Let us all now bow before the god of free enterprise, whose awesomeness was revealed in a recent news release announcing that the divine managers of fast-food demi-god McDonald's achieved a profit of $1.5 billion in just three months this summer.
Holy Big Mac! How did it do that? Peek behind the curtain and you'll see that McDonald's secret power is thee and me -- America's taxpayers. The corporation rips off its huge workforce by paying poverty wages and no benefits, then directs the workers to the food stamp office and other government-funded safety-net programs.
Neat, huh? A major chunk of the chain's cost-of-doing-business disappears from the corporate books and -- shazam! -- reappears on the government's books. In fact, the National Employment Law Project reports that McDonald's phenomenal $1.5 billion profit is bloated by an estimated $1.2 billion that we taxpayers will shell out this year to support its predatory wage-and-benefit policy. Aren't you "lovin' it," as the chain's ads say?
But the golden arches are not alone in this fast-food flimflam. The conglomerate owner of KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken), Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell duns us for $648 million to underwrite its poverty pay. Subway burrows into us for $436 million. Burger King, (a British outfit) taps us for $356 million, little sweet Wendy's grabs more than a quarter-billion bucks from us, and Dunkin' Donuts dips into our pockets for $274 million.
And look here -- it's Domino's pizza, whose extremist right-wing owner says he hates government spending. But he's picking taxpayers' pockets to the tune of $126 million to subsidize his "free" enterprise.
These corporate powers piously preach about the "magic" of the marketplace, but as these facts reveal, magicians don't do magic -- they perform illusions.
Listen to this commentary:
Photo: French McDonald's workers on strike, via Flickr user Tilemahos Efthimiadis, creative commons licensed.