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A new report out today by the UC Berkeley Labor Center looks at the amount of money state and federal taxpayers spend on public assistance programs for low wage workers between 2009 and 2011 they cost nearly $153 billion per year, more than half of the total spent on public assistance. While the purpose of the social safety net to help low income families get by, the worry is that employers may be building their pay structure around this taxpayer support. 

Some companies like McDonald’s, GAP, Target and others have already instituted pay increases and some states are putting pressure on companies to pay more. California for example is going to publicly list the names of employers with more than 100 workers on Medicaid. Additionally, more than 20 state legislatures have passed minimum wage increases for 2015.

 

Follow David Brancaccio at @DavidBrancaccio