With ideas like this, I think these lefties deserve a chance to run the show:
Consider this thought experiment. Competitors to Wal-Mart buy products made in the U.S., and give their employees decent wages and good enough benefits to keep them from needing government assistance. American manufacturers also offer good jobs with decent wages and benefits. Competitors offer the same type products, but at higher prices.
Then, consider offsetting Wal-Mart's unfair low cost, low price advantage by taxing sales at Wal-Mart by the cost differential to level the retail playing field. The "offset sales tax" can be split between local and state governments to supplement various social service programs, pay for infrastructure costs, such as more roads and police, required for stores, and assist start-up costs for new decent-wage retail and manufacturing enterprises.
For millions of low income Americans, their survival need for low Wal-Mart prices cannot be ignored. So the social equity question becomes: How to help those Americans who truly require and depend on Wal-Mart's low prices? Only those consumers, not the ones who like those low prices, but can afford higher, unsubsidized prices.
Local or state government can provide to those requesting and qualifying for it a special offset sales tax exemption identification card. Low income individuals or families would present some type of evidence of their status. By using the tax exemption cards at checkout they would still take advantage of the low prices, while others would not. To determine the tax, government authorities could estimate from current databases what fraction of customers would likely qualify, including those receiving Medicaid, food stamps, welfare, unemployment insurance, or supplemental social security benefits. A great many Wal-Mart employees would qualify.
Wal-Mart's unfair competitive advantage would diminish. Over time, those low income people currently in desperate need of low Wal-Mart prices would find more employment opportunities as competitors and their domestic suppliers expanded their operations.
Naturally, it sounds complicated, but this approach does not impose legal restrictions on Wal-Mart, yet serves the greater public interest by not causing taxpayers in general to pay the price for Wal-Mart's low prices. Other retailers would also be put in the same category, based on a determination of their dependence on imports and whether their wage/benefit structure places burdens on government programs.
Sounds pretty simple and fair, eh?
The leftist motto seems to be: "Obviously, the answer is totalitarian socialism. Now, what was the question?"