Almost a third of the country’s half-million bank tellers rely on some form of public assistance to get by, according to a report due out Wednesday.
Researchers say taxpayers are doling out nearly $900 million a year to supplement the wages of bank tellers, which amounts to a public subsidy for multibillion-dollar banks. The workers collect $105 million in food stamps, $250 million through the earned income tax credit and $534 million by way of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, according to the University of California at Berkeley’s Labor Center. ...
“This is the wealthiest and most powerful industry in the world, and it’s substantially subsidized by our tax dollars, money that we could be spending on child care or pre-K,” said Deborah Axt, co-executive director at Make the Road New York, one of four coalition members.
Profits at the nation’s banks topped $141.3 billion last year, with the median chief executive pay hovering around $552,000, according to SNL Financial. In contrast, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics pegs the median annual income of a bank teller at $24,100, or $11.59 an hour.
OK, sure, we know that lots of Walmart employees are on public assistance. Heck, stores are even holding food drives for them.
And employees of fast food restaurants, currently striking for higher pay, are always mentioned when talking about the working poor. Even our nation's soldiers often get public assistance. I know that.
But bank employees? That just blows my mind! Banks are where the money is, as witness the high salaries of their CEOs. (Their median pay is more than a half million dollars a year, and I'll bet the average is far higher than that.)
Nearly one-third of bank tellers make so little money they get public assistance! That's just nuts, isn't it? We seem to be getting to critical levels of income inequality in this country, especially considering that we're not even talking about the millions of unemployed Americans.