Fast-Food Workers Aren’t the Only Ones Costing Taxpayers Money

About a third of bank tellers nationwide receive some kind of public assistance to make up for their low wages.


Bank tellers may dress professionally and handle our money all day, but they don’t necessarily have much in their own accounts.

A recent report found that taxpayers spend $7 billion a year subsidizing low-wage fast-food workers through programs like food stamps and Medicaid. A new report from the Committee for Better Banks says we also spend about $900 million a year helping bank tellers.

“The University of California Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education found that salaries for bank tellers nationwide are so low that 31 percent of bank tellers and their family members are enrolled in some type of public assistance program (including EITC, Medicaid, CHIP, SNAP, and TANF), which costs states and the federal government a total of $899 million,” the report says.

The money breaks down this way, according to The Washington Post:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps — $105 million.
  • Earned Income Tax Credit — $250 million.
  • Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program — $534 million.

“These struggling regular workers are seeing their pay get cut. They’re seeing their hours get cut,” Brigid Flaherty, a representative of the Committee for Better Banks, told NPR. “And really, we know that the banks have the money to pay their workers a fair wage with benefits.”

U.S. bank profits were higher than $141.3 billion last year, and median bank CEO pay was about $552,000, the Post notes. Meanwhile, the typical bank teller made $24,100, or $11.59 an hour.

What do you think? Do bank tellers make a fair wage? Comment below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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