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Opinion

Opinion

Opinion: McBudget is insult to working poor

July 28, 2013

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A few words about the McBudget.

Perhaps you’ve heard of it. As fast-food workers around the country protest for higher wages, we learn that McDonald’s offers advice to help them live on the wages they make that, while not technically bupkes, do amount to a paycheck you can pretty much have the driver cash for you on the bus ride home. In December, for example, Bloomberg profiled a Chicago man who, after 20 years with the burger giant, earns $8.25 an hour — and doesn’t get 40 hours a week. This, as McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson pulled down, according to the Wall Street Journal, a compensation package worth $13.8 million last year.

Anyway, Mickey D’s isn’t blind to the difficulties of french fry makers and drive-through order takers getting by on not quite bupkes. It partnered with Visa on a website — http://www.practicalmoneyskills.com/mcdonalds/budgetJournal/budgetJournal.php — which includes a sample budget showing how you can live reasonably well on next to nothing.

The impossibility of doing so has been attested to by everyone from writer Barbara Ehrenreich in her book “Nickel and Dimed” to noted obstetrician Cliff Huxtable, in that episode of “The Cosby Show” where he uses Monopoly money to teach young Theo the value of a good income. It has also been attested to by the people trying to do it. But all that notwithstanding, the McBudget insists it can be done.

It envisions monthly take home pay of $2,060 from working two(!) jobs. Out of that, you pay $600 for rent, $150 for a car note, $100 for insurance (home and auto), $100 for cable and phone, $90 for the electric bill, $20 for health insurance, etc. You save $100 a month and have $750 to play with — if, by “play,” you mean pay for clothing, child care and water. Also, gasoline, maintenance and repair for the 1997 junkmobile you’re able to buy for $150 a month. Oh, and food. Can’t forget food.

As you might expect, the McBudget is mildly controversial. Washington Post blogger Timothy B. Lee called the figures “realistic” and praised McDonald’s for “practical” advice. This seems to be a minority opinion. ThinkProgress, the left-leaning website, called the budget “laughably inaccurate.” Stephen Colbert skewered the company, saying a $20 health insurance premium will buy you “a tourniquet, a bottle of Night Train and a bite stick.” Writing for the Wall Street Journal, columnist Al Lewis suggested that McDonald’s $13.8 million man show us how it’s done by volunteering to live on the McBudget.

The most vexing thing about that budget is its condescension. Take it from this welfare mother’s son: If there’s one thing poor people do not need, it is lessons in how to be poor. To the contrary, you will never meet anyone who can wring more value from a dollar.

We’re talking every trick of layaway and 2-day-old bread, coupon clipping and off-brand buying, Goodwill shopping, Peter robbing, Paul paying and plain old going without. You ever hear of a jam sandwich? That’s when you “jam” two pieces of bread together and call it lunch. Heck, if you handed the federal budget over to a couple welfare mothers, we’d be in surplus by December.

And McDonald’s has lessons for the poor?

Look, there are many reasons people wind up in poverty. Sometimes they make bad life choices — they drop out of school without salable skills, or they become teen parents. Often, it falls on them from the sky in the form of illness, injury, addiction or financial reversal.

However they got into poverty they all need — and deserve — the same things: a way to work their way out and to be accorded a little dignity while they do so. The former comes with paying a living wage, the latter by treating people with respect and not presuming to teach them what they could teach you. McDonald’s fails on both counts.

The McBudget is a McInsult.

— Leonard Pitts Jr. is a columnist for the Miami Herald. He chats with readers from noon to 1 p.m. CDT on www.MiamiHerald.com.

Comments

ThePilgrim 1 year, 1 month ago

This is a stupid line of reasoning that if you are with a company longer then you should automatically move up and make more money. This person cited by Pitts obviously didn't move into store management, so he has remained as a McD's line worker making the same range of pay. And as the minimum wage went up, he actually became poorer and less favorable. My wife worked a minimum wage type job. She did get minimal wage increases. Then the minimum wage increased and all the new folks got moved up to what she was already making. But they aren't going to move her up, because then she would be above what the job is really worth. You aren't going to move above $10/hr at a minimum wage type food handler or retail job.

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Thomas Bryce 1 year, 1 month ago

What you are describing has been termed"Wage Compression". State Employees have been experiencing this for years as well. Seems to be the New Normal for hourly workers.

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Stain 1 year, 1 month ago

Minimum wage was worth almost $11 in today's dollars in the 1960s. The economy boomed. That is when many companies paying these slaves wages today got their bit growth spurt: McDonald's, Pizza Hut, etc.

Corporate profits are through the roof. It hurts everyone when there is an underclass of working poor who don't have enough money to subsist. The economy thrives when everyone is earning a living wage. People can't spend money they don't have, and spending is what makes the economy boom.

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Stain 1 year, 1 month ago

That didn't used to be considered a stupid line of reasoning. Something has happened in America. The worker is now the enemy - mere overhead, to be used and thrown away. The oligarchs have won.

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Stain 1 year, 1 month ago

Companies like Inn N Out Burger prove that it is simply a lie that a company can deliver a great product at a cheap price and make a fortune and STILL pay their employees a living wage.

It's too bad there is no Inn N Out Burger in Lawrence. It seems to be mostly a West Coast thing.

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kochmoney 1 year, 1 month ago

I'd love an In N Out burger. I think we should also try for a Cosco and a Trader Joes. Publix when they expand out this way, too.

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Stain 1 year, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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pizzapete 1 year, 1 month ago

Do you mean it's a lie that a company Can't?

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avarom 1 year, 1 month ago

At In-and-Out burger, those people even get benefits. The owner realizes that keeping a small menu, with good prices and food quality.....makes good business sense. So, she does not have a lot of overhead in food waste. You can't wipe the smiles off the workers faces, and the owner is very customer focus. Food waste and poor customer service, and too many selections on a menu always kills restaurant business's very quickly.She also owns all her business's, she does not franchise, so she also does not take the chance of having any bad business mishaps. The owner understands, happy fair paid workers are productive workers!! They all work fast like a production line, no one is standing around talking......busy, busy, busy. AND THE BURGERS AND FRIES ARE OFF-THE-HOOK!!

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Stain 1 year, 1 month ago

This is also why service is horrible, everywhere. It used to be, you went to a shoe store, and you were waited on by someone who knew everything about shoes. You can't expect that when you're paying someone $7, and telling them they should be looking for a better job. I absolutely hate shopping or doing business anywhere now. It's a real treasure to find a professional working anywhere, and very rare.

The worker has now become the enemy in the corporate mind - mere overhead. You cannot expect loyalty and hard work if that is your attitude toward them. You cannot build a business without good employees, and you aren't going to get them unless you reward good work. Employees now they cannot ever hope for more than minimum wage.

What on earth happened to this country? The oligarchs have destroyed it for 90%.

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 1 month ago

So in exchange for no responsibilities and more freedom to pursue outside interests, your aunt willingly accepted a lower wage than what she might have been given. Sounds like a fair trade to me. I hope she enjoyed the choices she made.

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Stain 1 year, 1 month ago

I am positive she did not make the equivalent of $8.25 an hour.

