Is the Tide of Public Opinion Turning Against Walmart?
Corporations have become the arbiters of social well-being. Some, like Walmart, abuse the system, relying on government subsidies like food stamps to provide for their employees.
What's the Latest?
Our do-nothing Congress continues to refuse policy measures aimed at creating a more equitable society. Raising minimum wage? Won't even discuss it. Student loan burdens? Tough. Environmental protection? Yawn. Corporations have become the arbiters of social well-being. Some, like Walmart, abuse the system, relying on government subsidies like food stamps to provide for their employees. "By one measure...the average Walmart superstore cost taxpayers $904,000 a year in various subsidies, or more than $5,000 per employee." For the upper crust at Walmart, life is grand. Last year the company made $17 billion in profits and executives took eight-figure salaries.
What's the Big Idea?
Legislative obstructionism has brought about a "free market" which is more active in some areas of society than government. While companies like Starbucks display their conscience in press releases, others maintain the dangerous illusion that as a business, their only responsibility is to turn a profit. Even so, Walmart could do better for its 1.4 million workers without diminishing its stock value. "Writing in Fortune.com, Stephen Gandel concluded that Walmart could give workers a 50 percent raise without hurting shareholder value." And Bill Gross, the founder of the investment firm PIMCO, recently said that "labor and capital have to share in the rewards of a productive economy, and for the last 25 years labor has gotten the short end of the stick."
Read more at the New York Times
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Civil discourse has fallen to an all time low.
The question that the American populace needs to ask itself now is: how do we fix it?
Discursive fundamentals need to be taught to preserve free expression
In their findings the authors state:
upholding First Amendment ideals.
Talking politics at Thanksgiving dinner
- Progressive Activists: younger, highly engaged, secular, cosmopolitan, angry.
- Traditional Liberals: older, retired, open to compromise, rational, cautious.
- Passive Liberals: unhappy, insecure, distrustful, disillusioned.
- Politically Disengaged: young, low income, distrustful, detached, patriotic, conspiratorial
- Moderates: engaged, civic-minded, middle-of-the-road, pessimistic, Protestant.
- Traditional Conservatives: religious, middle class, patriotic, moralistic.
- Devoted Conservatives: white, retired, highly engaged, uncompromising,
It's interesting to note the authors found that:
"Tribe membership shows strong reliability in predicting views across different political topics."
Here are some statistics on differing viewpoints according to political party:
- 51% of staunch liberals say it's "morally acceptable" to punch Nazis.
- 53% of Republicans favor stripping U.S. citizenship from people who burn the American flag.
- 65% of Republicans say NFL players should be fired if they refuse to stand for the anthem.
- 58% of Democrats say employers should punish employees for offensive Facebook posts.
- 47% of Republicans favor bans on building new mosques.
Here are some guidelines for civic discourse that might come in handy:
- Practice inclusion and listen to who you're speaking to.
Civic discourse in the divisive age
dangerously tribal, fueled by a culture of outrage and taking offense. For the combatants,
the other side can no longer be tolerated, and no price is too high to defeat them.
These tensions are poisoning personal relationships, consuming our politics and
putting our democracy in peril.
Once a country has become tribalized, debates about contested issues from
immigration and trade to economic management, climate change and national security,
become shaped by larger tribal identities. Policy debate gives way to tribal conflicts.
Polarization and tribalism are self-reinforcing and will likely continue to accelerate.
The work of rebuilding our fragmented society needs to start now. It extends from
re-connecting people across the lines of division in local communities all the way to
building a renewed sense of national identity: a bigger story of us."
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