Last year, McDonald’s made nearly $5.5 billion in revenue, but the company cost U.S. taxpayers $1.2 billion. Did you catch that? Over a billion dollars. Because they refuse to pay their employees a living wage, we subsidize their greed.

In case "food" that isn't actually food isn't insufficient reason to avoid fast food, I have another one for you: Some giant fast-food chains, though they rake in huge amounts of profit in the millions and billions of dollars, refuse to pay living wages, which forces their workers to turn to government programs that we pay for.

This makes me really, really angry.

It doesn't make me angry that my tax dollars pay for government assistance programs. It makes me angry that my tax dollars are subsidizing employees so a company can make obscene amounts of money.

They could easily pay higher wages and still make an astronomical amount of profit.

In other words, they could easily pay higher wages and still make an astronomical amount of profit.

In theory, the situation is awful, but when you actually look at the numbers, it's downright enraging.

Check this out^ Last year, McDonald's made nearly $5.5 billion, returning all its profits to shareholders, "paying out a total of $5.5 billion in dividends and stock buybacks" (Source). And yet, the company cost U.S. taxpayers $1.2 billion. Did you catch that? Over a billion dollars.

So even if they raised worker wages $1.2 billion (to cover what taxpayers are subsidizing), they would still enjoy over $4 billion in revenue. How is that not sufficient? On what planet is that not enough money? It's disgusting.

Just to shake some salt into this collective wound, the McDonald's CEO was paid $13.7 million.

You have got to be kidding me.

They pay their employees less than $8.00 an hour but dish out over $13 million to one person?

Top 7 fast-food chains draining U.S. taxpayers

  1. McDonald's
  2. Yum! Brands (Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC)
  3. Burger King
  4. Wendy's
  5. Dunkin' Donuts
  6. Sonic
  7. Domino's Pizza

If you click on this link, you'll see the other six fast-food chains draining U.S. taxpayers to subsidize their own greed. They are, in order of highest drain on taxpayers: 1. McDonald's; 2. Yum! Brands (Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC); 3. Burger King; 4. Wendy's; 5. Dunkin' Donuts; 6. Sonic; 7. Domino's Pizza. (Source)

Some have argued that they don't want wages to rise at these fast-food chains because they like the low prices. First of all, how selfish are you? Um, yeah, sorry you can't support yourself or your family, but I need my 99 cent burger!"

But secondly, this is ridiculously illogical. Clearly if we're subsidizing workers, we're already "paying more" for our burgers than the price on the menu. Wouldn't you rather pay that money toward higher wages instead of higher taxes? Ethically it just feels way better to me that my money would go toward greater financial independence of workers than a government subsidy compensating for the greed of giant fast-food companies.

I don't eat at restaurants like that. Very rarely. Beyond the profoundly awful ingredient lists, I feel like crap after I eat those foods. My kids once ate McDonald's chicken nuggets with some friends and came home complaining their bellies hurt, for like four hours. I think that's because humans aren't meant to eat those substances, and unless we get used to it, our bodies are like "Um, no thanks."

I'm not "above" fast food.

We eat In-and-Out, and sometimes I'll eat Taco Bell. But it's very, very rare.

I'm not amused that I have to pay for the existence of these companies even though I don't eat their food, that their mere existence necessitates my support.

stack of money

I guess this is just more evidence of how thoughtful we should be as families about where we spend our money. It may seem like it couldn't possibly make a difference, but if taxpayers provide over a billion dollars to a company's workers, clearly we have some power, and considering the greed of those companies, I imagine they'd be willing to work hard to protect it.

Or change, if they had no other option.

More on ethical food sources

5 Reasons you should care about GMOs
Why do Americans eat food banned in other countries?
If the bees die, we die