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 1 month ago

I'm trying to think of what type person works for McDonalds for 20 years, making $8.25/hr., still essentially doing the exact same job they did when they began. I'm serious. Who does that?

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 1 month ago

Disability was certainly one of the possibilities I was thinking of when I asked the question. Along with that disability might come certain benefits given by the government, things like a case manager to help manage funds, subsidized housing, health care benefits, transportation costs assumed by the government, etc. Be clear, if this person does in fact have some disability, I'm all for all of those things. But then it's intellectually dishonest to present this person's income at $8.25/hr. They are in fact receiving benefits that boost their overall income package to a much higher number.

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Stain 1 year, 1 month ago

Not getting a good education could easily put a person in that position.

Gone are the good jobs for people without special training. Typist? Secretary? Pumper of gas? Receptionist? Working in a factory? Where?????

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 1 month ago

Twenty years, Stain, twenty years. And no opportunity at all to put oneself in a better position? Sorry, I think Pitts has presented us with just enough information to come to the wrong conclusion. It's intellectually dishonest and I see no reason to play the little game he's set up for us.

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Stain 1 year, 1 month ago

Someone who acquired a family too young and could never afford to get an education.

Where is such a person going to get a better job? Think about it. Where, in Lawrence?

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 1 month ago

What you are suggesting fails simple common sense. You're suggesting that in 20 years, this person never came across a better opportunity, either from within McDonalds or elsewhere. That just doesn't make sense. This person obviously has the skills necessary to work the french fryer as well as the ability to cook the burgers. But not the skills necessary to move into a management position, something he certainly would have been offered in those 20 years, if he had the ability. Also, higher end restaurants routinely pay much more for cooks who can prepare more complicated meals. Again, it's only common sense to assume that this person not only doesn't have those skills but also either doesn't have the desire to obtain those skills or has some disability that prevents him from getting those skills.

But the question really is this, why should McDonalds pay for skills that this employee obviously does not possess?

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jafs 1 year, 1 month ago

No, the question is how much should people making minimum wage get paid.

I say enough to live on, if they're trying to support themselves - college students and/or others working part time for spending money would fall into a different category.

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 1 month ago

I suspect the natural reaction to your proposal would be to hire only college students and/or others working part time for spending money. That assumes you don't want to mess with the problems of paying different people different wages based on how much they need, despite the fact that they're doing the same job.

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jafs 1 year, 1 month ago

That's certainly a possible unintended consequence worth considering.

Ok, everybody gets the same minimum wage, and it's enough to support one adult at a full-time level.

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 1 month ago

This whole scenario that has been set up has a certain stench about it. Suppose I said that this employee that has been with the company for 20 years, earning $8.25/hr. was next in line to be CEO, along with that 13.8 million benefit package. That just doesn't sound right. Neither does the scenario we've been presented. I suspect there is more to the story, a lot more. It's difficult to have an honest discussion when someone is purposely distorting the facts.

Suppose four people apply for a job in my business. One is a 17 year old high school senior, still living at home (no rent). One is a college student. One is a single parent of two children, the other parent paying child support. The fourth applicant is a single parent also with a deadbeat for an ex. Shall I pay each a different wage for the same job? If allowed, wouldn't I shy away from those with greater needs and hire only the 17 year olds?

Whatever the minimum wage is set at, it will be just the broadest estimate of what each person needs. Which is fine. But the business concerns need to be taken into account. Back to Mr. Pitts' McDonalds worker. Really, Jafs, the only logical conclusion I can come to, given the limited information I'm being given is that this worker has an extremely limited skill set, probably as a result of some sort of disability. But why would any business hire such a person with such limited skill sets, with disabilities, if forced to pay that person something like a living wage? Frankly, it wouldn't surprise me at all if this employee winds up being someone your wife works with, someone with a developmental disability. This person might be able to clean the tables and empty the trash. This person would certainly be eligible for government services, which I already said I support. But make the hiring of the disabled so onerous by forcing businesses to pay a living wage and I suspect you will see businesses react by not hiring such individuals. Unintended consequences indeed.

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chootspa 1 year, 1 month ago

Guess again. Developmentally disabled employees may not even be making minimum wage. http://www.cnbc.com/id/100834276

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jafs 1 year, 1 month ago

Well, your first post convinced me that different wages are problematic. That's why I said the same, regardless of age, etc.

I don't really care about this scenario one way or the other - for me, the issue of minimum wage exists already by virtue of the fact that it's not high enough for an adult to support themselves on, and is significantly lower than it should be, adjusted for inflation over the last 50 years.

But, I did do a little research, and couldn't find details about the specific story.

I don't know why you're talking about a "living" wage - I was discussing "minimum" wage, which is generally lower than a "living" one (although I'm not sure why).

The DD question goes back to my original idea, that it should differ based on need, but you showed me the problem with that. I don't buy the "skill" argument - as long as somebody can fulfill the job description, I think they deserve to make enough to live on (modestly).

How many dd folks do you employ and at what wage level?

Businesses may in fact react in a variety of ways to things like minimum wages, or any sort of regulation - it's up to us how to deal with that reaction.

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 1 month ago

I have one employee who has worked for me for about 18 years. She began at minimum wage but now earns more than I do on an hourly basis. I make more, simply because I work more hours. I've had several employees over the years who quit or were fired after a day or two. It goes something like this. I need a person and hire someone. That first day, they're pretty lost, they have no idea where stuff is or where it goes. Someone is basically holding their hand. The second day, they come in an hour late, reeking of alcohol. I send them home as quickly as I can. The third day they don't show up at all. Now whatever money I have paid them, it's wasted.

I take note that chootspa inserted a comment above. I mention this because he is a frequent commentator in the areas of high tech., specifically the need for more jobs in that area. He's also frequently commented about education, again, the need for a greater financial commitment. Those things sound good, but I feel strongly that the people I'm hiring are people those industries wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole. People in my industry are taking chances with people with the most marginal of skills. Skills like showing up, properly dressed, not smelling of booze, cigarettes and pot. Really, the most marginal of skills.

I'm willing to take a chance at a certain pay level and not at another. And since high tech isn't willing to take a chance on these people, since education isn't willing to hire them either, who will? Go back to Pitts' original employee. Suppose McDonalds goes out of business right now. Who would hire that person and for what job would they be hired? We strongly suspect a very limited skill set. I strongly suspect a person with little if any motivation. If you worked in high tech or was a school administrator, would you hire this person and if so, for what position? Maybe a janitor at a school. But of course, now you're talking about a position in a business that doesn't have to concern itself with trivial things like making a profit and staying in business. Tell me, who will hire that person, if not people like me?

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jafs 1 year, 1 month ago

Your post seems not responsive to mine.

If people can't do the job, then you fire them. But, if they can, then they should make enough to live on, in my view, even at very unskilled jobs. Why? Because we want people to be able to support themselves, so that they have decent self-esteem, and so that we don't have to subsidize them through tax funded programs.

The problem of people who are unskilled and unmotivated isn't solved by paying adequate workers wages that are too low.

How would you solve it?

And, I note no response to the dd question. The dd population creates unique challenges, in that there are a number of people who want to work and contribute but are very limited in ability. On the other hand, they're well suited to unskilled jobs, and generally can't work much, otherwise they lose their benefits. So, they're perfect for part time unskilled work.

