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Walmart and McDonald’s are among Medicaid’s top employers and payee beneficiaries

Cars pass a Walmart store in Washington on August 18, 2020.

Nicholas Camm | AFP | Getty Images

Walmart and McDonald’s are among the best employers of beneficiaries of federal aid programs such as Medicaid and food stamps, according to a study by the non-partisan government accountability service.

The question of how much taxpayers contribute to maintaining a basic standard of living for employees in some of the country̵

7;s largest low-wage companies has long been a flame in the debate over minimum wage laws and ongoing efforts to consolidate these sectors.

Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Commissioned the study, which was published Wednesday by the Congressional Monitoring Agency. The Washington Post was the first to report the data. Sanders, who ran for the Democratic nomination for president, is a leading progressive lawmaker and a constant critic of corporations.

GAO analyzed data for February from Medicaid agencies in six countries and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – known as SNAP, or food agencies – agencies in nine countries.

Walmart was Medicaid’s best employer in three states and one of the top four employers in the other three states. The trader was the best employer of SNAP recipients in five countries and one of the four best employers in the other four countries.

McDonald’s was among the top five Medicaid-registered employers in five of the six countries and SNAP recipients in eight of the nine countries.

Other well-known companies with a large number of federal aid workers include Amazon, Kroger, Dollar General and other giants in the food and retail sectors.

About 70 percent of the 21 million federal aid beneficiaries have worked full time, the report said.

“U.S. taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize some of America’s largest and most profitable corporations,” Sanders said in a statement Wednesday night. “It’s time for the owners of Walmart, McDonald’s and other large corporations to give up welfare and pay their workers alimony.”

Walmart recently reported a net profit of $ 5.14 billion for its most recent quarter, while McDonald’s reported a net profit of $ 1.76 billion for the same period.

McDonald’s USA said in a statement that the company believed that the data in the report were taken out of context and misrepresented, citing McDonald’s and Walmart as one of the largest employers in the country.

“The average starting salary in American corporate restaurants is over $ 10 an hour and exceeds the federal minimum wage. McDonald’s believes elected leaders have a responsibility to set, discuss, and change the minimum wages that are required, and does not lobby against or participate in any any actions that oppose raising the minimum, “the company said in a statement.

McDonald’s announced last March that it would no longer lobby against raising the minimum wage. CEO Chris Kempczynski told CNBC in November that the company would be open to discussing the minimum wage as he called on Congress to adopt another Covid-19 stimulus package.

“Were it not for the access to employment that Walmart and other companies provide, many more people would be dependent on state aid,” said Walmart spokesman Ann Hatfield. “We support efforts to raise the minimum wage as we continue to invest in our employees.”

The GAO report comes after Florida voted to raise its minimum wage over the next six years to $ 15 an hour. It is the eighth state to approve a minimum wage of $ 15 an hour and the second most populous state to do so.

President-elect Joe Biden supports a federal minimum wage of $ 15. The federal minimum rate has remained at $ 7.25 an hour for more than a decade.

Earlier this year, Costco, Amazon and Target raised their minimum wage to $ 15 an hour. On Wednesday, Starbucks announced it would raise salaries for its baristas.

The sun sets over a McDonald’s store on October 21, 2019 in Edgewater, New Jersey.

I received Betancur | Corbis News | Getty Images

In the past, companies such as McDonalds and Walmart have responded to pressure from lawmakers to pass mandatory minimum wage laws with advertising campaigns describing their work as entry-level and therefore never intended to provide the only source of income for the family.

McDonald’s launched a memorable marketing campaign in 2016, posing as “America’s Best First Job” and offering teens and young people to make up the majority of their workforce.

But many adherents to the mandatory minimum wage see McDonald’s ads as an attempt to ignore reality, namely that millions of McDonald’s workers are struggling to support their families on the wages the company pays.

– Christina Wilkie from CNBC participates in the reports.

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