McDonald's announced Monday that it raked in $1.5 billion in profits in the third quarter, up 5 percent from last year.
The number is strikingly close to the $1.2 billion taxpayers are shelling out each year to help pay public assistance to the McDonald's workforce, according to a report released last week by the National Employment Law Project.
The echoing numbers are simply a coincidence, but underscore the immense profits that the chain continues to pull in while its workers simply struggle to afford food, medical help and housing. The public assistance McDonald's workers receive comes via food stamps, welfare, Medicaid and other federal programs, according to the NELP report.
In a statement to The Huffington Post, McDonald's emphasized that workers get training and the opportunity for career advancement. The company also said that its franchisees pay competitive wages that are based on "local wage laws."
Those wages are stunningly low. Frontline fast-food workers make a median wage of $8.94 an hour, according to a recent Reuters report. "Fast-food workers work only 24 hours a week on average — at $8.94 an hour, this adds up to barely $11,000 a year," wrote Christine Owens for Reuters in August.
With wages that low, front-line fast food workers are more than twice as likely as the typical worker to participate in a government assistance program, according to the NELP report: