The Oklahoma Republican Party calls Walmart and the mega-corporate fast-food and hospitality industries animals dependent on food stamps. And its chairman wants a national discussion about it. Oblige him, Democrats.
In any event, it’s completely unclear where people will stop in for hamburgers and fries, and where they will buy extremely cheap household items, once the fast food industry and Walmart have ceased to exist because there no longer are Americans who lack the skills and qualifications for good jobs and they’ve all found good jobs because we elected a Republican president who has persuaded Congress to enact a law that says that the way for people to get good jobs is for people to get good jobs. Rather than, say, electing a Republican president who has persuaded Congress to enact a law that says that the way for people to get full-time jobs is for people to get full-time jobs although with no promise that they will be good jobs and instead might be full-time minimum-wage ones.
— Me, Scott Walker vs. the Walton Family and McDonald’s’ CEO, yesterday
Am I reading too much into this, or did Oklahoma’s Republican Party call Walmart and fast food chain minimum-wage workers who receive food stamps animals who live in national parks?
Whoa. If the Republicans keep this up, the Walmart family and fast food chain executives will start their own Super PAC. To help Democratic candidates! If a Republican wins the White House, their companies might have to start paying their employees enough for them to afford groceries.
— Me, in an update to Scott Walker vs. the Walton Family and McDonald’s’ CEO, later yesterday
This actually is a really serious matter: Apparently, most people do not know that a substantial percentage of people on food stamps work—including many who have full-time, very-low-paying, no-benefits jobs. Much less do most people know that most of the people who work yet receive food stamps are employed by mega-corporations or franchises of mega-corporations in the fast-food industry, in retail stores and in the hospitality industry, and have dependent children.
Prominent Democrats—Obama, Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and others—need to engage in a mass education campaign on this. Especially now, in response to Scott Walker.
Key to this is to point out that the food stamp program is, to a surprising extent, corporate welfare—to which these companies have, like the animals in our national parks who have become dependent on the government (or at least on people visiting the parks, which are funded by the federal government) food handouts.
The article I linked to above is from Politico, and explains:
The Monday post, which has since been taken down, first sarcastically declared that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is proud to be distributing a record number of food stamps. It then said, “Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us ‘Please Do Not Feed the Animals.’ Their stated reason for the policy is because ‘The animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves.’ Thus ends today’s lesson in irony ?#?OKGOP?”
To answer my own question, yes, Oklahoma’s Republican Party did call Walmart and fast food chain minimum-wage workers who receive food stamps animals who live in national parks. Sort of. The Party said that Walmart and fast food chains and the hospitality industry are like national parks, in that many of their workers receive food stamps. The Party also said that Walmart, the fast food industry and the hospitality industry are, themselves, like animals who live in national parks, because these business are subsidized significantly by the food stamp program.
They’re right about Walmart, the fast food industry, and the hospitality industry. I mean it. And Democrats need to say this, again and again and again, when discussing the minimum wage or the social safety net.
Again and again and again. No Democrat should ever talk about the minimum wage or about social safety net programs without saying this.
The Politico article, by Eliza Collins, goes on to say:
On Tuesday, Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Randy Brogdon apologized.
“Last night, there was a post on our OKGOP Facebook page, and it was misinterpreted by many. I offer my apologies for those who were offended – that was not my intention,” Brogdon said.
He said the original statement was supposed to compare two separate situations and illustrate “government dependency in America.”
In addition to the apology, Brogdon used the new statement to continue the discussion on welfare programs.
“However I do think that it’s important to have conversations about government welfare programs since our dependency on government is at its highest level ever,” it said. “Quoting President Reagan, ‘We should measure welfare’s success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added.’”
Do oblige him, Democrats. Give the man the conversation he wants.