“Walmart to Offer Payday Loans to Employees”

That is the headline for one of today's lead stories in the satirical journal The Daily Currant. The story is untrue, but sometimes satire drives home a point because what is satirical also seems plausible. After all, here, we know that Wal-Mart often doesn't pay enough for its employees to support themselves, let alone their families. And the payday loan industry exists because many U.S. workers sometimes are unable to survive even from pay check to pay check. So, why wouldn't Wal-Mart create a spin-off that offers payday loans to its own employees if that would benefit the company's shareholders?

Wal-Mart doesn't offer its employees payday loans, and the issues raised by The Daily Currant piece are anything but funny. But, again, the piece underscores the extreme difficulties faced by U.S. low-wage workers.

Here's an excerpt from The Daily Currant piece:

In a press release posted on its website, the nation's largest retailer said that it decided to launch the service after hearing complaints that workers often have trouble paying their monthly bills. …  "That's why we're creating Walmart CashNow, a payday lender available exclusively to Walmart's 1 million hourly employees. CashNow will help our associates get cash when they need it most at a competitive interest rate. Finally they can borrow money to pay for things like rent, gasoline, food, medical bills and child care. Economic studies have consistently shown that access to credit is one of the driving forces in allowing the working poor to escape poverty. By providing these loans, Walmart is helping our associates reach the next level of success."

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