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Companies force employees on public aid

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In his April 8 letter, Michael Jollif posited that some Americans do not deserve to earn $9.25 an hour for their labor. What he fails to realize, or refuses to acknowledge, is that American taxpayers are already paying above and beyond that $9.25 due to the refusal of corporations such as Walmart and McDonald’s to do so themselves.

Instead, they foist these costs onto us through their reliance on Medicaid, food stamps and other programs to make up for their Scrooge mentality. While many demonize individuals who use these programs, shouldn’t we instead point the finger at the multibillion dollar companies, some with years of record-breaking profits, for using the American populace as their own personal piggy bank?

Between 2007 and 2011, fast food chains cost American taxpayers $7 billion a year in public assistance funds. Recordings from McDonald’s “McResource” employee help line found the corporation counseling full-time employees to apply for various welfare programs (Businessweek, Oct. 25, 2013). If Mr. Jollif, like me, sees public assistance as a hand up to help people lift themselves out of poverty, why does he advocate maintaining a minimum wage that encourages long-term reliance on such programs?

In 2013, Walmart made $469 billion in revenue. So why was Canton, Ohio, holding a food drive for impoverished employees around Thanksgiving? In many states, Walmart employees are the single biggest group of public assistance recipients.

Since Mr. Jollif is concerned about the work ethic of Americans, he’ll be happy to hear that American productivity has increased so much that if wages were properly adjusted they would be closer to $20 (Bloomberg View, Dec. 17, 2013). Continually blaming struggling individuals for the insatiable greed of corporations treats the symptoms, not the disease. If we continue to treat a bullet wound with band aids, our country will bleed dry.

Allie Kratzat

Carthage

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