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Fast Food Industry Costing Taxpayers $7 Billion Annually

Pop quiz: What came first, the $0.99 cheeseburger, or the depressed wages?

Berkley — The fast-food industry costs American taxpayers nearly $7 billion annually because its jobs pay so little that 52 percent of fast-food workers are forced to enroll their families in public assistance programs, according to a report released today (Tuesday, Oct. 15) by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley

“People who work in fast-food jobs are paid so little that having to rely on public assistance is the rule, rather than the exception, even for those working 40 hours or more a week.”

Fast food is a $200 billion-a-year industry. The median wage for core front-line workers at fast-food restaurants nationally is $8.69 an hour. Only 13 percent of the jobs provide health benefits.

Helpful chart:

Infographic by Alissa Scheller for the Huffington Post

Infographic by Alissa Scheller for the Huffington Post

We can subsidize the very corporations that are cutting hours and benefits to avoid providing a living wage and healthcare to a workforce where “1 in 4 are parents, raising at least one child,” but we can’t raise the minimum wage and mandate that corporations with over 50 employees provide healthcare to their full-time workers? It’s a testament to the corporate propaganda that the latter is considered the socialist takeover of America.

We have seen the hideous face of socialism, and it looks like this:

Banksy: "Better Out Than In."

Banksy: “Better Out Than In.”


  • shpilk

    $7B? Peanuts compared to the price of caring for all the horrendous effects of eating that crap causes the public at large. Might even exceed the $200B they make in sales each year.

  • Ned F

    I was thinking, (stop rolling your eyes), that once upon a time, like in the 50’s and 60’s, these jobs were never designed and intended for people to rely on for full time living wages. Most of the employees were part time kids in high school, maybe in college. Then all the factories closed, the better blue collar jobs disappeared, and those that were older and held decent paying jobs in industry and manufacturing had nowhere else to go. The business model of the fast food industry has never really changed in 50 years, just grown larger. Burgers were 99 cents in 1965, what would be the equivalent in today’s dollar? Why do we pay $300,000 for a home that cost $24,000 in 1965, $100./mo. for phone service that cost $25 at that time, and still expect a burger to cost 99 cents? Maybe it’s because we still expect these jobs to be performed by only part time high school kids.

    • feloniousgrammar

      and volume, volume, volume

  • muselet

    Heaven forfend that the public should have to pay a few cents more for its burgers.


    • feloniousgrammar

      … or CEOs make fewer millions and shareholders gain less unearned income.

      • muselet

        That, too.