CEO Santa: The Fattest of Fat Cats

Talk about your minimum wage abusers. Walmart and McDonald’s have got nothing on this greedy old elf.

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In the past two years there has been a media onslaught against some of America’s most iconic brands, much of it fueled by unions trying to stem the tide of diminishing power, membership and public support. But the unions and their friends in the media have missed maybe the fattest of the corporate fat cats, who pays his employees next to nothing.

More on him in a moment, first let’s take inventory of the current prime targets and their crimes. Walmart is America’s largest private sector employer and tops on the “greed is good” list. How dare CEO Mike Duke allow Walmart employees to work on Thanksgiving for more money. How dare he pay store employees an average of $12.81 an hour, which is 68 percent higher than the federal minimum wage? And the worst offense, how dare a Walmart in Canton, Ohio, hold a food drive to help employees who may need help over the holidays. The audacity!

And then there’s McDonald’s and the rest of the fast food gang, who you would believe are the sole cause of obesity in this country from media reports. Together they top Walmart in providing jobs, but are under attack for paying slightly over minimum wage for flipping burgers. Did you know that McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner makes substantially more than the burger flippers? Astonishing!

Apple, Nike and several designer clothing brands were caught making their goods in sweatshops with child labor in unhealthy conditions for ridiculously low wages. But those brands are cool and rich people in the media buy them, and besides, the American Unions don’t have reach into China and Bangladesh, so back to Walmart and McDonald’s, the places poor people can afford. Let’s make them charge more so those places can be cool, too!

And while we’re at it, what’s with this Santa character? Talk about a selfish CEO. His tiny little elves (has anyone checked their ages) slave all year, through holidays and weekends, for little or no pay. While Santa, the CEO, works basically one day a year and grabs all the credit.

This Magic Dust that CEO Santa uses? What chemicals are used to make it? How does the gratuitous emission of the alleged Magic Dust into the atmosphere and  the groundwater relate to global warming and the poisoning of our rivers? Is the Dangerous Dust responsible for the diminishing population of the Brush Prairie Pocket Gopher? What about the Polar Bears? There is some documentation somewhere done by some environmental group that is highly considered by some people with advanced degrees that the location of Santa’s workshop and his yearly flight around the world adversely affects the yearly migration of the Arctic Tern.

And what is with this secret North Pole location anyway? What does Santa have to hide? How does he dispose of the waste, sewage and chemical byproducts from a factory full of elves making all those toys and electronics? Where does he get his energy? Nuclear? We don’t know, but it is worth checking out. If Santa doesn’t agree to UN inspectors we have every reason in the world to first call for sanctions and then invade.

We will have to do it unilaterally because the North Pole is slowly and suspiciously moving TO RUSSIA! It is an obvious attempt to prevent the gay elves from marrying and to keep the Santa sweatshop away from the protection of the American unions. Attack and bring democracy to the elves!

Who is subsidizing Santa’s operation anyway? The Koch brothers? Sheldon Adelson? Wait, has anyone ever seen Karl Rove on Christmas Eve? Money can be funneled offshore and tax-free through the Santa Sweatshop and then back into union busting operations in the United States. How much North Pole money did Scott Walker get? He is elf-looking, is he not? So is Ted Cruz, for that matter, and his birth certificate shows he was born closer to the North Pole than Texas. Forget the Manchurian Candidate, it is the Santatorium Candidate that I fear. Wait! Santa, Santorum, Santa Santorum. That explains the former  Senator’s Christmas propaganda film.

Why is Santa supporting only a Christian holiday with little or no regard to the feelings of the Muslim, Jewish and Atheist children? Is there a Menorah next to the Christmas tree at the North Pole? I doubt it. How about a Kwanzaa Bendera? How do you think the African American elves feel? Are there any African American elves? I see none in the promotional videos. Where is the NPCLU?

