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Saturday, July 27, 2013

McFinancial Planning

When McDonald's attempted to help its underpaid workers stick to a budget, the fast food giant exposed how much the burger chain's wages fall short of what's needed to survive in America.

The actual budget McD's gave its workers - work two jobs, keep rent to $600 or less, health insurance at $20 month!!! and pay nothing for heat and you're gonna do fine. Oh, and there's nothing budgeted for food so I guess they expect their workers to eat for free on McD's tab, right?
At last, a fast food giant that gives a damn about the economic hardships low-wage workers face.
Not only does McDonald’s care, but, by golly, the good executives who sit atop the Golden Arches are goosing-up the meager $8.25 an hour that their workers have been getting paid. As you can imagine, hair-netted hamburger-flippers everywhere would be very grateful to see their hourly wage boosted to $10.

Well, yes, but McDonald’s didn’t become a giant by paying fair wages, so actually raising the $8.25 wage isn’t the goose the executives are giving to their workers’ paychecks.

Instead, the burger chain has launched a website that instructs employees on how to stretch that eight-and-a-quarter by better budgeting.

“Plan ahead and save,” exclaims this McCredibly helpful website, adding that if each hourly McDonald’s worker would just organize personal financial records properly, he or she would “become a better decision-maker.”

Wow — low pay and a moral lecture. How great is that?

Unfortunately, the website’s suggested budget seems to have been written by Scrooge. Initially, the bean-counters forgot to include a few essentials in the “Practical Money Skills” budget they drew up for low-wage folks. Like clothes. Or child care. Or food.

Yes, McDonald’s budget-planning tool allotted a fat zero for eating.

Embarrassed, the clueless budgeteers threw in a little something for chow, but wait — their suggested monthly expenses total nearly $1,000 more than McDonald’s pays its typical workers.

Not to worry, though, for this McBudget helpfully assumes that each employee will have a second job to cover that shortfall in pay.

Meanwhile, McDonald’s CEO Donald Thompson takes home $13.8 million in yearly compensation, a haul that renders budgeting for the bare necessities unnecessary. His hourly employees could make that much too — if they worked only 760 years under the Golden Arches.

OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He's also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower