How Fast Food Poverty Costs America Billions

Food events in the Washington area

The estimates were based on government data. A second study , by the pro-union National Employment Law Project, extended the analysis to individual companies, estimating that McDonalds workers received $1.2 billion in public assistance while the corporation netted $5.5 billion in Fiscal Year 2012 profits, and devoted $5.5 billion to dividends and stock buybacks. This is the public cost of low-wage jobs in America, write the authors of the BerkeleyUrbana-Champaign study. The cost is public because taxpayers bear it. Yet it remains hidden in national policy debates about poverty, employment and federal spending. A spokesperson for McDonalds declined last night to comment on the fast food campaign or the extent of fast food workers use of public assistance. A spokesperson for the fast food giant emailed in August that Our history is full of examples who worked their first job with McDonalds and went on to successful careers both within and outside of McDonalds. The National Restaurant Association did not immediately respond to a Monday afternoon inquiry. As Salon first reported , New York City fast food workers mounted an unprecedented strike last November, the first in a wave of work stoppages around the country that included a 60-city walkout in August each demanding a raise of $15 an hour and the chance to unionize without intimidation. Little Caesars worker Julio Wilson said before walking off the job that hed made my way through the fast food circuit, with stints at Burger King, Subway, Arbys and McDonalds, and theyre all the same. He told Salon that many fellow employees and their families need to be compensated to be able to live. Funding todays university report represents the fast food campaigns latest salvo against the growing, increasingly representative and virtually union-free fast food industry. The key player behind the national campaign has been the Service Employees International Union. Along with a series of one-day strikes, organizers have targeted fast food companies with media, political, and consumer pressure. SEIU strategist Scott Courtney told Salon in August that given the disparity between McDonalds profits and workers poverty, the story is leverage in and of itself. Writing in defense of Wal-Mart in Slate in 2006,Jason Furman, who now chairs the White Houses Council of Economic Advisors, criticized critics who, like fast food activists, had cited hefty public assistance tolls in making their case. As far as I can tell, wrote Furman, these are cynical attempts to expand the appeal of the case against Wal-Mart, moving it beyond an appeal to the atavistic anti-corporate instincts of some progressives by playing on the atavistic anti-welfare, anti-government, anti-tax instincts of some conservatives. The authors of the BerkeleyUrbana-Champaign study call the public assistance programs whose costs they tally indispensable, saying they provide a last line of defense between Americas growing low-income workforce and the want of basic necessities. But they suggest that such programs would be more effective if they were combined with measures to improve wages and health benefits among low-wage workers, such as increasing the minimum wage, passing local laws to raise labor standards or facilitating union collective bargaining. Noting the difficulty of offshoring a fast food job, the scholars write, Rather than reflecting the competitive dictates of global product markets, the low-wage structure of fast-food and other domestic service industries reflects a mixture of market conditions and policy choices about minimum standards for work. Jason Flakes/U.S.

$150 per couple. Culinaria Cooking School, 110 Pleasant St. NW, Vienna. 703-865-7920. www.culinariacookingschool.com . OCT. 19 18TH CENTURY AUTUMN MARKET FAIR: Food, drinks, costumed interpreters and herbs and flowers for sale. 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. $6; $3 ages 3-12 and seniors; age 2 and younger free. Claude Moore Colonial Farm at Turkey Run, 6310 Georgetown Pike, McLean. 703-903-9330. www.1771.org . AUTUMN REGGAE AND WINE FESTIVAL: Reggae music, wine tastings, winery tours and food and craft vendors.

Top food blogs of 2013

This is obviously nothing new (as anyone who used to have a Xanga account can tell you), but the fact alone that anyone, anywhere, can set up a platform and instantly reach millions of readers is one worth celebrating. So for the fourth year running, were ranking the top 25 food-oriented blogs, ranked according to readership and social media following. Theres plenty of time to argue the merits of what makes a food blog great, be it the amount of breaking news, quality of the recipes, layout, industry usefulness, or wide appeal, but for todays (and previous years) purposes, we took a very objective approach: we tracked down nearly 200 leading food blogs, using “best-of” lists from sites including Saveur and Babble, and then compiled four data points on each of them: the average number of monthly visitors for the past year (using Compete.coms data), and the number of Twitter followers, Facebook fans, and Pinterest followers. To arrive at the final 25, we factored in the number of average unique visitors (this accounted for 50 percent of each blogs score) and the data from the three social media components (which accounted for the remaining 50 percent). The blogs with the highest total scores made the cut. While the list didnt change dramatically from last year, there were a few notable differences. The Kitchn made a leap from number six up to number two, and Picky Palate jumped from number 12 up to number five on our list. Skinnytaste , which ranked third last year, fell to number 10 this year, and David Lebovitz , whose star just keeps rising, jumped from number 11 up to number six. Simply Recipes held onto the top spot for the fourth year in a row. There were also several newcomers, while others fell off the list entirely. This year we welcome Bakers Royale , Chocolate & Zucchini , Elanas Pantry , Food52 , Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef , Simple Bites , and Thug Kitchen to our list, while we say goodbye to Annies Eats , Gluten-Free Goddess, Mommys Kitchen , Our Best Bites , Pinch My Salt, TasteSpotting , and A Year of Slow Cooking. Falling off our list in no way indicates a drop in quality; reasons vary from blog to blog. Some have slowed down the rate of posting entries; others have simply been surpassed by other blogs in traffic. The blogs on our list offer everything from recipes to breaking restaurant news to simple musings about life and food, but theyre all worthy of being on your radar if you love food.