On August 18, 2020, cars run at the Walmart store in Washington, DC.
Nicholas Kamm | AFP | Getty Images
According to a study by the Office of Nonpartisan Government Accountability, Walmart and McDonald’s are among the top employers of beneficiaries of federal aid programs such as Medicaid and Food Stamp.
The question of how much taxpayers contribute to maintaining basic living standards for employees in some of the country’s largest low-paying companies is a flashpoint on long-standing minimum wage laws and the ongoing effort to unionize these sectors.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, commissioned the study, which was released Wednesday by the Congressional Monitoring Agency. The Washington Post was the first to report on the data. Sanders, who has run for the Democratic nomination for the presidency, is a leading progressive lawmaker and a frequent critic of corporations.
The GAO analyzed February data from Medicaid agencies in six states and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – known as SNAP, or food stamps in nine states – agencies.
Walmart was Medicaid Enroll’s top employer in three states and one of the top four employers in the remaining three states. The retailer was the top employer of SNAP recipients in five states and one of the top four employers in the remaining four states.
McDonald was among the top five employers of Medicaid enrol in five of six states and SNAP recipients in eight of nine states.
Other notable companies with a large number of employees on federal aid include Amazon, Kröger, Dollar General, and other food service and retail giants.
About 70% of the 21 million federal aid beneficiaries worked full-time, the report found.
“Taxpayers in America should not be forced to subsidize some of America’s largest and most profitable corporations,” Sanders said in a statement Wednesday evening. “It is time for owners of Walmart, McDonald’s and other large corporations to withdraw from welfare and pay their workers living wages.”
Walmart reported net income of $ 5.14 billion for the most recent quarter, while McDonald’s reported net income of $ 1.76 billion for the same period.
McDonald’s USA said in a statement that the company believes the data from the report were taken out of context and misleading, stating that McDonald’s and Walmart are some of the country’s largest employers.
“The average starting salary at American corporate-owned restaurants is more than $ 10 per hour and exceeds the federal minimum wage. McDonald’s believes that elected leaders have the ability to set, debate and change the mandatory minimum wage and allow any There is also no responsibility to oppose or advocate activities. Taking the minimum, “the company said in a statement.
McDonald’s announced last March that it would no longer lobby against minimum wage increases. CEO Chris Kempinski told CNBC in November that the company would be open to discussing the minimum wage as it called on Congress to pass another Kovid-19 incentive package.
Walmart spokesman Anne Hatfield said in a statement, “If employment is not available to Walmart and other companies, many more people will depend on government support.” “We support efforts to raise the minimum wage by continuing to invest in our partners.”
The GAO report comes after Florida voted to raise the minimum wage over the next six years until it reached $ 15 per hour. It is the eighth state to approve a $ 15-hour minimum wage and the second most populous state to do so.
President-Elect Joe Biden supports the $ 15 federal minimum wage. The federal minimum rate has remained at $ 7.25 per hour for over a decade.
Earlier this year, Costco, Amazon and Target raised their minimum wage to $ 15 per hour. On Wednesday, Starbucks announced that it would raise wages for its admissions.
On October 21, 2019, the sun sets at the McDonald’s store in Edgewater, New Jersey.
Cana Betanur | Corbis News | Getty Images
In the past, companies such as McDonald’s and Walmart have pressured lawmakers to pass minimum wage laws with advertising campaigns to allow their jobs as entry-level, and therefore the only source of income for a family ever Was not intended to provide.
McDonald’s began a memorable marketing campaign in 2016, presenting itself as “America’s Finest First Job” and suggested that teens and young adults increase their workforce.
But many advocates for a higher minimum wage saw McDonald’s ads as an attempt to gloss over the reality that McDonald’s millions of workers struggle to support families to pay the company on wages.
– CNBC’s Christina Wilkie contributed reporting.