When doing "piece work", they are sometimes paid less than "normal" folks - there's a calculation - if they do half of the normal amount of work in an hour, they get half of the hourly pay. I'm not really sure how I feel about that - I understand why, but it feels a bit funny to me as well.

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 1 month ago

You're putting people into two basic categories, those that can do the job and should therefore be paid a certain amount and those who cannot do the job and should be fired. My real world problem is that when someone walks in and applies for the job, I have no idea which category to put them into. Because there's no category of "let's try them out at a lower level and if they work out, then I'll put them into a higher paying category", your proposal is that I assume they can do the job and therefore I need pay them accordingly. Despite the fact that that is often not the case at all. I assume all the risk. All I'm saying is that if you ask me to assume all the risk, don't be surprised if I don't. Again, I'll ask you, if I don't, who will? The high tech industry? Education? The government?

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jafs 1 year, 1 month ago

Employers generally make potential employees furnish tons of information, including references before they hire - do you not do that?

If not, then you're denying yourself the basic tools to minimize your risk.

And, you can't blame that on me, or the minimum wage laws.

There's always some risk left, of course, on both sides of the equation, and there's no way to completely eliminate it. But, it sounds from your previous posts that it's clear very quickly to you if/when people can't/won't do the job, so the risk is minimal.

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 1 month ago

No I don't do those things. Sorry, Jafs, but you're living in some land of theory and idealism. I live and work in the real world. It's the difference between a college professor teaching a student how to run a business and a real person running a real business. They look nothing alike. It's simply not reasonable to expect me to run a background check including references, previous employers, etc., for a dishwashing job. Teacher -yes. Bus person - no. CEO- yes. Line cook - no. Land of theory - yes. Real world - no.

Just let me expand on that a little more. Wait staff receive tips. Does anyone really believe they claim every penny of that? Frankly, I doubt it, but unless I intrude into their personal finances, I'll never really know. I do know they tip out the bus people. I also know every employee gets a free meal each shift. These are common industry practices. How much does each bus person get? Well, that's up to the wait staff, but I can assure you, it won't be counted when you ask if that person is making a minimum wage or not, the reason being it's done in cash. What's the value of the meal? Well, it depends what they feel like eating that day, I suppose. But it won't be counted either.

While you think the risk is minimal, the risk is all mine. Unless you count the risk if I don't hire them. Then the risk will be yours, as you'll be paying for them to be on unemployment, welfare, subsidized housing, food stamps, etc. Are you willing to pay the extra taxes? If so, the cut the state a check today, right now. But if you don't write that check today, then you're no more willing to assume additional risks than I am. I won't ask you to cut that check if you don't ask me to assume unreasonable additional risks. Deal?

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jafs 1 year, 1 month ago

Then you're assuming a higher risk because of your choices. That's your right, of course, but it's also your responsibility. If you want to minimize your risk, then you can make different choices.

Your comments about tips are correct - it's a funky way of doing business. I'd probably prefer if people were simply paid wages, like Ingredient does.

We pay the taxes to deal with folks who can't make enough money to live on already - that's our decision as a society, rather than just letting them die off.

And, we pay taxes that subsidize businesses not paying enough wages to live on, like Wal Mart, etc. I'd prefer that businesses pay employees a decent minimum wage instead.

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 1 month ago

Seems to me you want things both ways, Jafs. Suppose there is a person living at the shelter. He's been there 2 weeks, having spent the previous 30 days in jail. He was there because he had a couple of public intoxicated charges and failed to meet the conditions of probation, namely he didn't attend AA meetings. In fact, this guy has been on the fringes ever since he dropped out of high school. Obviously we all want someone to hire this person, give him a chance. You stated that you don't want to have to pick up the costs when people don't earn enough to sustain themselves, like at Wal-Mart. I stated and you didn't disagree with me that industries like education, high tech won't be hiring people like that. But if I do hire someone like that, it's essentially for the good of the public, as opposed to him remaining unemployed forever. Despite the fact that it's in the overall best interests of the public, you want me to assume all the risk, you want to increase that risk, and then suggest that if I do go out on a limb and hire him, it's my choice. That's a very interesting way to look at things.

Think back to grammar school days, Jafs. Think when people asked the kids what they wanted to be when they grew up. Maybe one boy wanted to be an astronaut or a girl wanted to be a princess. As they got a little older, maybe doctor or nurse, teacher or policeman. No one, ever, ever, said they wanted to be a dishwasher. No one ever said they wanted to bus tables for a living. The people doing that are largely a group of people who have either failed to live up to their previous expectations or they are too young to have done so. I've never had a Ph.D. apply for a job at my place. Never had a doctor, nurse or astronaut. I have had people come from the shelter. I have had people come from jail or rehab. No, Jafs, I don't ask for tons of things like references or former employers. It's not a choice as much as it is a recognition of what my business is and what position I'm hiring for. Quite frankly, I wouldn't know how to react if a Ph.D. came in and handed over a solid resume with references, previous places of employment, letters of recommendation, etc. What you suggest is a choice is simply so far out from the mainstream of the industry standards that, again, it reflects more your lack of real world experience than it does a realistic expectation.

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chootspa 1 year, 1 month ago

I had fast food jobs call to check my references back when I was working my way through college. If you don't bother to do so, you can't complain that you're surprised when you end up hiring deadbeats. It doesn't take more than a phone call or two to verify that someone worked the last place they listed for the length of time they listed.

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 1 month ago

Let's suppose I did that, and avoided the pitfalls of hiring deadbeats. Who do you propose should hire those people? And what should be the minimum wage for deadbeats anyway?

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chootspa 1 year, 1 month ago

Is your business a charity designed for rehabilitation? If it isn't, I suggest you check references.

The minimum wage for deadbeats, btw, is the same minimum wage as it is for everyone else.

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 1 month ago

Chootspa, Jafs, - There are benefits and pitfalls both for checking references and not. If I need someone, like, right now, like I had two people not show up today and dishes are backing up in the kitchen right now, checking references won't help me right now. Of course, that increases the likelihood that I'll hire more employees that will prove to be unsuitable in the long run.

I know minimum wage is the same for deadbeats as it is for non-deadbeats. I asked what it should be. The point of my long conversations with Jafs is that while deadbeats, as you describe them, are out there, it's not just in my interest to hire them, with the hope they'll change things around in their lives, but it's in society's best interests that someone hire them. The alternative is that they languish on unemployment, welfare, food stamps, subsidized housing, or they become involved in crime. Someone has to take a chance on them. I'm willing, if the price is right. I'm not if the minimum wage goes too high.

If not me, chootspa, Jafs, who? Certainly not the high tech industry, not education, not those working with at-risk populations. If not me, who?

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tomatogrower 1 year, 1 month ago

jhawkinsf, After they have proved their reliability do you still continue to pay them very little? Do you reward your good workers? Don't they still have to receive subsidized housing and food stamps? Aren't they still tempted to turn to crime, when they don't have enough money to live on?

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 1 month ago

I've said many times that I have employees who have been with me for years who actually make more on an hourly basis than I do. I believe my highest paid employee gets something like $18/hr. So in answer to your question, yes I reward good workers.

