Why are we subsidizing McDonald's?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013   |   Posted by Jim Hightower
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Let us all now bow before the god of free enterprise, whose awesomeness was revealed in a recent news release announcing that the divine managers of fast-food demi-god McDonald's achieved a profit of $1.5 billion in just three months this summer.

Holy Big Mac! How did it do that? Peek behind the curtain and you'll see that McDonald's secret power is thee and me – America's taxpayers. The corporation rips off its huge workforce by paying poverty wages and no benefits, then directs the workers to the food stamp office and other government-funded safety-net programs.

Neat, huh? A major chunk of the chain's cost-of-doing-business disappears from the corporate books and – shazam! – reappears on the government's books. In fact, the National Employment Law Project reports that McDonald's phenomenal $1.5 billion profit is bloated by an estimated $1.2 billion that we taxpayers will shell out this year to support its predatory wage-and-benefit policy. Aren't you "lovin' it," as the chain's ads say?

But the golden arches are not alone in this fast-food flimflam. The conglomerate owner of KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken), Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell duns us for $648 million to underwrite its poverty pay. Subway burrows into us for $436 million. Burger King, (a British outfit) taps us for $356 million, little sweet Wendy's grabs more than a quarter-billion bucks from us, and Dunkin' Donuts dips into our pockets for $274 million.

And look here – it's Domino's pizza, whose extremist right-wing owner says he hates government spending. But he's picking taxpayers' pockets to the tune of $126 million to subsidize his "free" enterprise.

These corporate powers piously preach about the "magic" of the marketplace, but as these facts reveal, magicians don't do magic – they perform illusions.

"McDonald's Billion-Dollar Profit is Awkwardly Close To The Amount It Costs Taxpayers Every Year," www.huffingtonpost.com, October 21, 2013.

"Super-Sizing Public Costs," www.nelp.org, October 2013.

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