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Rescue Dogs – Rescue Children
By Shlomo Maital 

Seven years ago, our daughter in law came upon a puppy in Tel Aviv. A mixed-breed Yorkshire,  the four-month-old puppy jumped on her, on a Tel Aviv Street.  Dafna could find no owner, and brought her home, bathed her, cleaned her up (she was full of fleas and ticks), took her to the vet for shots…and asked us if we could help find her a home, as a rescue dog.   I met Pixie (the name we gave her) when I came home from a working trip to Europe.  As I came in the door, she jumped into my arms and licked my face… instant love, after 3 microseconds.  At that instant, my wife and I decided we would keep her.  Since then Pixie has made us laugh every single morning and with her antics, made the awful news in the New York Times and Ha’aretz bearable.   
     Pixie IS a rescue dog.  She rescued us, in a sense.  She takes us for walks and offers unconditional love, rain or shine – and an incredible greeting every time we come home, as if we were long-lost siblings.
    Several of our friends have rescue dogs, too.   One has a beautiful placid huge golden retriever, female,  she (the dog) carries herself with dignity worthy of Pope Francis.    Taking home a rescue dog is truly worthwhile and meaningful —  often, it keeps the dog from being put down, in rescue kennels that are vastly overcrowded, because so many unworthy people bring home puppies for children and then suddenly discover dogs need care, feeding and walking ..and abandon them. 
     So yes – great that we love rescue dogs.
     But what about rescue kids?  Writing in The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof points out that America is neglecting kids – and not just those of immigrants. 
“It’s not just the kids at the border.  America systematically shortchanges tens of millions of children, including homegrown kids. The upshot is that American kids are more likely to be poor, to drop out of high school and even to die young than in other advanced countries.”
    So —  What about a program for rescue kids?   Resources for education, food. (Republicans now seek to cut a food stamp program that has fed millions – including one child in five who lives in poverty in America,  a Third World statistic).   Even, perhaps, adoption, when justified. 
   Kids are as lovable as dogs. And they deserve just as much love.

p.s. this is blog # 1,500.  Thanks to all my readers. 

You Are Subsidizing McDonald’s – Why?

By Shlomo Maital

     Big Mac

  You may be unaware, but – Huffington Post (Oct. 15) informs us, citing a study by the National Employment Law Project (NELP), that “Taxpayers are shelling out $1.2 billion a year to help pay workers at McDonald’s”. 

   McDonald’s is a highly profitable company, with 2012 revenues of $27.6 b. and net income (profit) of $5.5 b.   Why should taxpayers subsidize McDonald’s workers? 

   And it’s not only McDonald’s.  The government subsidizes the entire fast food industry to the tune of  about $3.8 billion per year, according to a a study by University of California-Berkeley and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

    How does this work?  McDonald’s Wendy’s, KFC and other companies pay very low wages, close to minimum wage.  Workers then apply for public assistance, and receive food stamps.  They can survive on McDonald’s jobs, only if they get help from the government.  McDonald’s can pay rock bottom wages only because their workers are on food stamps – a program that costs the US about $78 b. a year.   Half of food industry workers are on public assistance, compared with one worker in four for the whole US economy.  According to the experts, “in many cases, it’s not just teenagers working fast food jobs for some extra cash. These low-wage workers are often older — and in many cases are the breadwinners for their families.”

   Fast food companies say they operate on slim margins. Really?  $5 b. in profit on $28 b. in revenue?   About 18 per cent net margin?    SLIM?????  That $1.2 b. subsidy goes directly to the shareholders’ pockets.

   How could this be fixed?  Raise the minimum wage.  Make companies pay living wages.      

   McDonald’s says it provides hundreds of thousands of jobs.   This is true – however, the jobs are largely part-time, low-paying and even though those who have such a job are employed, hence not part of the unemployment statistics, they struggle to make a living. 

   Add that $3.8 b. fast-food subsidy to the enormous costs that fast food impose on health care, through obesity, diabetes, etc., and you have a strange system in which our taxpayer money is used to subsidize an industry that causes health problems that use even more taxpayer money. 

Blog entries written by Prof. Shlomo Maital

Shlomo Maital