My problem with the proposals at hand is that I will be forced to pay a higher wage before I have made the determination of whether or not they will be an asset to my business. In turn, that will cause me to be very selective as to who I hire. Now, I take chances with people almost no one else will try. Let's face it, I'm hiring dishwashers and bus people, not doctors and astronauts. If people like me, those hiring at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder don't hire them, who will?

Are my employees on any form of government assistance? I'm not sure, but it wouldn't surprise me if some are. But here's the problem. Suppose I have two employees, doing the same work. One is a single mother, her ex is a deadbeat dad. The other is a 17 year old high school senior. Given the skills necessary to do the job for which I've hired them, and given the industry norms, the single mother might qualify for assistance while the 17 year old would not. Should I pay them according to their relative needs, despite that meaning I would be paying different wages for the same job? Something about that sounds patently unfair. Or should I stay out of their personal lives and just pay them according to their value to the business, conforming to things like applicable wage laws and industry standards? I've chosen the latter approach, which means I cannot answer your question definitively.

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Richard07 1 year, 1 month ago

I agree. I have been a worker, supervisor, manager , GM and corporate VP in my 40 plus years of working and no manager worth his weight in salt hires someone who has reached his/her highest level of competency upon being hired. The bigger question is "Why was this person hired in the first place?"

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Stain 1 year, 1 month ago

You forgot that the economy was completely destroyed in 2007-2008. If you entered the work force before then, you were lucky. You cannot compare your experience to that of people coming of age in this economy.

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Stain 1 year, 1 month ago

You assume everyone working at McDonald's at minimum wage does not have any skills they are not using at their job. That is simply not true.

Once upon a time an employer gave a raise for working extra hard, for doing an extra good job, for getting better or faster at the job over time, or for longevity.

We both know an employee who has been there for a year and knows the system inside and out and has encountered many dicey situations that will occur again, contributes more than the employee who has been there for a month - all other things being equal.

Bottom line: I do not like to give money to employers who exploit people to squeeze out a little more profit when the company is already getting rich. So I won't eat at McDonald's.

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Stain 1 year, 1 month ago

Try living on that, Mr. Pheps.

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Stain 1 year, 1 month ago

Minimum wage was worth nearly $11 in the 1960s. This is the problem. Minimum wage has not kept up.

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Stain 1 year, 1 month ago

You are only proving how horrible the system has become. This is what the "trickle down" theory has done to our economy. Trickle down does not work.

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tomatogrower 1 year, 1 month ago

Corporate profits are up. When are they going to trickle down?

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 1 month ago

More than half of Americans are invested in the market, either directly or through pension plans, etc. So they are trickling down to that half.

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kochmoney 1 year, 1 month ago

If more than half of workers were employed in employee-owned companies, you might have a point.

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 1 month ago

Perhaps you'd be more happy if all corporations simply shared their wealth equally with all people, whether they invested in the company or not.

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kochmoney 1 year, 1 month ago

Strawmaning again. I'd be happy if corporations in general shared a larger portion of their success with the workers who made that success possible. Nowhere in that sentence did "equal" appear, nor did "all people."

I've got investments in the stock market. The only "working" I did to make them successful was to click a few times on a computer screen. Sure, I worked for the money in the first place, but that's only because I had the bad luck to not be born with a large inheritance. Technically I'm risking that money, but statistically it's not really that big of a risk. You take far bigger risks and make much bigger investments in your small business, and that's the sort of investment and risk we should be rewarding over my click, click, clicking.

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Seth Peterson 1 year, 1 month ago

And people who are starving would love bread, but that doesn't mean a diet of bread should be the standard which all should live by.

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Stain 1 year, 1 month ago

So the economy stinks so badly that people are desperate.

That does not mean it is justified that the minimum wage is nearly $4 a hour less in current dollars than it was in the 1960s.

Poverty in the working class is part of what is holding back the recovery.

Raising the minimum wage immediately to $10 would be the biggest boost to the recovery that could possibly happen.

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tomatogrower 1 year, 1 month ago

Everyone here is missing the point of the whole story. The budget that was put out by people who have plenty of money was totally unrealistic and quite insulting. The way the working poor are treated is just low life nastiness at it's worse. They are called lazy and pitiful for working so called "low class" jobs. Yet you patronize these places and someone has to flip those burgers for you. Why shouldn't they be allowed to have the basics of life? I just get so disgusted that someone who is working hard for a living, first of all, doesn't earn enough for basics, and secondly also has to put up with arrogant, rude people who look down on them, because they didn't choose to get an MBA. If all these people would just disappear, you would have a hard time functioning without them. If McDonalds didn't have workers, they would fail. Are customers just going to go in and cook their own meal? Is the CEO going to man the register? I don't think so. McDonalds or any other business would be nothing without it's workers, and someday those workers are going to wake up and quit listening to the "pity the billionaire" rhetoric and say enough is enough. Of course, if you keep them working 2 jobs just to eat, then I guess they just won't have time to unite, will they?

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ridikkulus 1 year, 1 month ago

The job market for MBAs isn't that great right now, either. I know three people with that particular degree who are all unemployed.

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Stain 1 year, 1 month ago

Net income for McDonald's was $1.4 billion last quarter.

They could pay a little more and still make a fortune. Think of how much that wage increase would cycle right back into their industry.

Poor people have to spend every penny they earn. A wage increase is pure stimulus for the economy.

7

Liberty275 1 year, 1 month ago

If $8.25/hour isn't enough money, stop going to that job and go find one that pays $25/hr.

0

tomatogrower 1 year, 1 month ago

And this is why the corporations will make sure unemployment remains high, so there aren't enough $25/hr jobs, and they can keep paying lousy wages, because people are desperate for money. Why do you look down on the people who serve you in restaurants or ring up your groceries? They aren't on welfare. They are working. Anyone who works for a living and works hard should at least earn a living wage.

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Liberty275 1 year, 1 month ago

So create some $25.hour jobs. You have some money, do the community a favor.

Unless you only want someone else to create the $25/hr jobs. If that's the case, go back to bed, have a nice nap.

"Why do you look down on the people who serve you in restaurants or ring up your groceries?"

I don't look down on anyone. I have a skillset the people you mention can't really even comprehend. The waiter or the checker are good people, and if they could do what I can do, on demand, time after time, they'd make the same money I do.

0

Katie Dennis 1 year, 1 month ago

Some of the "waiters" or "checkers" went to college and have degrees and probably CAN DO what you do, but there aren't jobs in that field anymore, so they take whatever they can get. They have monstrous student loan debt and live way below the poverty line with an education that ten or fifteen years ago would have guaranteed them a job. You work 7 days a week, 2 jobs and you still can't make ends meet. There's something terribly wrong with that. I work with several people with Masters degrees who are "checkers." Check yourself before you talk about an experience that you've clearly never had.

5

Liberty275 1 year, 1 month ago

"have degrees and probably CAN DO what you do"

Nah. My boss can't even do my job. That;s why he gives me money to do it.

0

fiddleback 1 year, 1 month ago

How nice for you; I should have known the resident libertarian was a technocrat. Let me guess-- computer science? Binary logic has reaped huge benefits for society, but in assessing human systems is addictively reductionist and self-serving. Maybe some day you can climb out of that Randian rabbit hole...

