“The trail spans fourteen states. She has used 127 names, has simulated the mother of fourteen children once, and seven other “. He described Ronald Reagan to an enigmatic woman Republican would use in his campaign as the epitome of taking advantage of the “theta state”. Since then, the United States is called pejoratively ” Queen of subsidies “or welfare queen , to all those who abuse the aid. The term is associated with black single mothers and low income, and discussions on poverty and how to solve it is often used to suggest the responsibility instead of favoring subsidies.
Years later it was discovered that Linda Taylorwas indeed a white con artist , but in popular parlance the term was as a representative of that charge but do not work, “vagrancy” in the Spanish version. Recently, Republican candidate Mitt Romney was caught with a hidden camera saying, before a large group of millionaires and potential donors: “There are 47% of Americans will vote for the president (Barack Obama) no matter what.They are dependent on the government, believe victims , the government has to worry about them, they are entitled to health, food, housing … what comes to mind. I can not worry about them, never responsible for their own lives will become. ”
“In the debate on poverty in the US (even as Republicans have embraced electoral battle horse the fight against inequality of opportunity), the pejorative term welfare queen (Queen of subsidies) is back in fashion. But this time do not talk about those that charge but do not work, but large corporations like Walmart and McDonald’s.”
Now, in the debate on poverty in the United States (including Republicans have embraced as horse electoral battle fighting inequality opportunities), the term becomes fashionable. But this time there is talk of individuals but of large corporations such as Walmart and McDonald’s .
7,000 million in public subsidies
“How McDonald’s and Wal-Mart became welfare queens, ” recently I read in Bloomberg; ” The wages of fast food restaurants come with a bill of 7,000 million public subsidy “, publishedBusiness Week ; “Report: fast food companies transferred 7,000 million labor cost to taxpayers,” revealed Forbes .
Those 7,000 million is an estimate of what the state spends annually on subsidies for workers in large fast food companies , helps allow them to eat and have health insurance. These companies pay their employees that their food and medical care are borne by Washington so little. The figure comes from two different reports, one from the University of Berkeley and the other from Illinois, paid by FastFood Forward , an organization of activists pursuing increases in wages
Both used data available to the public, and refer to the big fast food chains like McDonald’s or Taco Bell. Keep workers McDonald’s in particular costs each year 1,200 million to the State , according to the analysis of the organization activist National Employment Law Project. 52% of workers in fast food establishments are registered with their families to some form of public assistance. The industry fast food moves 200.0000 million annually, but only 13% of companies provide health insurance.
The telephone conversation that sparked the scandal
The issue of hidden public subsidies companiesuse junk leapt into the public arena when it published a recorded conversation between an employee of McDonald’s and a phone operaria helps employees of the company.
Nancy had spent ten years in a McDonald’s restaurant in Chicago. He had two sons, and rationed food because with $ 8.25 (six euros) when getting it charged not make ends meet. It was below the federal poverty line ($ 23,550 for a family of four, about 17,500 euros), which is known in the US as working poor ( people who work but are poor ). Nor he had access to healthcare. So, in desperation, she called the McDonald’s Helpline.
McDonald’s : This is the line of McDonald’s resources, how can I help you?
Nancy: I would like more information about the help I can get.
McDonald’s: I’ll give you a phone number where you can order food. Is it in SNAP? SNAP is the Nutritional Assistance Program Supplement, called Food Stamps ( food stamps ). Is it in that program? He has children?
Nancy: Yes, I have children.
McDonald’s: So it is probably very candidate to enter the program.
Nancy: I’m rationing the food and did not know.
McDonald’s: It is a federal program. The federal money comes to the States and they manage it.
Nancy : What about the doctor?
McDonald’s: Have you tried to get Medicaid? It is a federal health insurance program for those with low income or no income.
“Keep workers McDonald’s in particular costs 1,200 million annually to the state, according to the analysis of the advocacy group National Employment Law Project. 52% of workers in fast food establishments are registered with their families to some type of public assistance.”
