Traverse City Record-Eagle


January 11, 2014

Letters to the Editor: 01/11/2014

Reality of subsidies

Even on your opinion page I dislike being lied to — to wit, the editorial cartoon that blames “big gub’mint” for impoverishing people. What keeps people in poverty are low wages with us, the public, expected to keep the working poor from starvation.

Let’s consider those who demand our tax dollars. McResource, a McDonald’s helpline, has advised employees to rely on public assistance to survive. Taxpayers pay about $7 billion a year on public assistance for fast-food workers.*

Walmart’s wages and benefits are so low that each and every store could cost taxpayers between $400,000 to $1 million per year. One out of three tellers at major banks (the ones with millionaire CEOs) rely on public assistance, costing taxpayers $900 million a year.

There is much more. And remember, corporations that rely on public assistance do not do this to keep prices low. What they save on labor is added to profit. This is the reality of our subsidies to the wealthy.

Perhaps it may be futile to ask that instead of lies couched as opinion you present the reality of wealth transfer and how jobs are created through demand fueled by actual sustainable wages.

Gerald Wilgus


* From the report: “Fast Food, Poverty Wages; The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the Fast-Food Industry” by the University of Illinois and the University of California Berkeley Labor Center

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