Last night, Stephen Colbert took aim at McDonald's instructional video to their employees on how to make a budget, which was completely unrealistic in several ways.
Nation, I've always been suspicious of the minimum wage. I've said it before, minimum is a misnomer. $7.25? I can think of wages a lot lower. $3.28. $1.19. A pat on the back and a handful of mints. There are literally dozens of other things you could give them. A barn owl.Video below the fold.
And when it come to opposing the minimum wage, I'm in good company with guys who own companies. For example, billionaire industrialist and my future face twin Charles Koch, in an interview with the Wichita Eagle, the cute Koch said he wants to eliminate the minimum wage because it creates "a culture of dependency" and keeps people with limited capital from starting their own business. He is right. Having to pay your employees really hurts small business. I mean, look at our nation's forefathers. Many arrived with nothing but the blouse on their back, but thanks to no minimum wage, they started a booming cotton industry.
But just try, just try explaining macroeconomics to the 10.4 million working poor. Some of them actually think the minimum wage is too low. Especially the 4 million who work in fast food. Jim?7/14/2013:
KEVIN TIBBLES, NBC NIGHTLY NEWS: Since early April, there have been protests by fast food workers in seven cities.
AMY CRAWFORD, FAST FOOD WORKER: We can't afford to live on what we make.FOX 2 REPORT (7/14/2013): A coalition of groups calling themselves D15 helped organize this protest and others at McDonald's, Burger King, Domino's, and other top chains to demand $15 an hour instead of $7.40.$15 dollars an hour? That'd make the guy at fries station the richest man in Detroit!
"I say... your fried pomme de terre is ready."
I say that the problem isn't that the minimum wage is too low, it's that the poors out there don't know how to handle their cash.BILL O'REILLY (4/17/2012): Many of the poor will use the money irresponsibly.Yes! It doesn't matter how little you are paid. If you're poor, it's your fault. I get that. But then again, I'm not poor. And, if I were, I wouldn't be. Because I would turn being poor into an oppoortunity. OK? Trademark.
BILL O'REILLY (7/20/2011): There is a reason for poverty in America. ... It's usually personal responsibility.
BILL O'REILLY (10/11/2011): Poverty is not just an economic problem, it is a social problem and a social responsibility problem, personal responsibility problem. You know that's true.
And McDonald's agrees with me. Instead of raising salaries, they're giving their workers something more valuable than money — a website.DAN MANNARINO, WPIX (7/17/2013): If there's anything we've learned in these tough economic times, it's to budget and save for the future, right? Well, McDonald's thought it was helping its employees by giving them an example of how to do just that on their limited salaries. ... A website launched by the fast food chain called Practical Money Skills for Life. The site breaks down how a worker can make ends meet on a McDonald's salary.Yes, McDonald's is helping employees make ends meet, not to be confused with their delicious burger recipe, which makes end meat. (picture of cows' asses)
And take a McLook at their McNuggets of McWisdom. McJim?McDONALD'S WEB VIDEO: Even small things add up to a lot of money over time. Think of it this way. Let's say you go to the convenience store every day for gum, or even a candy bar. It's only $1, right? Well, if you multiply that dollar a day times 365 days a year, you're spending $365 dollars a year on snacks alone.Hold on one second, let me see here. (punches numbers in calculator) Times... 1.... Yeah, OK, checks out.
Now folks, the heart of the program is this downloadable budget journal workers can use to track their spending.McDONALD'S WEB VIDEO: Writing down a journal on your daily spending will help you understand where your money goes. You might say it's too much trouble to write down everything you spend, but before you say that give it a try. Try it for one week, and see if you notice a difference in your spending. Then try it for at least a month to see that you really will spend less.Then try a year. Then try a decade. Then 50 years. Then ask yourself, "Why am I still working at McDonald's? I'm 86 years old!" (audience applause)
All you have to do is follow their sample monthly budget, where they estimate you'll spend $600 dollars on rent, $100 on cable and phone, and $0 on heating. No problem. Just accumulate a warming layer of fat on your body, like this employee.
And other parts of their sample budget are equally helpful. For health insurance, they budget $20. Now, the cheapest McDonald's health plan is $50...
but for $20, you can get a tourniquet, a bottle of Night Train, and a bite stick.
Now, you might be saying to yourself, Stephen, I can't do all this on a McDonald's salary. Well, that's... where you're right. Because the budget assumes you're working a second job. (audience boos) Which of course won't be easy, but that does mean two Christmas parties. Just be sure to fill your pockets with shrimp and maybe a can of Sterno, because remember, you have no heat.
Now, after all the expenses have been paid, you're still left with $800 in monthly spending money for odds and ends like clothing, food, and gasoline. Luckily, your polyester McDonald's uniform qualifies as all three.
So, if you work two jobs at 75 hours a week, and follow this budget to the letter, McDonald's non-bindingly promises you'll have $100 for savings a month. Because McDonald's says, "You can have almost anything you want as long as you plan ahead and save for it."
Unless the thing you want is money. So stop complaining, 4 million fast food workers. McDonald's may have net a profit last quarter of $1.39 billion dollars, but you get a fair wage, plus all the grease you can breathe. For Pete's sake, an employee at a Chicago McDonald's makes $8.25 an hour, but the CEO of McDonald's only makes $8.75... million dollars a year.
I mean, $8.25, $8.75, they're practically the same if you don't care about math. And McDonald's budget proves they don't. We'll be right back.