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March 19, 2005

The Unbearable Lightness of Wal-Mart's Fine

That Nathan Newman sure knows how to drive home a point:

Prosecutors announced they were dropping all criminal charges against Wal-Mart for its use of contractors employing undocumented workers in exchange for paying an $11 million fine, a hefty sounding amount but a pittance for a company with $288.2 billion in sales last year. Let's put it this way-- this is an equivalent financial hit to an average person making $50,000 per year being hit with a $1.90 fine for illegal activity.

Wow. I mean, really, Wow. I don't make enough in income to even be taxed, but I spent too long getting books from my room today and got a $40 parking ticket. Let's say, for argument's sake, that I make 20,000 a year. My parking ticket comes to .2% of my imaginary income. Not a whole lot, but remember, all I did was dawdle a bit while my car was in a loading zone. Wal-Mart, having employed illegal workers at wages barely above indentured servitude, was hit with a fine equalling .0038% of their income. Comparatively speaking, their fine for employing illegal immigrants was 1.9% of my parking ticket. Their fine for sustaining illegal immigration was 1.9% of my parking ticket. Fuck class warfare, there are times when I yearn for a French Revolution. And remember, Wal-Mart isn't being protected by those soft-on-illegal-immigration Democrats, this is a Republican company through-and-through. The same Republicans who demand tougher border controls and an end to all illegal, and much of the legal, immigration. And they're shielding the companies who fuel the cross-border fugitives. Beautiful.

March 19, 2005 in Big Business | Permalink

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Tracked on Mar 21, 2005 11:07:18 AM

Comments

ezra, I just wanted to say, that's a great title.

Posted by: jason | Mar 19, 2005 9:07:44 PM

And will any of the money Wal-Mart is paying go to the actual workers they wronged?

Posted by: Lis Riba | Mar 19, 2005 11:23:44 PM

My favorite part:

"Wal-Mart officials said the $11 million was not a fine, but a voluntary payment that would be used to help ensure compliance with immigration laws."

Posted by: Royko | Mar 20, 2005 12:41:37 AM

"Fuck class warfare, there are times when I yearn for a French Revolution."

Here, here

Posted by: Jenny | Mar 20, 2005 10:28:04 AM

What legal principles do you have that make proper fines for an activity commensurate with income? I understand that Finland has laws like that for traffic violations, but there is nothing like that in the U.S. with the possible exception of punative damages in Civil Suits.

Should my parking ticket be more than yours if I make more money than you?

Posted by: Dave Justus | Mar 21, 2005 2:57:51 PM

Of course, you don't even bother to note that Wal-Mart was the employer but used their services through a contractor. Does that matter? You bet.

Posted by: Brian | Mar 23, 2005 2:10:00 PM

Actually you should use their net rather than gross (but that's a lower bound since you probably should adjust by adding in most executive pay and items not related to actual operations).

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Posted by: JEROGatch | Sep 3, 2006 3:28:58 AM

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Posted by: peter.w | Sep 15, 2007 4:48:44 AM

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