Congratulations, You Bought the New McDonald's CEO a Jet Plane!

In this season of generosity, I’m sure that you get as much joy and deep internal satisfaction as I do just by knowing that we – all of us taxpayers together – contribute day-in and day-out to a very big global cause: Supersizing McDonald’s.

The world’s largest hamburger chain is a needy charity case, because without our generous tax support, the Big MacBosses in charge would have to pay a living wage to their 800,000-plus American workers. But, thanks to us, the $27 billion-a-year hamburger-flipping flim flammers can get away with paying poverty wages – then send their workforce to get food stamps, Medicaid, child welfare payments, public housing, and other tax-funded poverty benefits. This public subsidy of the Golden Arches adds up to a very golden $1.2 billion a year. What a creative business plan! Who says giant corporations aren’t enterprising?

The chain’s top executives say they operate on razor-thin profit margins, so they can’t afford to throw money at workers. Really? Last year’s $5.6 billion in profits doesn’t sound thin to me. Also, note that McDonald’s more than tripled the pay of its new CEO last year, elevating him from $4.1 million to $13.8 million.

But what really galls its workers (whose low wages and forced part-time schedules mean they average less than $12,000 a year) is that the taxpayer-subsidized profiteer laid out a fat $35 million in October to add a brand new executive jet to its corporate fleet. This one is a “Bombardier 605″ with the full package of luxurious amenities, and it costs $2,500 an hour to fly it.

Just flying one hour on the Bombardier cost more than the combined hourly wages of more than 300 McDonald’s workers. Remember, you’re subsidizing this.

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Jim Hightower
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