Wal-Mart campaigns for taxpayer subsidy

At least that's the way I read this: Wal-Mart funds opponents of California ballot measure - Oct. 26, 2004:
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Tuesday it will spend $500,000 in a bid to defeat a California ballot measure requiring larger employers to pay for health care coverage for workers.

Wal-Mart (Research), the world's largest retailer, said it got involved in the issue after supporters of the measure, called Proposition 72, featured the company in a television ad campaign.

"The ads attempt to make Wal-Mart a scapegoat, claiming we do not provide affordable health care," Wal-Mart spokeswoman Cynthia Lin said in a statement. "These are outright lies."

The television commercial, which began running last weekend, claims California taxpayers last year paid more than $32 million for health care for Wal-Mart employees "because the company won't provide affordable health coverage."

One doesn't have to be a liberal to recognize that the costs of living are the costs of living, and that low-paying jobs with no benefits end up costing the taxpayers money in terms of uninsured medical care at emergency rooms, often for non-emergency illnesses that would better be managed in clinical care. It's a rather bald assertion that Wal-Mart is costing taxpayers so much, but in this day and age, it seems to be the only way to get any traction with the public. We certaintaly cannot seem to count on the media to explore any of the issues.

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