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Liberty275 1 year, 1 month ago

I did Linux admin work for a few years. The easy money for that dried up in 2002. I still work with computers but in an off-hand way. Good guess though.

As for my Randian hole, I sort of like it. I wouldn't trade it for a marxist hole or a reagan hole. Hopefully you are happy in whatever hole you are in.

0

Tomato 1 year, 1 month ago

Ah, the old myth of the highly educated but chronically unemployed. Anyone with a degree (any degree, even a Masters in Fine Arts) could get a position at McDonalds and probably rack up a promotion each year. There are many opportunities for advancement in a corporation like McDonalds for people with degrees.

But hey, you work with SEVERAL (more than three!) people with Masters degrees who have to work as checkers (and you forgot to mention it - but I assume you meant to say no hope for advancement). Well, guess what - I worked as a checker at a grocery store in high school along with SEVERAL other high school students and one of them stayed there instead of going to college and she became a manager.

So there's hope for all your fellow employees with Masters degrees.

0

Stain 1 year, 1 month ago

Most of those jobs went to China or India.

0

Tomato 1 year, 1 month ago

Well, personally, I could live off $2000 take home a month if I were single or if I were provided with free or low-cost childcare (one child). But $20 a month of health insurance is laughable. It's like they left a 0 off that and missed the typo. Still, there is room left in the budget for a realistic health insurance premium, food, water, clothing, etc.

Yes, it would be difficult to raise a family on $2000 a month take home. That said, a family of four on that income would qualify for assistance in Kansas.

But it's not that the Mcbudget is unreasonable - it's that it's unreasonable to expect to raise a family on $2000 per month.

It's unreasonable to expect that McDonalds is going to pay you enough to cover anything beyond the bare necessities. In a sense, it is a living wage - you can survive on that wage.

A lifelong career at McDonalds, making $8.25 an hour is no one's dream. Nor should it be. It's not McDonalds' job to give people a good life.

0

tomatogrower 1 year, 1 month ago

If you are single with no children who are young enough to need daycare, yes. one could live on $2000/month, but not really own a car. And remember, this budget was working 2 jobs. Also, $2000/month take home pay at minimum wage means these people are working a whole lot more than 40 hours per week. Let's just figure this into a 4 week period. 2,000 divided by 4 means they bring home 500/week. Divide that 500 by say $9.00/hr and you have more than 55 hours per week. And that's if you are figuring the $2000 as the gross pay, which wasn't the proposed budget. Believe it or not Social Security and federal and state taxes are deducted from their paychecks, despite rumors to the contrary. Which means their gross pay is even more, which means they would have to work 60-70 hr/week at $9/hr to take home $2000/month. Do the math.

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Tomato 1 year, 1 month ago

And? What's your point? That it sucks to work 60 hours a week?

Ok. Agreed.

And?

Again, it's not up to McDonalds to give people a good life. Working hourly at McDonalds is not a good job. The reason that it's not a good job is that anyone can do it. 16 year old kids getting their first job go one of two places: fast food or grocery store. It requires no education, no skills. There's a reason people caution their kids, "If you don't apply yourself at school, you'll end up flipping burgers!"

Again, it's not that the McBudget is unreasonable - expecting McDonalds to give you a good life is what's unreasonable. If a 16 year old kid can do your job, then it's not reasonable to expect it to pay well.

0

tomatogrower 1 year, 1 month ago

What I'm saying is the whole budget that they put out doesn't exist on minimum wage pay. It is bogus. And businesses did quite well years ago, when the ratio between the lowest paid worker and management was a whole lot less than it is now.

3

Katie Dennis 1 year, 1 month ago

no kidding! My pre-tax paycheck is close to 600, but I pay so much in taxes and for health insurance through my job that's it's nearly cut in half.

1

Armored_One 1 year, 1 month ago

We make a house payment, car payment, insurance on multiple vehicles, all utilities, food, clothes AND can still splurge more than once or twice a paycheck.

All on under 1700 a month pretax.

Having the ability actually do math, not just on a calculator, but in your head and recalling those numbers when you need to so you can make sure you aren't over extending yourself in one direction or another is the key.

Cell phones are not a necessity, but how many people refuse to do without one? Cable, Internet and home phone service at Wow, or whatever it is called these days, starts at 70 bucks. Divide that by 3 then try to find an unlimited phone service that costs that much for a cell phone.

There is more to living than money. Not everything is needed, regardless of what you might think.

Oh, and those splurges. The most recent one was a string of pearls for my wife and a pair of pearl earrings for my daughter for her next birthday when she gets to have her ears pierced. Mickey D's cheeseburgers is not splurging.

Live within your means, not within your dreams.

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tomatogrower 1 year, 1 month ago

When you said we, I assume you are talking about a partner. How many hours per week do you work? So you have kids and day care? If you look at the budget proposed the cost of phone and cable were kind of low, I think. Do you just make minimum wage? This McBudget was calculated on 2,060/month take home pay. That means the person is making much more than minimum wage or working many more than 40 hours per week.

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Armored_One 1 year, 1 month ago

Doesn't matter if the person is working seven jobs, one per day. The end total is still the end total. If it can be done for under 1700, then why is it horrendous at 2000? My kids are all school aged. Technically you don't need cable. for under 600 bucks, which can be done at tax time, you can have a fully functional cell phone with a full year's service from straight talk through Walmart, including unlimited text, data and phone. Buy a 30 dollar phone and that cures that. Frees up 45 bucks a month you aren't paying in phone bills.

You can have internet service without cable television. The low end of that in Lawrence is around 60 bucks, I think, but I could be wrong. Been a while since I last looked at my bill. As I said, the cable company offers a phone/cable/internet bundle starting at 70 bucks, which is not a bad deal, all told.

There are ways to manage it, without little to no true 'sacrifice'.

The question isn't is it feasible.

The question is how high on the hog do you want to live.

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ridikkulus 1 year, 1 month ago

Something about your story is fishy. Either you got quite a break on the cost of your property, or someone is making the payment for you, or you have the entire family crammed into a one-room, modular something-or-other. I have not seen a single, livable property in this town for less than 100,000 that has two or more bedrooms. Or you don't pay for groceries, or you don't actually drive the vehicles you claim to have. It's also a possibility that you run a business out of your home, and your net profit is 1700/mo. There is NO way I would believe that you can live decently in Lawrence on 1700 per month, with the same expenses as anyone else with children, and not be receiving some kind of assistance. (Of course, we ALL know "that guy": The one who ALWAYS knows someone, or is the someone who tells tall tales to invalidate anyone's hardship or victory. You have a headache, he has a brain tumor. You found twenty bucks on the ground, he won the lottery last week...)

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ridikkulus 1 year, 1 month ago

Most daycare costs more than half of what you claim your income is, as well.

1

Katie Dennis 1 year, 1 month ago

do you have health insurance, do you pay much in taxes? do you have medication that you have to take that isn't generic or over the counter, do you have student loans? do you have hospital bills? do you save money!?

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Armored_One 1 year, 1 month ago

Student loans - yes.

Hospital bills - more than I ever wanted to have.

Health insurance - through the wife's employer.

Save money - not vast sums every payday, but yes.

Medication - Chantix to quit smoking. Costs me about 150 bucks a month. Not covered at all by the insurance.