The brazenness with which the company assumed it was the State that had to supplement the salary of its employees in the form of subsidies shot the scandal. Of course, everything is absolutely legal, but undignified for a company that employs around half a million Americans. Something similar happens with Walmart . It is the largest employer in the United States . One in every hundred Americans of working age works in this business, a total of around a million and a half.
Confidential has tried unsuccessfully to obtain a replica of both McDonald’s and Walmart. Both companies have in common be known to pay minimum wage and not provide health coverage.His image is so bad that the latter currently airing an advertisement on television that “Opportunity” is the title.
“I have a 401K retirement plan,” he says a smiling, referring to private pension plan that usually offer the best employers to their workers. “I started part-time manager I am now,” he says on camera a black man in his forties. “I get health insurance for less than $ 40 a month,” says another worker.
The “State of the corporate welfare”
For large companies that pay poorly transcends the world of fast food companies or large stores like Walmart. Leftist groups such as the movement Occupy Wall Street , ensure that a “corporate welfare state”, reflected in bailouts to banks or tax subsidies (about 6,000 million) as oil majors tax credits, which Barack Obama has promised to eliminate if Congress supports him.
The issue, especially transcends these days in the form of debate on the minimum wage. A few months ago, tens of thousands of workers in fast food restaurants coordinated a series of protests in more than 60 US cities. They demanded an increase in the minimum wage, currently $ 7.25 an hour (5.3 euros). The figure, higher in some states, it takes virtually frozen for years, which has led to a clear loss of purchasing power . In the speech on the State of the Union , Obama announced that he would order $ 10.10 increase to the minimum wage for government contractors, and asked the businessmen to climb on the bandwagon.
“Many may lose if the minimum wage is raised”
“Raising the minimum wage to $ 10.10 willreduce the chances of workers receiving food stamps , because many will be above the poverty line. May raise that limit to many workers lose more than you win, “he said to The ConfidentialMark Wilson, vice president of the think-tankconservative Health and Employment Policy. “In addition, raising the minimum wage is not free, someone has to pay for it, and studies show that normally are workers with less training, because job opportunities are lost, and the middle classes, who have to pay more for their services “.
And yet, despite the image that try to project, workers in fast food chains are not mostly students. The average age is 28 years, according to the Bureau of Statistics. ” The people serving food does not have to buy food, pay the rent or spend something in their communities , “said the Rev. Martin Rafanan, director of STL Can not Survive on $ 7.35 . “7,000 million dollars is a huge amount these companies snatch our communities,” he says.
“The matter transcends these days in the form of debate on the minimum wage.For months, tens of thousands of workers in fast food restaurants coordinated protests in more than 60 cities. They demanded an increase in the minimum wage, currently at 5.3 euros.The figure carries frozen for years, which has led to a clear loss of purchasing power.”
Analysts who advocate raising the minimum wage argue precisely the existence of studies confirm that is good for the economy, and for the worker.Among them, the group of 75 economists, including the Nobel Laureates are Joseph Stiglitzand Peter Diamond , who had joined the Democratic initiative to increase that amount.
Not everyone agrees. If the federal minimum to rise to 9.5 time, only 11% of workers who would benefit from living in poor households , while 42% live in homes that are three times the federal poverty line, according to a study by Joseph Sabia, of San Diego State University, and Richard Burkhauser, Cornell. “Although revenue increase of students and earning extra wages, Obama’s proposal would eliminate many of the early work that could make the poorest Americans want”, they say.
Low prices taking care workers
In the midst of this debate, emerging companies like Costco , Walmart competitor, which has become an example to follow. The same has happened with Quik Trip or Trader Joe’s. They have become famous for being very cheap, but taking care of its employees. As a cashier at Walmart joins the company earning around $ 20,000, one of Quik Trip is around 40,000, according Bloomberg.
Costco pays at least $ 11 an hour. And yet, despite spending more, the relationship between profit and the size of the company plays in favor of this in front of Walmart. The first gets an annual profit of 13,200 million dollars on revenues of 106,000;Walmart, with 474,000 37,000 million income.That is, Walmart needs five times more income for only three times earnings. And that Costco is in its infancy (founded in 1983) and Walmart (created in 1962), about to retire.
El Confidencial, Mario Saavedra