It seems that every time one turns around today, all we hear is how “those people on welfare” are making this country go broke. It’s about time we examine who really benefits from government food stamps and medical assistance.

According to “The Lowdown” a newsletter put out by journalist Jim Hightower, our fast food giants are the eventual recipients of $7 billion worth of food stamps and other public safety net programs. The top 10 fast food joints alone benefit from $4 billion of our tax money.

Here’s how it works: Fast food joints (and other huge discount outlets) pay sub-standard wages. By that, I mean, not enough to live on. In order for workers to supplement the low wages, store managers urge their employees to sign up for food stamps, Medicaid, fuel assistance and many other benefits. Of course, because of the extremely low wages, all of them qualify for the benefits.

The huge businesses avoid paying out decent wages and the CEOs award themselves with multimillion dollar raises for such a job well done. And why not? They just gave their stockholders another truckload of profits.

So what do most people do about it? Do they complain about how these companies are taking us all to the cleaners? No. They blame those who earn minimum wage and need the government benefits (sometimes called “entitlements”) to survive. I’m not saying, “Boycott those places.” Those working for such low wages do need the jobs and the food stamps that go with them. What I’m saying is we should let those in power know that we know and show a little compassion for those at the bottom.

Peter P. SiroisMadison

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