Full taxes, stock option buy in, plus additional held out for federal.

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pizzapete 1 year, 1 month ago

I wish we could click on a closed comment and see what it said. Sometimes people respond to them and then their comments don't make sense because what they're commenting on is missing. Other sites have comments closed because of content, but you can click and open them up so you can at least see what was said.

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Armored_One 1 year, 1 month ago

As to Mickey D's increasing worker pay...

There are roughly 14,000 Mickey D's in the US. If each one employs only 10 people, that is 140,000 people. A one dollar raise, per hour, means 140,000 per hour, or over one million dollars per work day. 10 work period would be 10 million dollars total per pay period. 260 million per year, give or take a couple million.

But they don't employ just 10 people. Most employ twice that number. Over half a billion dollars at that point. 30 people per store closes in on three quarters of a billion dollars. 1.4 billion a quarter is 5.6 billion, if my math is correct. That leaves 4.85 billion. A hefty total still. Until you stop and realize that that drop constitutes almost fifteen percent. 15%. And that is just one dollar.

Multiple things have to change, not just the pay for working stiffs. Costs of things need to decrease across the board for something like that to even be feasible. But it won't. Prices will rise to offset the 'losses'.

Do the math and find out what the end total would be for 30 employees at 14,000 Mickey D's getting a 2 dollar an hour raise. Then calculate that for 11 bucks an hour. If you don't think prices will rise at that point, you need a refresher course in logic.

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tomatogrower 1 year, 1 month ago

But then you need to calculate how many burgers and fries are sold. Are people going to stop coming to McD's if their burgers cost 10 cents more? I generally don't eat there anyway, since I no longer have children. I actually pay a whole lot more when I want a burger, because I want a really good one. But will they lose business if the fries cost a nickel more? I don't think so. Their food is pretty cheap already. When Papa Johns Pizza owner said he was gong to cut people's hours if he had to provide them with health insurance, it was calculated that he would just have to charge 10 cents more a pizza to provide this health care. Would you really not buy the pizza if it costs you 10 cents more? Really?

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tomatogrower 1 year, 1 month ago

Business Insider says McDonald's sells 75 hamburgers per second. If this is true, then by raising the price by 10 cents they could earn an extra $27, 000 per hour. Now this alone wouldn't pay for a dollar/ hour raise, but they sell more than hamburgers. Plus, would it hurt for the investors to take a few dollars less in profit?

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Armored_One 1 year, 1 month ago

Let's figure a 10 cent raise and everyone buys a burger, fries and a drink.

To shorten the post, 27,000 * 3 = 81,000 per hour. In the above post, I stated 10 employees would be 140,000 per hour. 59 grand gap. Pop that up to the 30 employee mark, and that is a 170,000+ gap, and it only grows bigger every hour.

Yes, I know that is beyond a simplistic work out on the numbers, but one thing can be assured. The dollar menu is no longer a dollar, most likely, more like $1.50 menu. Not as catchy and probably a bit less interesting to the average consumer.

As I said, multiple things need to change, not just minimum wage. Yes, raising it would be nice, but there needs to be a return to governmental regulation of prices. Without it, every cent of that pay increase will go back to them in terms of higher prices. And while higher prices at Mickey D's doesn't sound bad, there's a catch.

How is all this barely raised in price stuff transported? I don't see fleets of solar powered tractor trailers out there on the highways. We've seen what Big Oil does when it's faced with anything even approaching a cut in pay. I highly doubt they will just take one for the team, unless the government steps in, smacks them down and tells them to stop monkeying around with stuff.

Seems to me that back in the late 70's and early 80s, when there was still regulation being enforced by the government, everyone seemed to fare a bit better, but I was a kid back then, so maybe I have it all wrong.

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Trumbull 1 year, 1 month ago

The older I get, the more bad I think our whole set-up is. Everything is about growing, increasing profits, etc. In the end it is all about chasing after the green dollar. I see good companies that could sustain and make a profit year after year. But even small profits are not good enough for the board of directors and shareholders. So they get off course just so they can artificially double the stock price. Then a few years later they declare bankruptcy.

So I guess the McDonalds budget is where we are at. Any talk of improving worker benefits or health care just might get you labeled a socialist or liberal or worse. I think we are living in a time of nonsense and misplaced values.

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pizzapete 1 year, 1 month ago

Our local developers telling us their apartment and hotel building wouldn't be profitable enough if we didn't give them their own special tax district and tax abatements for 20 years, come to mind.

3

jafs 1 year, 1 month ago

Costco manages to pay well, provide benefits, and be quite successful.

Salaries for non supervisory positions start at $11/hr. 85% of their employees have health insurance (the employee premiums are less than 10% of the overall cost of the insurance). They provide a variety of decent goods at affordable prices. The CEO makes $650K/yr (less than other CEO's, but still a lot of money). They did well during the recession. Their stock has doubled in value since 2009. Oh also, they have a matching 401K retirement plan.

Whatever they're doing, we should find out and apply it to other businesses - sounds to me like everybody wins with their set-up, which is what we should want.

Does anybody know how they do it, and whether or not it could be applied to other kinds of businesses?

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Trumbull 1 year, 1 month ago

The employee component of a business model. This is something taught in business management from what I remember. Seems that we are getting away from this more and more these days. Less loyalty from management = less loyalty from employees = poor business model....and hidden costs that are hard to measure. Bravo for Costco and other companies who still get this.

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jafs 1 year, 1 month ago

Thanks.

You can buy from their online store without being a member, and just pay an extra 5%.

The annual membership is only about $50-60. I would imagine that they could just mark up their prices by a little bit to make up for not using that model, and other companies could do that as well.

Also, I wonder if other businesses could use the membership model, combined with different pricing for non-members. Given the great benefits of their business model, perhaps people would be interested in supporting that in other businesses.

2

Mike Ford 1 year, 1 month ago

thank Reagan and the people written about in what's the matter with Kansas for continuing to vote for people in the gop who hurt everyone and make people stay in an economic feudal system and who are supported with lobby $.

4

ChuckFInster 1 year, 1 month ago

At last check this was still the land of the free. The only one holding you back is you.

0

George_Braziller 1 year, 1 month ago

The lack of jobs might have something to do with it.

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Stain 1 year, 1 month ago

It's not the land of the American dream anymore. The American dream is that anyone who wants to work hard and try their best can improve their status. That is no longer true.

1

Armored_One 1 year, 1 month ago

It's still entirely doable. The path isn't straight and the scenery sucks at times, but it can be done.

0

Larry Sturm 1 year, 1 month ago

They don't need food they steal it from McDonalds while they are working that $8.25 per hr , then that old junker car they bought is an old diesel and they run it on FF oil.

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Mike Ford 1 year, 1 month ago

no chuckfinster you also believe the lie. no one is holding me back as I've been employed for 16 years. people like you hold others back by voting for job haters like the gop. I wish we were all eligible for corporate welfare and tifs and tax abatements that their lobbyists get. if these people get their way any more there will be twelve year olds working and the minimum wage will be $5.00 an hour. Pick up the century old argument against everything that's good and blame the people you shove in the hamster wheel.

