McDonald’s and Visa were roundly mocked last week for making a website designed to “help” their employees budget on their meager wages. The sample budget was obviously written by rich people who have no idea what living in the real world actually costs. CNN had a great piece where real employees filled out the sample budget and the results were predictably depressing.
McDonald’s was singled out because of that budget, and a recent strike at a Manhattan franchise aren’t making them any more sympathetic, but the suffering is the same for everyone in the fast-food industry and minimum wage workers everywhere. Companies are able to get away with it because low wages are subsidized by government programs like SNAP, Medicaid and the Earned Income Credit; things companies like Wal-Mart openly use to increase their bottom line.
Way back during his State of the Union speech, President Obama mentioned raising the minimum wage. Obviously it went nowhere, because those earning minimum wage aren’t likely to have any leftover income to make campaign contributions, unlike the corporate behemoths who are raking in huge profits by exploiting their undervalued labor.