McDonald’s answer to living on $8.25 an hour: food stamps. Also heating assistance. And maybe Medicaid.
This is totally realistic and in fact what makes survival on $8.25 an hour possible for most people. But could it possibly highlight more perfectly the reliance of the fast food industry on government assistance to subsidize poverty wages? It’s basically a straight-up admission from McDonald’s that the highly profitable company knows it isn’t paying workers enough to live on and is looking to taxpayers to make that possible while keeping profits high and prices low. This has got to be one of the most f’ed up, corrupt kinds of capitalism imaginable: companies padding their profits by pushing their workers onto public assistance. And it’s a feature, not a bug.
So for every person who worries what would happen to the price of their Big Mac if McDonald’s had to pay a living wage, there should be a couple who’d be saving by not having to subsidize the other guy’s cheap hamburger and McDonald’s high profits. I’d mention the benefit to workers and to the basic value that work should pay enough to live on, but let’s be real: Those things obviously don’t matter to McDonald’s.