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ChuckFInster 1 year, 1 month ago

Wow, who can argue with that logic. We all know machinery and factories are made and run all by themselves and require no skilled or unskilled labor. Furthermore we all know machines and factories never need upkeep and or maintenance. Factories and companies are all on an even playing field therefore nobody wants to gain a competitive edge through refining manufacturing processes, redesigning product or creating value the other guy doesn't offer. No the competition wouldn't want to hire individuals such as that because everything is equal and fairYes Tusch, we have all been replaced by machines and "the man" has his foot on out throats.

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Seth Peterson 1 year, 1 month ago

hahahahahahaahahaha

I wonder what it would be like to try to live in your world, with a helmet on all the time.

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Armored_One 1 year, 1 month ago

We've been so busy, keeping up with the Jones'. Four car garage and we're still building on. Maybe it's time we got back to the basics of life.

Yeah, I changed the last word. The rest is the vast majority of the issue. It's almost against the law to be content with what you have these days.

1

Liberty275 1 year, 1 month ago

Too many people are ruled by envy for them to ever be content.

0

Armored_One 1 year, 1 month ago

I'll never fathom it, Liberty. Was listening to music last night and Waylon came on just as I was loading the World to see if anything interesting was going on around here.

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tomatogrower 1 year, 1 month ago

Is it envy to want a roof over your head, to own a car, and to eat something that isn't canned? Aren't those "basics"? Some people just want basics, but you can't get at minimum wage.

5

jhawkinsf 1 year, 1 month ago

It depends on several factors. In many very expensive communities around the country, having a roof over your head means you're living with multiple roommates. It might seem odd for adults to live like that, at least here. But go to some communities and it's very common. Here in Lawrence, students living in shared housing is quite common, so if someone said that the cost of a two bedroom apt. is "X", that might have less relevance here than in some other community. Cars, also. In places like N.Y., S.F., etc., cars are very much a luxury. Many living in those communities can go their entire lives without ever owning a car and not being deprived. Again, here in Lawrence we have a unique (somewhat) group of people. Many are young. Many walk or ride bikes or ride public transportation. To them, a car might be less necessary and more luxury. The reverse would be true for a single parent of two small children. So it all depends. (I'll leave the canned foods argument alone. I see the waistlines of many and can't figure out what they're eating or why they're eating it.)

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tomatogrower 1 year, 1 month ago

I have lived with roommates too, and I know a lot of people who still do. In fact, you might say that my husband is also my roommate, since we both pay the bills. I guess I just remember the good old days, when day care was inexpensive and cars were inexpensive. At the risk of sounding like my Dad, I remember the first, brand new car I ever bought was a Toyota Tercel in 1980, $3,000 - no radio or air conditioning, but there was a warranty, and it ran for well over 100,000 miles before I gave it to my daughter. I was a divorced single mother with almost no child support who earned about $9/hr. I know some people who would love to have $9/hr, but they would be lucky to find a really dependable used car for $3,000. I could rent a house for $300/month, but how many can barely afford this with multiple roommates? The price of utilities and gas have risen a lot faster than anyone's paycheck.
As far as poor people's waistlines are concerned, they eat a lot of carbs, because they are cheap and filling. Mac and cheese can fill you up, and make you gain weight more easily than lobster and shrimp. It isn't portion control that's their problem, it's the type of foods they eat. And the fact that many of them work 2 jobs, so they eat a lot of fast food from that dollar menu, or like the Dairy Queen's $5.00 lunch special. That allows you a quick meal at a very low price, but isn't exactly good for you.

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Stain 1 year, 1 month ago

Surely an educated person such as yourself understands that obesity is a disease of poverty.

Poor people eat bad food that makes them fat. Empty calories.

Lack of education is part of the problem. A bag of beans, a bag of cornmeal, and a few onions could feed a whole family for a couple of dinners and costs little. But this is the U.S. and we don't eat like that here, unfortunately.

1

Liberty275 1 year, 1 month ago

"Some people just want basics, but you can't get at minimum wage."

False. You can have them all, you just can't have the nice versions. I lived on far, far less than minimum wage while I did my last two years as an undergrad.

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Stain 1 year, 1 month ago

Yes and what year was that?????

Minimum wage was worth $11 in the 1960s.

People graduating from high school into the post-Bush economy have a far different challenge than you had.

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Liberty275 1 year, 1 month ago

88-90. Minimum wage was like 6 bucks. I lived off of what I could hustle working on cars under the table. Which was maybe $100/wk. I got a good break on rent because the manager was gay, and I can impersonate gay just well enough that I got 3 rooms for $200/month. I lived off ramen and mayonnaise sandwiches.

0

jafs 1 year, 1 month ago

So, even then the minimum wage was worth more, adjusted for inflation, than it is today.

And, you defrauded the government by working under the table and not paying taxes, and manipulated your landlord by pretending to be gay.

Hardly the sort of thing we really want to encourage, is it?

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Seth Peterson 1 year, 1 month ago

No, Liberty, you can't. That's the point.

1

Stain 1 year, 1 month ago

Today it was reported in that if McDonald's would DOUBLE worker wages it would add 63 cents to the cost of a Big Mac.

0

Armored_One 1 year, 1 month ago

I wonder if that report takes into account that the delivery drivers for Mickey D's are also members of their workforce...

I'm not sure what the drivers make these days, but I'm pretty sure it's paid by the mile, not the hour. Doubling 37 cents a mile, to pick a random number, doesn't sound like much. 74 cents. Not even three whole quarters. Until you stop and think that there is roughly 5-10 miles between the one on 6th street across from Taco Bell and the one out at 31st and Iowa. Every 100 miles is 74 bucks at that point, instead of 37 bucks. I won't speak for anyone else, but I notice a distinct difference in those two sums when it comes to my own pocket.

How many drivers do they have on the road at any given time? Don't they deserve a pay raise? How many miles are there between Denver and KC? Just going KC to Omaha is around 250 miles, give or take a few dozen. They can only drive for 10 hours a day, legally, last I knew.

10 hours * 70 mph (in theory) = 700 miles.

700 miles * .37 per mile = 259, or 518 is you double that pay rate. That is 500 bucks a day, per driver, pre tax.

I know all of this is offset with sales and what not, but there has to be a point where it gets noticeable in terms of profit loss due to higher pay.

Oh, and what that price increase of 63 cents JUST on the Big Mac, or would that be an increase across the board for all menu items? You aren't really giving us a lot to work with on this one, Stain.

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Stain 1 year, 1 month ago

"You aren't really giving us a lot to work with on this one, Stain."

I'm giving you what the article stated. I don't have the magical numbers to pull out of my butt for you.

A KU student named Arnobio Morelix did this study and the Huffington Post reported it. If it interests you why not research it yourself?

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Armored_One 1 year, 1 month ago

Forbes did a more in depth article on the concept, although it was still a bit thin on details as well.

Yes, I went and hunted down the article. Not sure I want to pay almost 5 bucks for a big mac. Also not sure an entry level job, that should never have been used as a career choice, should be paid 15 bucks. It requires no overt training or dedicated job skills. Trade skill jobs... yeah, those I fathom. Flipping burgers, scooping fries and punching buttons on a keypad are just not all that difficult.

I'm still advocating for a raise in minimum wage, but spiking it that far is just obnoxious on multiple levels.

