Monday, August 05, 2013

McPoor, Inc.

Calhoun's Can(n)ons for August 5, 2013

How much extra would you be willing to pay for a Big Mac if that extra amount got the person handing you your burger above the Federal poverty level income?

That's the question The Daily Beast asked on their website and they installed a McPoverty Calculator that lets you try out the number of pennies needed to accomplish that feat.  ( )

It's a timely question since many of McDonald's and other fast food workers from KFC and Burger King are staging protest strikes in several cities around the country and Congress is being urged to raise the minimum wage, which the Census Bureau sets at $23,000 for a family of four.

Naturally, McDonald's, which made $5 billion in profits this year, cried poor and declared that if their workers got a pay raise, they'd go broke and have to shutter their restaurants and throw people out of work. They even went to far as to partner with Visa on a website with what they must have thought was a helpful line-item budget for their  poverty-wage workers.  Their helpful advice was to get a second job, spend $0 for heating and pay $600 for rent.  All of which gave comedians a field day and caused a good many people to blow their McCoffee through their noses at McDonald's arrogant, clueless Marie Antoinette presumptions. ($600 for rent?  In New York City?  Really?)

Meanwhile, the usual suspects showed up:  Conservative Talking Point Pols declared that these minimum wages are just fine for these kinds of jobs since they're being held by teenagers earning extra money for school. This was followed by Bleeding Heart Liberals pointing out that the average fast-food worker is 29 years-old and many of those have families to feed. Then the discussion degenerated into the usual contemptuous rant about "moochers" who shouldn't have kids they can't support. All followed by  conservatives' favorite false narrative about "job creators, " a narrative that fails to understand that the wealthy CEO of McDonald's isn't the job creator, the minimum-wage worker with a few extra coins in his jeans is the real job creator, since he doesn't park his money in offshore accounts, he spends it on more goods and services, all of which drives our demand and supply economy.              

Also lost in the squabbling is the unmistakable fact that America has tragically shipped its well-paying jobs overseas, leaving it a low-wage service economy and turned itself into Detroit -- A hollowed out shell with the income disparity between the few haves and the many have-nots reaching historic and unsustainable limits. Even rapper Jay Z,  a man who knows something about vast wealth and income disparity, observed on Bill Maher's "Real Time" show, that he didn't want to scare the white folks, well, scare 'em just a little, but the racial and economic disparity in this country will ultimately lead to problems since you can crush people just so far and then you've got real trouble. A sentiment expressed by Voltaire 150 years ago when he aptly observed, "History is filled with the sound of silken slippers going downstairs and wooden shoes coming up." 

While fast food workers are wearing sneakers, not wooden shoes, the destabilizing stairway remains.  As does the Basic Question: What kind of society do We The People want to live in?  Detroit?  Or MiddleVille, USA, where a person working full time takes home a living wage that can support himself and his family. A place where society's wealth returns to the stabilizing middle, where honest workers, not Wall Street Gamblers, have real value and get the breaks. 

So what does it take to begin to create that decent society? That's the question The Daily Beast  asked: How much extra for a Big Mac are you willing to pay to ensure that the person handing you your food has a chance at a better life?  According to their McCalculator, it's twenty cents.

Twenty cents.


Mike Green said...

What does it take? Easy, stop buying that crappy overpriced almost poisonous swill. Bake some bread, go get some real cheese or roast your own Turkey and MAKE A SANDWICH. Take 15 minuets out of your day and pack a lunch. Start cooking your own dinner, go to the farmers market. Don't buy crap thats already processed. The answer is right there in front of us! Instead all we here is how can we support buying crap food AND give the workers at these swill troughs a raise. You want to give them a raise? Good, get them better paying jobs at restaurants that serve healthy food or at markets that sell local produce.

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

Yes, there are SO many better paying jobs at healthy food restaurants and markets that I am sure if only these employees knew that they would immediately fill all those empty spots!

mom said...

capitalism is what is wrong with this country.
it is an immoral system. it is based on a race to the bottom for workers and vast riches for those at the top.
worker owned businesses are the answer.