And has anyone checked Santa’s taxes? He does part of his work in the United States, doesn’t he? He must be avoiding the taxes he earns in ice shore accounts, a la Mitt Romney. Where is the IRS?

And how does he so easily slip in and out of this country without the proper paperwork? It just shows that our borders and national defense are at risk. We cannot talk about immigration reform until we deal with the Santa problem. Obama is asleep at the wheel again.

So you see, Walmart, McDonald’s and Santa Claus are all brands to avoid until they cleanup their acts. How can we, the 99 percent, enjoy the Holidays when the CEO’s of Walmart, McDonald’s and the North Pole, the one percent, are keeping us down?

Follow @LarryMendte on Twitter.

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  • John Barone

    Leave Our Santa Clause alone

  • BonnerClassOF97

    Ugh. What an insufferable a**hole. Mendte, you’re from Lansdowne and you’re bashing unions? Did you totally forgot where you came from?

    Another Cheap Labor Republican who has no perspective on the difficulties presented by the yawning wealth inequality in America. For the vast majority of Americans, it has gotten harder to make ends meet. You site an example in your unfunny screed above. WalMart employees are making so little in wages that the store had a food drive for people who worked there. What does that tell you about how awful it is to work at a WalMart? Keep laughing at the working poor, you obtuse prick. I’m ashamed you’re also a Bonner grad.

    • Larry Mendte

      I am not laughing at the working poor. I have immense respect for those who work in any job and try to get ahead. This was more about the onslaught of one sided reporting agains Wal-Mart and any large company with many employees. The unions were once proud and noble and fought against unsafe working conditions and wages that must be spent at the company store. Most of these jobs are part-time, entry level, and in the case of McDonald’s high school jobs. This is not the coal mines. Wal-Mart and McDonald’s are targets because they are so big. The wealth inequity in this country is another story and I agree that something needs to be done, but that has much more to do with the tax code and the lack of regulations on the banking industry. Anyway, sorry you can’t see past your own bias. You sure your from Bonner? Don’t sound like it.

      • BonnerClassOf97

        You’re not laughing at the working poor? Larry, you wrote a satirical piece and took a jab at people who think it’s wrong for WalMart to pay so little that WalMart employees are forced to hold a food drive…for themselves…at their job. Do you see anything wrong with that?

        Yes, WalMart & McDonald’s are targets. You mentioned the need for tax code reform. Well, the strongest advocates AGAINST the Estate Tax which was meant to prevent an American oligarchy are WalMart’s owners, the Walton Family. My bias is that you’re intellectually lazy. My bias is that you present yourself as a journalist then haphazardly espouse tired ideas that unions ruined America. Where is your self-respect? Don’t you aspire to the work of Upton Sinclair or Cronkite? America is not broken. America is in deep need of corporate reform. And it’s not going to get there while American journalists are rooting for corporations to continue treating the working and middle class as automatons.

        See, Larry, I, like you, come from Delaware County. I grew up in Upper Darby. Graduated from Bonner then put myself thru an Ivy League school on a mountain of student loans that would make a sherpa quake. (No other country in the world makes working class families do this to the degree that America does.) I watched my Mom work multiple shifts at DCMH so I could afford textbooks. Saw my father worry about how the American Dream seemed to be sliding away for our generation versus what the Baby Boomers enjoyed because the Boomer execs could make a little more by outsourcing the meaningful manufacturing jobs to China.

        And your Guy Smiley act would prefer if we just laughed at people like my parents for having the gumption to ask for corporations and the 1% to share more equally the fruits of our American system. So, y’know, they didn’t have to hold food drives at their job. Where’s your moral compass, Larry? Where’s your sense of purpose?

        I work in broadcast television, Larry. But unlike you, I refuse to goof on the less fortunate because one day their kid may be my boss…or discover an alternative to fossil fuels…or cure cancer. And I would feel ashamed if I made life more difficult for that child of a WalMart worker by rooting for the Walton’s to keep paying them dirt wages to the point where their Mom had to hold a food drive…at work.

