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A Herschel Walker Win Would Be a Disaster for Workers

Herschel Walker’s largest company relies on unpaid prison labor, he doesn’t think there should be a minimum wage, and he pays himself 100x the average income in GA.

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Video narrated by Brian Tyler Cohen

We’ve got a runoff election coming up in Georgia on November 6th, but it’s a lot more important than you think. So understanding the non-incumbent candidate Herschel Walker is very important. Even though [Dr. Mehmet Oz and Blake Masters] were defeated in their respective races — putting the Democratic caucus in control of the Senate — it’s not enough to fully protect working Americans from billionaire power. There’s a huge difference between 51-49 and 50-50. That one extra seat would help keep any individual rogue Democrat from holding important votes hostage.

Since this one runoff election could change everything, understanding Herschel Walker is very important. Much of the coverage on Walker has been about his personal scandals and, well, how weird he is: his hypocrisy surrounding abortion; his lies about graduating college; his claim of a body spray that can cure covid; his lies about his lies about graduating college; his fake police badge; multiple allegations of domestic abuse; his fake upholstery company; allegations of stalking; his son denouncing him; and his love of vampires.

[Herschel Walker]: I don’t know if you know vampires are cool people, are they not?

The media’s obsession with these scandals has basically given him a free pass on his economic record and what it would mean for working Georgians. It’s time to correct that. So I’ve again teamed up with The Class Room at More Perfect Union to look at just how damaging a Senator Herschel Walker would be for working people. Let’s dig in.

While Herschel Walker might be most known for his football career… he’s also a major business owner, and his business history can tell us a lot about who he is. Walker owns “H Walker Enterprises,” an umbrella corporation for all of his other companies. He’s valued it at between 25 and 50 million dollars, and his company pays him over 3 million dollars a year. The average income in Georgia, which Walker claims to represent, is just over 30k a year.

His biggest property is Renaissance Man Foods, which paid Walker a quarter of a million dollars last year. Renaissance claims they donate 15 percent of their profits to charity, but when the New York Times called those charities up, one declined to comment and the other three said they had no idea what Walker was talking about. One of the charities closed in 2014. They really do the opposite of charity. They used unpaid prison labor to produce their products. 

Christian Alcoholics and Addicts in Recovery is an organization that takes in people convicted of crimes in lieu of prison and makes money selling their labor to other companies. Renaissance Foods was one. 

But let’s look at some of the supposed good Walker has done, like his “non-profit” for Veterans, Patriot Support.

[Herschel Walker]: Thank you so very much for your dedication, care, and service. We’re all in this together, together we stand.

The only problem there? It’s not a non-profit, and Walker didn’t found it. The Associated Press proved that Walker was but a celebrity spokesperson of a very much for profit organization. Walker profited too, he was paid over 300,000 dollars for his role as spokesman.

The organization was run by a for-profit hospital company and allegedly forced veterans with government health insurance into inpatient mental health facilities because government insurance doesn’t limit the amount of time a patient can spend in inpatient care. According to the allegations, veterans would go in for mental health help, and due to intentional misdiagnoses and fraudulent documents be institutionalized for an infinite amount of time. 

But Walker’s own business interests are nowhere near as important as the business interests of the people who’ve bought him off: his donors. The top donors to his SuperPAC are seriously the rogues gallery of screwing over the working class.

Like nearly 2 million dollars from Bernie Marcus––the founder of Home Depot, author of anti-union screeds, constant breaker of labor law, and one of the most consistent funders of the movement to destroy worker power.

And 1 million dollars from office supply billionaires, the Uihleins, who are very used to supporting candidates with sordid personal histories. They were the biggest backers of the Roy Moore campaign, and constantly back the furthest right politicians in America. They also fund corporate attacks on the labor movement and their workers have some of the most COVID safety complaints of any company.

And those are just the biggest fish. There’s industrialist Dennis Washington who has made billions exploiting labor, including a 13 percent increase in his net worth during the early months of the pandemic as the rest of us were at risk of losing our jobs and homes, and the usual donations from Wall Street billionaires. 

All of these funders, like Walker himself, have motivation to destroy basic worker protections like workers comp, minimum wage, overtime pay, and the right to collective bargaining. But we don’t have to guess what Walker thinks of workers, he’s said it. He admitted on television he doesn’t support a federal minimum wage. We’re talking about $7.25 an hour.

[Herschel Walker]: Right now, I think you have to work with different corporations and see just where they can pay… To mandate a federal fee that they have to pay hourly wage, no I can’t approve that.

Walker’s opponent, Raphael Warnock, has led the charge to cap prices on insulin for Medicare patients. Walker mocked the idea, saying that diabetics just “need to eat right.” First off, that is not medically accurate. And second, it’s just cruel. And on the plan to expand Medicaid, which would provide lifesaving services to 600,000 Georgians?

[Herschel Walker]: Well right now, Medicaid has not been good. Right now expanding is gonna continue to bankrupt us. I think right now, you know that as well.

And despite a company he was on the board of getting millions in PPP loans while still laying off 90 percent of staff, Walker literally laughed at canceling student debt. But that’s all the stuff he doesn’t support. The stuff he does, who knows. The policy page on his website is so short that it would only take Walker like 45 minutes to read it. 

His website barely has any policy ideas on it. So we have no idea what he supports. You’ve heard so much about what Walker is like as a man — a liar, a hypocrite, an abuser — and those things are important, but much more important is what he’d be like as a senator, and that would be very bad for working people.

This is a vital Senate seat, and sending Walker to Washington would be a disaster for working Georgians and Americans.

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