Came across this post today: "How McDonald's and Wal-Mart Became Welfare Queens." News like this has become so commonplace that you almost accept it with a shrug. Yeah, big box stores and fast food chains are paying their workers cruddy wages, forcing them to go on state health insurance and food stamp assistance. Oh well. Move along. Nothing to see here.
But the outrage should exist. These stories make my blood boil. Many of these companies are making massive profits. You're telling me you can't pay a living wage? All of us, as taxpayers, are helping pad the the coffers of these companies. By not providing sufficient wages or health care, the actual taxpayers serve as the necessary social safety net for these workers. Is that really how we want our society and country structured?
Admittedly my experience is anectodal, but I see a number of these workers in my practice--from the greeters at Wal-Mart to those flipping burgers at McDonald's. Many are making a minimum hourly wage of $7.25. No matter how hard they work (and, in my experience, some of these fast food and retail workers are the hardest workers out there, in light of their work condition), they cannot get ahead or make enough to avoid the necessity of seeking food stamp assistance or of searching for the local food pantry.
Corporations simply should not be able to get rich on the public's back. As taxpayers, we continue to allow this grossly one-sided equation to continue.