        • Larry Mendte

          There is so much wrong with what you wrote I don’t know where to begin. I’ll take it a paragraph at a time.

          The first two sentences barely relate. I am not laughing at the working poor. I am mocking the faux sympathy displayed by the unions and leadership who would be doing nothing if they didn’t see a large pool of money. The working poor to advocate for shop at Wal-Mart and can’t afford the increase in prices that would come with Union demands. Also, when Polled the vast majority of Wal-Mart workers do not want a Union. I have been at many workplaces where food drives and collections are made for fellow employees who hit hard times. The food drive in Canton is being cynically used by those who want to profit from the paychecks of those who would open up their hearts and wallets to help those in need.

          As for tax reform, every major corporation gets unfair tax breaks and loopholes that they pay for with campaign contributions. It is wrong, but I don’t blame the corporations as I do the politicians who are taking the money and working on their behalf. Some of the worst offenders are in our area. This is something we can agree on as I don’t have the same bias that you wrap yourself in.

          As for Upton Sinclair and Walter Cronkite, you do realize that they are distinctly different. Sinclair was an author and an advocate who took great literary license. Cronkite, I believe, would see both sides and understand the motivation of both sides.

          I am not rooting for the corporations and I agree the need for Corporate Reform, Consumer Oversight, Banking Reform and especially Campaign Finance Reform is maybe the #1 need in this country as it is all tied in together.

          It is plain silly for you to assume that I am “rooting for corporations” from one satirical piece about the Unions attempt to damage popular brands so that they can get a foothold.

          I admire your personal story and I agree with you about the ridiculous cost of an education in this country. Think about who benefits from the student loans and why it happens. But its silly to say the American Dream is slipping away. We need to re-educate. Ask anyone who knows how to write code and program if the American Dream is slipping away.

          I am offended by the Guy Smiley attack. When I anchored I did more for the community than anyone on air. I was in Delaware County at events all of the time raising money and awareness. When asked, I never said no. Who does that now? Who pushes for a documentary and a telethon on Alex’s Lemonade Stand to help raise money to fight pediatric cancer? Who pushes for and produces a special on Memorial Day to show the faces of every single person from the area who dies in Iraq and Afghanistan? Tell me, what are you doing?

          As for your last paragraph. I didn’t “goof on the less fortunate.” I goofed on the Unions who do exactly what you are doing, misdirect and obfuscate, them for self-interest, you to win an argument that has little foundation.

          As for your last line, I am proud to have taken part in many food drives, charity events and funds at work over the years for colleagues and friends. I would be angry at and feel embarrassed for anyone who attempted to make a beautiful gesture ugly for their own profit.

          • BonnerClassOf97

            Larry, again your response to these straightforward points lacks evidence and relies on the “but I’ve done nice things!” too defense. WalMart has made every effort to stop its workers from unionizing. The food drive at the WalMart in Canton is not being cynically used by union organizers. It’s being used to provide another shocking example of how awfully WalMart treats its own employees.

            You claim the fault lies with the politicians and not the corporations. Then why aren’t you calling out the politicians, Larry? Let’s put that pile of local Emmys to work. Instead of a cynical and condescending essay rooted in the notion that the working poor should be happy with their jobs at WalMart & McDonald’s, why not write about these villain politicians, Larry? Be a hero, Mendte!

            My argument is founded your clear contempt for the working poor and the proud history of organized labor in America. Of course, McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner makes more than the guy working the grill. But if Jim Skinner wasn’t encouraged by a grievously entitled corporate culture to make exponentially more money than even a McDonald’s manager, America would be a better place. I believe that to be true. Do you believe that, Larry? The more opportunity there is to work your way up from the bottom, the better off we all will be. That was the case in this country for most of the 20th Century. America has gotten to be a more difficult place to live over the last 30 years. Again, do you believe that to be true?

