A study released earlier this month from the public policy group Demos states that through various forms of government funding in the private sector, nearly two million people are making $12 an hour or less. The number of workers at Wal-Mart and McDonald's together at $12 an hour or less is currently around 1.5 million, according to the report.
"The sheer number of those workers making so little is surprising," said Amy Traub, a senior policy analyst at Demos and co-author of the study.
"We assume people working on behalf of America would be making more, but that's not the case," Traub said. "And many of these people are making less than $12 an hour."
The report says that when tax dollars underwrite bad jobs, the economy as a whole is weakened.