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Let them eat crap

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I stumbled across an interesting statistic recently. While 15% of all Americans received food stamps (federal assistance to buy food) in 2010, that figure was 27% for fast-food workers. This means that the government (e.g. the public) subsidizes fast food restaurants rather than forcing them to pay their employees a living wage. As a result of the subsidy, fast food appears cheaper than healthy food. I imagine that many fast food workers also eat as much as they can at work. They may have little choice; when McDonald’s developed a website to teach its employees how to survive on their salary, it did not include money for food in its suggested budget. Employees presumably are supposed to get by on a combination of food stamps and hamburgers. Meanwhile, fast food is one of the contributors to the obesity epidemic, which costs the US an estimated $450 billion per year. Fast food and soft drinks contribute to diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and stroke, all major killers. One important contribution to healthier diets and a reduced burden of non-communicable disease (NCDs) would thus be to resist industry lobbying against increases in the minimum wage.