            Yes, Larry, I know the difference between Sinclair and Cronkite. I admire Cronkite’s intellectual ability to manage journalistic balance while still adding perspective to the horror of Nixon-era Washington. This half-hearted attempt at an essay leads me to believe you’re no Cronkite, champ. But at least you’re no Don Tollefson.

            I called you out on a weak intellectual argument. Your response is to site some charity work that you did. Congrats. I’m genuinely proud of you. But the fact remains that the toughest problem America faces is the wealth gap. Your essay encourages that gap. It assumes that all of those “burger flippers” deserve to work a terrible job for awful wages. I believe that’s not the case and that America can be a better place if opportunity is afforded to everyone. Some times you have to organize as a group for better treatment by an employer. Or else you’ll end up having to beg for food…at work.

      • bonner 80

        Larry Your lack of insight Is astonishing, The financial chasm that exists today in America is perpetuated by people with values like yours . Do you really think someone who lost a good middle class job and is forced to take some crappy job just to feed their family should also suffer to be forced to work Thanksgiving .? In the name of corporate greed ? Wallmart has employees sign up for public assistance when hired, feels the need to collect food donations for their employees and you feel this is a good business model ? Sure they get the opportunity to work an extra day , whoopie ! When your desperate any extra cash is great . But I would rather pay a little more so some poor scmuck could be at home . I won’t shop at walmart because of the shitty way they treat people all over the globe . I guess your just happy you got your money and can buy some cheap socks

  • BonnerClassOf97

    Ugh. What an insufferable a**hole. Mendte, you’re from Lansdowne and you’re bashing unions? Did you totally forget where you came from?

    Congratulations on being another Cheap Labor Republican who has no perspective on the difficulties presented by the yawning wealth inequality gap in America. For the vast majority of Americans, it has gotten harder to make ends meet. You even site an example in your unfunny screed above. WalMart employees are making so little in wages that the store had a food drive for people who worked there. They had a food drive for people who are employed! What does that tell you about how awful it is to work at a WalMart? Keep laughing at the working poor, you obtuse prick. I’m ashamed you’re also a Bonner grad.

  • Dan

    Funny how bringing Santa Claus’s business into this discussion make you realize how many obstacles Walmart and McDonalds has to overcome. And they still make the consumer happy which it the main objective of a business model we should celebrate

  • JaJaBarrett

    I like Walmart, McDonald’s and Santa, but I guess that was the point :)

  • Bonner class of 85!

    Once again Larry nails it. Unions destroy everything they touch, including union workers.

  • bobguzzardi

    Many people who work at Walmart could go on welfare and get “free” taxpayer money from the government. Instead, they have a strong work ethic. Walmart provides employment for those who want to work at almost any skill level. Unions do not create jobs; unions take money from business built by others. Money does not grow on trees and “free” toys is a child’s story that many adults (we call them Liberals) think is real life.

    • BonnerClassOf97

      Congrats, Bob, unions don’t create jobs. Unions make current jobs better by helping to prevent abuses through collective organization. Evidence of this is available time and time again through history. By the way, have the fellas formed a Union Local at the 12th Street Gym?

      • bobguzzardi

        Oddly, when given the opportunity to choose whether to choose a union and pay union dues to well-paid union organizers and their well-paid associates, workers, overwhelming, choose not to join. I wonder why.

        Unions create fewer jobs by raising the barrier to employments as both theory and real world experience proves over and over.

        Unions take from those who build a business just as you are now threatening to take what my partner and I built. Happily, we sold the business and the new owners will contend with Philadelphia’s less than hospitable attitude toward productive businesses.

        Unions need to use coercion because they cannot convince workers to join by choice. Walmart does not, and cannot, coerce customers to buy from it. Walmart must convince by offereing value. Unions don’t offer value so they have to convince.

        typing from Right to Work Florida where the economy is growing.

        • BonnerClassOf97

          Bob, you’re just plain wrong and have no evidence to back up your points.

