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The $153 billion/year Corporate Welfare Program

The $153 billion/year Corporate Welfare Program

While its well-known that the public subsidizes mega-corporations who pay low wages by providing their under-paid employees with welfare benefits, a recent UC Berkeley study estimated the enormous cost of public subsidies to low-wage employers to be approximately $153 billion annually.

As East Bay Express journalist Darwin BondGraham explains it, "To put that number in context, the total proposed 2015-2016 California state budget is $165 billion. So American taxpayers are essentially running a corporate welfare program almost the size of the California state budget to take care of workers and their families who struggle with low-wage employment."

Perhaps, however, what will surprise people most (if $153 billion annually doesn't) from the study is that it is not just fast food workers but also childcare workers, home care workers, and even part time faculty that are forced to rely on public assistance due to the low wages they receive.

This study drives home the importance of increasing the minimum wage to a living wage. If corporations don't pay their employees enough to survive, taxpayers end up shouldering the burden.

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