McDonald’s Low Wages Leave Taxpayers with $1.2B Bill

McDonald’s pays it’s workers an average of $7.75 an hour.  Let that sink in a minute…


We all know that low wages hurt the employees – and their families – who earn low wages (duh).  But if you pay taxes, did you know that low wages end up hurting your wallet and pocketbooks as well?

Unfortunately, most of us don’t understand the connection between the two, much less the magnitude of how big an issue it really is.  Thankfully, the folks at National Employment Law Project have done the heavy lifting and number crunching and, in their study, Super-Sizing Public Costs: How Low Wages at Top Fast-Food Chains Leave Taxpayers Footing the Bill, found that:


“Low wages and lack of benefits at the 10 largest fast food companies in the United States cost taxpayers an estimated $3.8B per year. McDonald’s alone costs taxpayers an estimated $1.2B each year.”


Meanwhile, these same companies are doing quite well financially, raking in $7.4B in profits, paying their executives $52.7M in compensation, and distributing $7.7B dollars in dividends and buybacks to shareholders. So, while these same companies may tell you that raising wages so that their own employees can live humanely will end up costing consumers via higher prices (because they’ve always got your best interests at heart), the dirty little secret is that consumers like all of us are already paying higher prices than what’s on the dollar menus.


It’s just hidden in each of our individual tax bills.


The other dirty secret is it’s not just the fast food industry which operates this way.  So isn’t it time we stopped subsidizing the executives, shareholders and owners of businesses (all of them, not just McDonald’s) that don’t treat their workers well with our purchases and tax dollars and, instead “swich” to better businesses that pay their workers fairly so that we as taxpayers don’t end up having to make up the difference?


Check out this great infographic below from International Business Times to see exactly how we are subsidizing each of the largest fast food chains.