          1. Florida’s economic growth still trails behind the rest of the country. Florida’s economy is still down nearly a million jobs from it’s 2007 peak. That’s from a recent report in the Orlando Sentinel.

          2. Real wages have dropped for the average American worker since 1980 while those for the top 1 % of earners have skyrocketed. A study by the Bureau of Labor found that this was because of a drop in union membership and the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs. Where is your evidence of workers choosing to not join a union when given the opportunity to collectively organize?

          More importantly, why can’t conservatives compete on ideas any more? There used to be Rockefeller Republicans- men & women who argued for fiscal responsibility while still carrying a torch for social justice. You were an advocate for reform in the Pennsylvania State House and that august body’s most recent achievement was a blatant attempt to disenfranchise Philadelphia through a series of voter ID laws. The state is still gerrymandered in a way that grossly favors candidates in suburban and rural counties. You guys STILL lost. Bob, you went to Georgetown. You’re not dumb. Why not compete on ideas instead of advocating this nonsense?

          • bobguzzardi

            If unions were so good for workers, then workers would not be forced to join unions.

            The evidence from Wisconsin is that when workers are given a choice, an overwhelmng percentage of workers chose not to join unions.

            Unions coerce workers to pay dues because they cannot convince workers that it is to the worker’s benefit to pay dues.

            Workers choice is what unions fear most.

          • BonnerClassOf97

            Bob, I hammered you in the comment above. You didn’t address any of the points I made and instead came back with more anecdotal evidence…from Wisconsin. Is there a man in that empty suit? Don’t be such a hack.

            If workers choice were really what unions feared, why did Wisconsin legislate against the option to join unions?

            America is a free market, Bob. That’s what you’re supposed to champion. But corporations like WalMart don’t want their workers to organize for better benefits and pay. And guys like you and Mendte who have a clear contempt for the less fortunate are actively rooting against those people having a better life. No idea why the two of you attended Catholic schools yet elected to go down the road of less compassion.

          • bobguzzardi

            It doesn’t take the Union Guy long to get to insults.

            I answered your relevant points. In fact, the standard of living for ALL Americas has risen and, in Wisconsin, when workers had a choice, they did not join unions.

          • BonnerClassOf97

            So you have nothing of value to say. The second paragraph above isn’t even a sentence. You can’t compete on ideas. You and your ilk have to resort to Ric Flair tactics to try and rig elections. The standard of living has plummeted for most Americans since the early 80s. (Here you go for evidence:

            Good luck in Florida. I’m happy you could never win in PA.

          • bobguzzardi

            By almost all measures, the American standard of lving has dramatically increased since 1988 as is plain to anyone who can see what there is to be seen.

  • Anna

    Walmart workers need to shut up about their salaries. If they don’t like it they can move to Cuba where they can work for less, AMIRTE!

  • Thomas Peace

    Quite clever, Mr Mendte. I enjoyed reading this.

  • BonnerClassOf88

    Remember when our lazy parents only had one of them work ONE job so the other would spend their time galavanting and doing stupid things like raising children?? I sure wish Mommy would have swapped those unnecessary,grandiose Thanksgiving dinners for that windfall of Walmart holiday cash!! Thanks a lot, Mom and Dad!! “BonnerClassOF97”, I don’t know what part of Upper Darby you grew up in, but on the Northside we paid our servants an extra $5 every time they worked on holidays. They NEVER complained!! Go look elsewhere for your “living wage” coddling!

  • BonnerClassOf88

    If employers treat their people fairly those employees aren’t interested in collective bargaining, and frankly, don’t have a need for it. Unfortunately, when your livelihood depends on the benevolence of the boss man, more times than not, you’re screwed. Common sense protections like just cause for termination and safe workplace standards were non-existent before workers united and demanded these rights which are taken for granted today. It’s embarrassing that our Commonwealth still allows people to be fired for being gay. That’s a joke! I’m proud to be union and would encourage anyone who’s getting the shaft on the reg to unionize as well.