SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – California paid an estimated $86 million in public assistance in 2001 because workers at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. earn such low wages, researchers said on Tuesday.

I have always been particularly sensitive about the working poor ever since reading, “Nickled and Dimed in America“. In her book, Barbara Ehrenreich details how she tried to make a living by working two minimum wage jobs…and she failed! I do believe in the free market economy, but unless we pay people livable wages, we are not making progress as a civilized and capitalistic society.