What is up with multimillionaire oligarchs who love to play dress up and pretend to "act" poor? Yet while the nation is currently focused on the embarrassing spectacle of "reality" show morons who make their living doing this kind of stuff, this smirking bastard is doing some real damage and has so far escaped notice.
His name is Peter Schiff.
Quick background: He amassed a huge fortune by moving/hiding wealthy people's money overseas and naturally fancies himself a patriot. He funds his own radio show and his own personal channel he calls "Schiff TV". Its so grating to watch because he actually thinks he's very clever and I suppose really thinks he would somehow be a media personality if he wasn't funding it himself. He is such a Burns/Peweterschmidt stereotype of the 1% he decided to literally represent the 1% at the OWS rally in New York two years ago. According to his wikipedia page, he credits his dad for his views on the economy... who by the way is currently serving a 13-year sentence for tax evasion in Federal prison.
So this idiot claimed on his show that Walmart is paying not only fair wages, but GOOD wages and the workers should be grateful. This even though more than half of their employees are paid below the Federal poverty level (with taxpayers being forced to subsidize Walmart's greed through public assistance).
So Schiff pulled a John Stossel and decided to dress down and, along with his smirking wife, literally follow and harass shoppers right outside a Connecticut Walmart (I have no idea which one, but its probably either the one in Norwalk or Stratford since he works in Westport.) His spiel was that he was a Walmart employee/protester and told everyone they should donate 15% of whatever they paid at Walmart directly to him. He kept screaming "higher prices for higher wages" as the protester's "motto". When people said they were broke, he mocked them and said they just bought "all this stuff" and they didn't care about the workers. He kept yelling "We are counting on you to pay higher prices!" When someone told him that they were poor workers who couldn't afford to pay, he actually said "But the Walmart workers are more important!" Even when people tried to give what they could, he would get irate and demand 15% of their purchases!
In other words, he was a colossal ass and did it all on purpose.
There are so many things wrong with this I don't know where to begin.
-The fact that someone with a net worth of 70 million has the freaking gall to think its ok to make fun of struggling workers just trying to make enough to feed their families.
-The fact that he deliberately acted the ass so people would think he's a typical "greedy" employee.
-The fact that he uses his wealth to mock the working poor, instead of trying to help (where's the outrage here, Cafeteria Christians? or does it only go towards defending gay haters?)
-The fact that he's COMPLETELY ignorant of economics. 15% increase in store labor would NOT lead to a 15% increase in the cost of goods. The cost of goods is not entirely made up of labor, genius.
-The fact that he probably kept the money he got: he never said he gave any of the donated money back (and yes, some did want to donate to the workers plight even though he acted the fool.)
-The fact that the store owner DID NOT call the police on this asshat, even though he is clearly harassing their customers. Yet Walmart honchos had no trouble arresting dozens of peaceful protestors at other stores who never harassed anyone.
-The fact that it never occurred to him that Walmart could simply be slightly more equitable with their massive profits and NOT pass the cost on to the consumer:
Walmart has the largest executive-to-worker pay ratio gap in the nation, with their CEO getting 1,034 times the MEDIAN Walmart worker, and is also the most inequitable company on the planet when it comes to retirement (6,200 times the average worker's plan). But that is all mere pennies compared to the Walmart owners, which are the richest family in America. The Walmart heirs are worth $26 BILLION a piece--so the fact that their stores keep their workers in so much poverty that store managers have to ask customers to donate food for them is a freaking disgrace.
Wonder why he never asked the family billionaires to pay 15%. After all, they did amass their fortune off of the poverty of millions. And to top it off, they will be able to pass down their massive fortune to their royal heirs tax free thanks to wealthy loopholes.
What's most upsetting about this situation is that even Fortune magazine, who hires writers who, unlike Schiff, understand economics, wrote that Walmart can easily give as much as a 50% raise to all its workers without hurting their bottom line and, more importantly for them, not hurt their stock one iota. So if they can do it for 50%, why not 15%?
This is not to mention all it would do to BENEFIT the economy. Increased sales, productivity, lower healthcare costs, less crime, and less reliance on public assistance just to name a few. So Walmart's stock would be fine, they would NOT have to raise prices, and best of all, it would be a good investment, not a cost. Less absenteeism, less turnover, and more money for them! (Where do you think these workers would shop?) It would also defintely help Walmart's horrible public image, which you know is in the toilet when guys like Schiff are your biggest champions.
Take action: Support Walmart workers.
Oh, and remind Peter Schiff he's an asshat on his facebook page.
1:03 PM PT: gramofsam1 suggested an annual "Affluenza Award". For 2013, this guy wins, but I'd give Peter Schiff the Silver.