Tags: Visa

McDonald’s Math: You Can’t Survive Working for Us

This ridiculously condescending budget put out by McDonald’s in partnership with Visa has been making the rounds today. I’ll allow excerpts from the Gothamist article on it and their corresponding video do most of the explaining, but the key point I want to hammer into people is that food stamps are corporate welfare. They actually are not welfare for the workers themselves, who undoubtably don’t have wonderful lives. What ends up happening is that because the government comes in and supplements egregiously low wages with benefits like food stamps, the companies don’t have to pay living wages. So in effect, your tax money is being used to support corporate margins. Even better, many of these folks who get the food stamp benefits then turn around and spend them at the very companies which refuse to pay them decent wages. Who benefits? CEOs and shareholders. Who loses? Society.

I previously covered these topics in two popular posts:

Where Food Stamps Go to Die
The Stock Market: Food Stamps for the 1%

Guess what would happen if these companies failed to pay high enough wages and food stamps didn’t exist? There would be massive employee organizing and ultimately the companies would have to change tact. This of course doesn’t happen when the taxpayer makes up the difference, and that is exactly what they want. From Gawker:

Just in case you weren’t already aware of how difficult it is to survive on minimum wage, allow McDonald’s to lay it all out for you. The fast food giant has partnered with Visa to release a just-shy-of-condescending “budget journal” to help their employees manage their finances. In a hilariously obtuse budget breakdown, the Big Mac purveyor’s first piece of advice to employees: get a second job. Yup, even McDonald’s knows that workers can’t survive on the pittance they make flipping patties and fighting off customers.

MCDbudget

So tallying up all of these totally realistic expenses, a McDonald’s employee would need to net $2,060 per month to make this budget work. Broken down, that would mean working at least 40 hours per week and making at least $15 an hour pre-taxes to earn the necessary $12.86 an hour. Currently, McDonald’s workers earn an average of $8.25 per hour, barring any funny business.

For more on how ridiculous this is, watch this video.  By the way, where can I sign up for $20 healthcare?

Freedom of the Press Foundation Launches in the War on Censorship

A really interesting organization launched last night called the Freedom of the Press Foundation, with a slew of prominent individuals involved.  For one, there is Glenn Greenwald, one of my favorite journalists active today who used to work for Salon and now writes for the UK’s Guardian.  Also on the board is Daniel Ellsberg of Pentagon Papers fame; John Perry Barlow a co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation; Xeni Jardin of the Web site Boing Boing; and actor John Cusack.  The idea behind the organization is to support and fund unbiased journalism, particularly the kind that governments and intelligence organizations around the world may not like.  What really bothered all of the founders involved and served as a call to action was the way WikiLeaks was systematically cut off from the financial system.  The Huffington Post writes:

NEW YORK — Not long after WikiLeaks began publishing leaked diplomatic cables in November 2010, the anti-secrecy organization ran into trouble raising money.

Increased government scrutiny and criticism from lawmakers prompted several companies, including MasterCard, Visa and PayPal, to stop processing donations to the non-profit organization. WikiLeaks eventually suspended publication due to the “bank blockade.”

Read the Full Article »