Ann Calhoun said...

Mike, good point (unstated in the piece is the reply, "I wouldn't pay anything for a Big Mac, let alone "more.") We have created a race-to-the-bottom society, for food as well as for jobs. And I don't see any sense that we know how to get out of this mess, even though it's killing all of us in so many ways.

As "Mom" points out, There are many ways to create a decent society, (worker-owned businesses, a tax structure that didn't screw the little guy, or favored productive work, not Wall Street gambling . We have the smarts, the tools to do it. Other countries (Finland and Denmark come to mind) have figured out ways to do it. But Americans can't, for some reason. Maybe eating too many Big Macs has addled our brains. Sad.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely Immoral

Yes, lets raise the miniumm wage to $56,000 per person per year!

and damit, do it now! Get on those soap boxes and demonstrate our outrage!

Oh, wait a minute, how many companies in the good old USA remain in business?

If you don't like McD's then go to some other restaurant, just quit belly aching for the way McD's does business. Or go the liberal way and legislate higher minium wages and do it in a Presidential election year! Anyone ready for higher taxes for the unemployment too? Bet Nancy Pelosi would just love that.

Sandra Gore said...

Interesting that Australia has minimum wage at about twice that of the US. Their economy seems to be doing just fine. The old supply and demand economics theory works fairly well when people can afford to live and spend.

Anonymous said...

Why haven't you moved to Australia?

Ann Calhoun said...

Real people, with real names, made some interesting, valid comments (above.) Then along comes an "anonymous," who just comes off as silly.

Question: Does being "anonymous" on a blog comment section suddenly transform one into a dunce or is one already a dunce and so one has to hide behind being an "anonymous" so nobody will know who they are and just how duncey they really are and snicker and point them out to their children at the supermarket by saying, "Now children, you don't want to grow up to be THAT guy."

Anonymous said...

Ann Calhoun has always been a dunce, and she's been anonymous in the community for years. Join the club, bitch.

Alon Perlman said...

When the dust settles most Los Ossans will barely notice that a new Mickey-D will have popped up ubiquitous like Veldt grass. It will be as if it always was there. Sylvester's may get choked out, perhaps not.

As for the anonymous, their real life is virtual. Unlike alcohol intoxication they truly are here who they are. In public they hide behind a facade. A grimacing cardboard cutout they trot before themselves.

The cattle, calmly silent, take it all into the darkness of green eyes. Their minds roll their thoughts lugubriously, like slowly churning clods of cud.

Anonymous said...

The only honest comparison between McD's and Sylvester's will be whether customers will vote their wallets or their taste buds.

I suspect that no one has to force anyone to actually work at McD's for whatever wage is offered.

This blog will have no effect one way or the other. Merely another soap box for the perpetually dissatisfied to complain from.

If Ann wants to shot off the anonymous posters, she has the administrative authority to do so. Since she hasn't for these several years, it can only surmise she simply enjoys stirring the pot.

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

McD is only going for an MUP! Not much in the scheme of things. Was there a protest on the other chains? I heard there was one for Starbucks. But what about Ralphs (other than it being built by Edwards), Subway, Vons, Rite Aid? Were any turned away via these sorts of protests, or is this an exercise in futility?

Anyway, read an article in the July/August 2013 issue of The Atlantic entitled, "How Junk Food Can End Obesity." Really, we are where we are weight-wise in 2013, there is no turning back the clock. Fast food is where we will go to collectively reduce our collective blubber. Not bad guys with no conscience, MickeyD's. It is firmly and smartly tied to their bottom line.

Me personally, I have worked rotten jobs with minimum wage or worse (selling magazines on the phone on commission, now that REALLY sucked!). A 10¢ raise was the norm on one of my minimum wage jobs. It was depressing and awful, not the work, but the money - or lack thereof.

I do occasionally eat at McDonalds, especially while on the road. Love the food as I am a junk food junkie. Went through periods of student and hippie era starvation, so I'm not too picky. Calories, schmalories. Will pay more gladly. Wish we were going higher on the "precious" scale, like In'n'Out Burger! It won't impact my trips to Sylvester's though.