0

tomatogrower 1 year, 1 month ago

I imagine that they pay their drivers quite well already, because there is a shortage of truck drivers in the US. This means they have to to compete for good drivers with wages and benefits. Unfortunately there is no shortage of basic workers, in fact, after the recession, some people who had really good jobs had to go work in fast food. Teenagers were suddenly competing for fast food jobs with older people. It is in the interest of corporations like McDonalds to keep unemployment high. That way they do not have to pay their workers much.

1

Stain 1 year, 1 month ago

I just read the median age of a McDonald's worker is 28.

0

Liberty275 1 year, 1 month ago

Maybe after Obama cuts corporate income tax, McDonalds can use some of the billions of dollars they save to come up with a more accurate budget.

"The New York Times reports that President Obama is reviving an old proposal to lower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 28 percent (and 25 percent for manufacturers). Obama's push to lower the corporate tax rate to 28 percent comes less than a year after he raised the top individual income tax rate, paid by many small businesses, to 39.6 percent."

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/obama-top-tax-rate-should-be-28-corporations-40-small-business_742312.html

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Steve Miller 1 year, 1 month ago

The fact of the matter is that fast food profits are based on cheap labor, such as teens, high school kids. Now that the economy is in the trash, adults are now forced to work there to have a job, no matter what the pay is. If they did give a substantual raise to everyone, i seriously doubt if youwould pay the difference in a burege, say $7.00 or what ever for a big mac.. Corporate greed is alive and well in the u.s.a. and will take full advantage of the economy no matter who it steps on or what ever it takes. What do you have to say about that ..

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Stain 1 year, 1 month ago

As I mentioned above the Huffington Post reported that a KU student made a study of the economics of DOUBLING every worker's wage at McDonald's without lowering their profits and concluded that it would add 68 cents to the cost of a Big Mac.

I say McDonald's splits that difference and sacrifices a bit of profit. Their profits are huge. Greed is going to destroy the goose that laid the golden egg: the workers and the masses of consumers at the low end of the economic scale who buy these corporations' profits.

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 1 month ago

I'm wondering about the unintended consequences of such actions. Yesterday, I was watching CNN as they were reporting protests by fast food workers across the nation. One of the things CNN mentioned was that places like McDonalds are considering their options should the minimum wage go up. One of the things mentioned was that they might eliminate whole categories of employees, lessening their workforce. Mentioned was the possibility of places devices like iPads on the counters for ordering, eliminating the need for the person taking your order. Also mentioned was Chili's, which has already eliminated the category of bus person, having the wait staff assume that role. Many stores now have self-checkout services, lessening the need for people to work the cash register. It's happening all the time, maybe it will happen even if the minimum wage isn't raised. I, for one, refuse to use the self-checkout at Dillons, Home Depot, etc. The point is this, large corporations are going to protect their large profits. Anyone who thinks McDonalds is going to simply pay their employers more and earn less profits is dreaming. Their profits will go up next year and the year after that.

0

jafs 1 year, 1 month ago

You present the argument for regulation of businesses quite well there.

1

jhawkinsf 1 year, 1 month ago

I've never argued for elimination of government regulations. I just think it should be measured. Too much regulation and you have something akin to the Soviet Union and we all know how that worked out. Too little will cause equally dire results.

That said, would you have government regulate things like the size of their workforce? Would you have government tell McDonalds that in response to a higher minimum wage they couldn't use iPads to take orders? Would you tell them they can't use technology to offset wage increases?

McDonalds might have a tough time off-shoring their operations. But I'd point out that there is a good argument that can be made that it was too much government regulations that caused much of our manufacturing capacities to move out of country, leading us to become a nation of burger flippers. (Okay, that's a bit of hyperbole, but it sounded good when it first came to mind).

I spoke of unintended consequences. I don't think it unreasonable for us to look at that possibility. I don't think it unreasonable for us to look at history as a guide.

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tomatogrower 1 year, 1 month ago

"That said, would you have government regulate things like the size of their workforce?" No, but if us taxpayers have to subsidize their workforce with public assistance, we should tax them higher. So if their employees receive food stamps, because they don't pay their workers enough, then they get to pay an extra tax. Places like WalMart and McDonalds bring very cheap products to us, but we all pay in the end for it, whether or not we shop there. At least those of us who aren't too poor to not pay taxes or so rich that we can hide our money in tax shelters. Those of us in the middle class will pay one way or another, either in more taxes to help the poor or higher prices. At least paying higher prices so the working poor can get a raise gives them more dignity, since so many people are quick to condemn someone using food stamps, or whatever they call the card they use now.

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 1 month ago

So you want to raise their taxes so we don't subsidize them. Fine. The problem is that there is already trillions of dollars sitting in offshore accounts because it's a way to avoid those higher taxes. Having those trillions just sitting there, rather than invested here is becoming a real problem for our economy. So unless you can close all those banking sanctuaries, and you can't, then your solution isn't a solution at all.

The problem is we don't live in a vacuum. As long as a Bangladeshi worker is willing to work for a dollar a day and we're willing to purchase those products, telling some American manufacturing plant that they have to pay a certain amount is pointless. If we really believed that McDonalds workers were underpaid, we could all pay a little more the next time we go there. Give 'em a twenty and tell them to keep the change. That ain't gonna happen either. The problem is our words tell one tale while our actions say something completely different. Yet we continue to blame ... them.

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jafs 1 year, 1 month ago

I would do whatever is necessary to ensure the goal.

Along the way, we certainly have to look at the possibility of unintended consequences, and do our best to minimize those.

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Liberty275 1 year, 1 month ago

If you think the economy is trashed now, wait until half the country is working 29.5 hours a week.

As for corporate greed, that's what you expect from an entity that exists to make money. Corporations don't really serve any other purpose.

Somebody here is calling for raising the price of big macs by 68 cents. That is flawed because if you go on ahead and make the #1 combo more than $7 in Lawrence, I'll just go to Runza as will others. In the end, McDonalds will pay 1/3rd of their employees more and fire the other 2/3rds. What is minimum wage for the unemployed?

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jafs 1 year, 1 month ago

The fact is that the minimum wage hasn't kept pace with inflation over the last 50 years or so.

That means that folks making that are being squeezed, and that we're almost certainly subsidizing that through various tax funded programs to help those people.

If one wants to have less government spending, one way to do that would be to ensure that businesses pay people enough to live on.

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tomatogrower 1 year, 1 month ago

Living wage, minimum wage!!! I think Mr. Pitts was mostly pointing out the really bad budget put together by people who do not have a clue how to live with little money. I was poor once, and know more about managing money than most people I know who grew up with money. I know how to think about what you are buying and to try and get a bargain. I don't have to worry so much anymore, but I see people earning less than what I did when I was eating a lot of mac and cheese suppers in the 70's and 80's, and I'm wondering if the mac and cheese has been replaced with ramen. They are paying a whole lot more for basic living than I did, but earning less.

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Alceste 1 year, 1 month ago

Who troubled to view this laughable idiocy? http://www.practicalmoneyskills.com/mcdonalds/budgetJournal/budgetJournal.php

They even have a program for workers to be able to purchase McDonald's stock! hahahahahahahahhahahhaha

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