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Walmart is back trying to convince Grand Rapids it wants to fight hunger

April 11, 2012

It has been over a year now, but the retail giant Walmart is once again trying to get cities across the country to fight for $1 million dollars they want to donate to “fight hunger.”

Like the last time, local news agencies bought into the claim that Walmart wants to fight hunger and encouraged people to like the Fight Hunger GR facebook page. Local hunger relief agencies like Kids Food Basket and Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank are also promoting the Walmart campaign, since their agencies would be beneficiaries of the money if Grand Rapids won.

The Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank even posted a story on the citizen journalism site, the Rapidian. The article is nothing more than a pitch for the Walmart campaign that carries the simple message, “like our page and Grand Rapids can fight hunger.”

If anyone is serious about fighting hunger they will look at the reasons why people are going hungry. Once we explore the root causes we can see that not only do local charities that provide food assistance not fight hunger, in some ways they perpetuate social inequities by re-directing people’s energy and good will to keeping their organizations in operation.

The root cause of hunger in the US is not because there isn’t enough food, it is about having daily access to nutritious food. The main reason people do not have daily access to nutritious food is because millions live in poverty in the US. According to the official pull yourself up by your bootstraps narrative would say people live in poverty because they haven’t worked hard enough. This narrative is complete absurdity and should be apparently so since the 2008 economic bailout, where the financial industry was give billions of taxpayer’s money to keep them going even after they engaged is corrupt and fraudulent practices. Apparently, banks and other financial institutions don’t need to pull themselves up by the bootstraps, they just need a system that will bail them out.

Stealing a lot from the poor and giving a little back

The whole notion that Wal-Mart wants to fight hunger in America would make any reasonable person burst out in laughter. Thinking that the largest company in the world wants to actually fight hunger in America tells us something about how well propaganda works in this country. Here are several reasons why Wal-Mart is not committed to fighting hunger in the US.

1. Wal-Mart is the wealthiest company in the world with over $14 billion in profits last year alone. The company makes that kind of an annual profit because it has destroyed many local businesses and pays its workers poverty level wages. In 2008, Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott Jr. made a $29,682,000 salary, which according to United for a Fair Economy is 1,314 times more than the salary of an average full-time Wal-Mart worker.

2.If Wal-Mart paid its workers a livable wage they could seriously reduce the number of people needing food assistance in the United States. Wal-Mart also constantly violates worker pay agreements and is currently facing about 80 individual lawsuits from workers and 4 class action lawsuits for worker violations.

3.Wal-Mart gets millions in tax breaks every year from communities across the country when they broker deals to build new stores. In addition, Wal-Mart use state and federal tax loopholes to pay less in taxes and get all kinds of subsidies. For example, Wal-Mart has been taking advantage of a tax loophole that the federal government closed years ago, paying rent to itself then deducting it from state taxes in about twenty-five states. Data from filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission show that on average Wal-Mart has paid only about half the statutory state rates over the past decade.” (2008 Wal-Mart Watch Report)

4.Wal-Mart is a company, like any other company, that is committed to maximizing their profits. You cannot simultaneously end hunger and make a profit. Besides not paying workers in the US a livable wage, Wal-Mart profits off the misery of millions globally by selling products made in sweatshop conditions. Thus, Wal-Mart is also contributing to hunger around the world by benefiting off a neoliberal global economic system.

5.Wal-Mart’s board of directors is made up of a group of economic elites who are also committed to maximizing profits and maintaining inter-corporate relations, which allows them to be a united front against government and public scrutiny. Look at who sits on Wal-Mart’s Board of Directors and ask yourself if these people are committed to fighting hunger.

There are many more reasons to discredit the claim that Wal-Mart wants to fight hunger in America, but we think you get the point. Wal-Mart recognizes they are despised by millions of people throughout the country, so this new campaign is really a PR effort to paint themselves as a “responsible” corporation.

This tactic of “funding community projects” is not a new one employed by corporations. Robber Barons like Carnegie and Rockefeller did the same thing 100 years ago as a means to prevent working class rebellion against their obscene wealth in the face of widespread poverty.

Currently, companies like Chase Bank, Pepsi and Wal-Mart are also trying to con the public into thinking they care about our communities by offering funds for local projects. We need to see these efforts for what they are, elaborate public relations ploys to divert our attention from how they continue to amass incredible amounts of wealth while more and more people fall into poverty.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Kathy Mitro permalink
    April 13, 2012 4:33 pm

    A new call for federally mandated food

    donation in the United States is being

    called for.
    Food is too precious of a commodity to

    be thrown away.
    All food establishments called on to

    donate edible food at end of each work

    day instead of current policies of

    throwing perfectly edible food in trash

    each day.

    MANDATORY FOOD DONATION LAWS

    One in 7 people in the United States are

    hungry each day.

    Hunger is defined as the uneasy or

    painful sensation caused by want of

    food and the exhausted condition that

    goes with it.

    In 1997 The Department of Agriculture

    estimated that 96.4 billion pounds of

    the 356 billion pounds of edible food

    produced was never eaten.

    Since 1997 the number of billions of

    pounds of thrown away food has

    climbed even higher.

    This food is put into landfills where it

    decomposes producing methane gas, a

    major source of greenhouse gases.

    We can totally eradicate hunger in the

    United States by redirecting this food

    into a hungry mouth instead.

    A person totally impoverished is a

    person in crisis.

    Humanitarian societies take care of

    people in crisis regardless of how that

    crisis came about.

    We must feed our impoverished

    citizens.

    We can feed them at no cost.

    We must pass laws that mandate edible

    food be donated to share with the

    hungry.

    This is recycling at it’s best.

    We have now eradicated hunger and we

    have saved our environment.

    Help us pass these laws.

    Kathy Mitro kathymitro@yahoo.com

    WHAT CAN YOU DO:

    You can give as much media attention to

    getting these laws passed as possible.
    Voice your support for these laws.
    Put this call for mandatory food

    donation information on your website.
    Post this petition on your website it

    goes out to 6 federal agencies that are

    responsible for passing bills and laws.
    Talk this up to as many people as

    possible we are planting a seed for

    these laws to grow around.
    Give me your written support and I will

    post a list of endorsers on the petition

    website

    I am available at any time for any type

    of media exposure internet, newspaper

    television. I can be contacted at

    numbers included in this email.

    THIS IS TOO EASY AND TOO SIMPLE OF A

    FIX TO OVERLOOK.
    THE SIMPLICITY OF IT IS SHEER BEAUTY.

  2. April 13, 2012 4:59 pm

    Kathy, i appreciate the comment and agree that we waste an amazing amount of food every day in this country. However, what I was addressing was Walmart’s real motives in their claim to fight hunger and the fact that giving money and feeding hungry people does not address root causes of hunger.

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