dollars each year? This points to a much larger issue in our society, one that I think is often misrepresented.
People who rely on government "entitlement" programs are often criticized as being "lazy" or "part of the problem." The problem is not entitlement programs or the people who are forced to rely on them. The problem is that we (the shrinking middle class) are no longer able to support ourselves and our families with a single bread-winner and his/her salary. This is a direct result of anti-union, right-wing politics, and multi-billion dollar corporations (like Walmart) not paying a living wage for our efforts.
No one really wants to rely on some government handout to provide for their family. We all want to be able to support our families' needs with what we earn at work. It creates a sense of pride and fulfillment. It allows us to believe in the American Dream. If we are unable to, the entire system (democratic capitalism) is at risk.
If the social contract, whereby we all believe that our hard work will be rewarded with a better life for ourselves and our children, breaks down, then what is our motivation for continuing to follow the rules when the other side refuses to? Certainly, more low-paying jobs, tax breaks for the wealthy, and selling our collective souls to Walmart are not the answer. I think we should keep that in mind while considering whether or not to allow Walmart to build yet another "superstore" in our area.
The "bottom line" is this: I for one am tired of footing the bill for their anti-middle class, planet-destroying, low-wage-creating policies. It's past time for us to stand up and be counted, by voting.
If large corporations want to pay a less than living wage, they should be penalized the exact amount those employees would receive from the government to supplement those wages. That way, those employees won't have to rely on "entitlement" programs. Now that would be "too good an opportunity to squander."
Alan T. Will, Dalton