Are Companies Using Welfare Programs to Keep Their Workers Wages Low?

In earlier thread we ventured off topic, but raised some interesting points regarding the wealthy and how they exploited taxpayer safety net programs to keep wages low.

@Paul_Do raised some interesting points and provided the link below to support his arguments. I thought it would be a good topic for discussion and suggested we start a new thread dedicated to the topic.

I’ve got some thoughts which I will articulate in a follow-up post, but would like to hear you thoughts as well.

Some questions I’m looking to have answered? Is the argument regarding the rich exploiting these programs real, or is it just more LW class warfare rhetoric? What would the employee - employer landscape look like without these government safety nets?

I look forward to a lively discussion and welcome your opinions.

Millions of American adults who earn low wages rely on federal programs to meet basic needs, such as Medicaid for health care and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for food.

Federal Social Safety Net Programs: Millions of Full-Time Workers Rely on Federal Health Care and Food Assistance Programs (

How would we test for whether they were doing so?

We could go back to a time when these programs didn’t exist and see if the wage structure was different.

The problem is that’s not a controlled study.

We know that low skill workers in some industries are getting government assistance. Nothing in dispute there. But would it be a leap to say that taxpayers are indirectly picking up the tab for wages that should be paid by employers?

We have a money problem, not a wage problem.

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The biggest issue is that companies that are not using taxpayer funds to subsidize their employees wages are at a competitive disadvantage.

After doing some research one of the direct competitors to Walmart/sam’s club is Costco which pays it’s low skill workers almost twice as much as sams club/Walmart while providing benifits which remove the need for taxpayer subsidizing employees.

The amount paid to taxpayers to Walmart employees should be taken out of the profits, other companies are able to profit while not having the government support their employees

Please expound.

Could you provide some links documenting your findings?

It’s not a leap to say that.

I’m just not sure if the programs didn’t exist whether wages would go up.

5 silver quarters minted in 1964 (the minimum wage back then) are worth ‭$22.78 today.

5 copper-nickle alloy quarters minted in 2021 are worth $1.25 today.

That’s true, but what does that have to do with Walmart employees depending on government welfare to make ends meet?

Spending power of the dollar.

That is the million dollar question. How would those barely scraping by survive without federal assistance?

I’ve got a few thoughts.

I’ve been arguing for years that low skilled jobs are entry level temporary jobs targeting those just starting out. Typically ones first job fresh out of high school and looking to obtain valuable skills in a technical school or college. Those jobs were never meant to be permanent career choices.

Unfortunately more than a few did in fact decide to remain in those low skill jobs and raise a family. Obviously there was a wide gap in what employers could afford to pay and what a family needed to survive.

Government provided a solution with their safety net programs.

Wouldn’t that be an argument that min wage should have kept up with inflation?

When I was in college I paid 25 cents per gallon for gas. Yesterday I paid $3.50 a gallon for gas. Inflation. Is that what you are referring to? Or is something else in play?

We have a morality problem.

Some companies have decided that they have no issue what amounts to stealing from tax payers to boost their profits


Here are a couple articles that make some interesting points. Some of those being the different business models, overhead costs etc. Little more involved than just ‘Hey, pay your workers more’.


Rather than recite rhetoric, would you be able to provide links documenting the research you’ve done, leading to your conclusions?

Is Walmart and other companies unable to cover the amount of money the Government pays or just unwilling because they know the gov will do it and those who are running the company would rather pocket that money themselves

Silver is valuable. Our money is not.

There was another study I had up a while ago im trying to find again. I’ll have it in a bit