I am not perpetually dissatisfied, just love to blog Anon 7:42. You don't have to read here if you don't like it.

Anonymous said...

It's funny how she'll rant about the anonymous who she disagrees with and then she'll wither when she's challenged by people who use their real names.

Then the people who defend her are those who've once posted anonymously. The very same people who used to post anonymously had anonymous accounts because they've said terrible things and they didn't want to get caught.

They were caught, yet they stand by Ann and Ann stands by them.

Ann, you wonder why people complain about your blog and still comment? It's because people love trainwrecks, especially wrecks caused by hypocrites like you.

Ann Calhoun said...

Anonnymouse sez:"Ann, you wonder why people complain about your blog and still comment? It's because people love trainwrecks, especially wrecks caused by hypocrites like you."

Naw, I suspect there's a wierd addictive, rageaholic quality about anonnymice's NEED to repeatedly go to a blog they claim they hate or claim that bores them or is irrelevant, etc. and spend their precious time constantly checking in to read said blog and then comment, often repeatedly and most often in a high raging dudgeon -- ranting, really. All of which points to an addictive/compulsive behavior that's out of the anonnymice's control. Never good.

another anonnymouse sez:"This blog will have no effect one way or the other. Merely another soap box for the perpetually dissatisfied to complain from."

Complain, comment, discuss, inform, chat, converse, share, all of which is what blog comment sections are for. At least for "sane" folks. For less sane, it veers into something far different.

Alon, you are right. The "voice" that often shows up here behind the anonnymouse's face, is the real one. Eeuuuuuu, not good.

Anonymous said...

... says the "annonymouse" who used to post as "Churadogs."

By the way, you know that whole statement about the anonymous being rageaholics who feel compelled to repeat themselves on a blog they say they don't care about? Yeah, that one. You've repeated that cliche every time an anonymous shows up.

You use repetition to claim about repetition.

You're acting like a tool, but you're not actually one because tools have a purpose.

Anonymous said...

She lost her "purpose" long ago.

She could stop the sewer or the Water Board.

Now she is only an old woman with no cause to voice her personal opposition. So sad, too bad.

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

Anons 2:25, 11:09, 11:18:

And your opposition Anons? To a woman YOU describe as a purposeless tool, with no causes, a dunce you say?

Now WHY is it that YOU keep coming back? YOUR purpose, as it were? (Maybe you just want to put your idiocy on display for some reason?)

Ann Calhoun said...

Toonces sez: "Now WHY is it that YOU keep coming back? YOUR purpose, as it were? (Maybe you just want to put your idiocy on display for some reason?)

I don't think Mousey has a choice in the matter. I think he HAS to return again and again because he's my biggest FanBoy! Loves this blog. Can't get enough of it! It's really sweet.

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

Ha-ha-ha! You are exactly right Ann! A FanBoywith a Calhoun's Can(n)ons addiction!

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

This fanboy just can't help himself I guess and he sure provides some amusement to the rest of us. It is sweet!

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

Oops, blog comments on. Pardon duplications, stuff just disappears.......

Anonymous said...

Hi Ann,

Just an update: The story re: McDonald's wage calculator you linked in you post has since removed as the original publisher rescinded the story.

To find out why, go to

Churadogs said...

Blogger "improved" their site and now it doesn't work work diddleypoop. My repeated efforts to get them to fix what they messed up isn't working. Case in point, people commenting a few days after something's posted are blocked and right now I can't unblock them. Anyway, an anonymous emailed me to note that the Huff Post rescinded their numbers on the amount it would take to raise Mcdonald wages. Recalculation brought the amount up to $1.28 for a Big Mac, not 20 cents. The minimum wage discussion, however, remains valid and the question remains: How much are we willing to pay to create a decent society.

My thanks for the Anonnymous who sent me the info and link. And if you know how to kick Blogger in the butt, please do so. Maybe they'll fix this thing.