Monday, November 9, 2015

Burger Madness

Welp, once again, I was responding to a picture on Facebook, and realized I was writing a blog. Hopefully, I'll actually write more blogs in the soon to future, but for now, let's talk about this gloriously smug bit of asshattery:

I see this a lot around the Ragebooks, and it makes me snarl, without fail, every time.
Let's hit the high points of why working as an McEmployee sucks the balls of a thousand dead men pickled in the juices of a durian and prune juice cocktail:
No health coverage 
Poor health coverage 
No overtime 
No way to afford childcare
Shitty hours
Being on call 24-7 
Daily risk of 2nd to 3rd degree burns 
Daily health risks from the HUNDREDS of asshats that come in and cough in your face
Constant mental stress from every direction 
Limited opportunities to promote
Social stigma because you don't have a "real job" 
Instant blame and fury if you don't do your not-a-real-job perfectly every single time at lightning speed.
And finally, pay that puts you somewhere at the bottom of the poverty scale.
"But it's a kiddy job. They're just flipping burgers," says Strawman Schmoe.
So of course it should be necessary that in order to support a single adult at the barest minimum of poverty they should do this for 80 hours a week at two different locations? Or did we forget that:
In 2013, there were 3.3 million hourly paid workers in the United States with wages at or below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. These workers made up 4.3 percent of the 75.9 million workers age 16 and over who were paid at hourly rates. 
-Bureau of Labor Statistics
To put that bluntly, that's 3.3 million people. That's not even counting the people who made $7.26 an hour. That's literally the people making exactly $7.25 or less. The median average wages of a part-time hourly or salary employee starts at $264 a week at 25 and ranges all the way up to the exciting prospect of $291 from 35-45, and then gradually falls back down to $243 on average when you hit 65+ (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Round that out, there. At best, the average for a part-time wage earner (35 hours or less) is $1164 a month. At best. I worked a job where I was excited to make $8.15 an hour, worked 25-30 hours a week, and still made around right around $10k for the year.
For reference, the nation poverty threshold for 2015 for a single adult is $11,770
Well, what if they work full time, hmmm? 
Ok, let's best case this shit. I walked into a retail job with a GED, 7 years of experience in high volume retail, a broad working knowledge of the products we sold, no record, and a completely flexible schedule. That bought me an extra ninety cents an hour.
But let's say I had, oh, an added three years of managerial experience, and managed to snag a job as a full time manager. Let's round that shit up to $10 an hour, because that's what unsalaried managers made at the company I worked at.
So, then: ($10)*(40) = $400 a week. Shiny!
Minus $60 for taxes, of course, so now $340 a week. That's, oh, $1360 a month. Which is $16,320 a year. Hey, not bad for a single adult with no healthcare!
Wait what.
Ohhhh, riiiiight, see, funny story, they never put in those healthcare exchanges that would have driven down the costs of insurance where I am, so, you know, healthcare is required, but doesn't actually cover anything, and costs a shit ton.
But that's ok, that' ok, at least that full time manager is above the poverty level! For a household of two, even! Let's adda baby!
Nope, poor again. $20,090 for three people in a house is poverty level. But hey! Mommy or daddy gets a part-time job to cover the difference!
Funny story, did you know that the median cost per hour of childcare in Oklahoma is $623.33 a month? Or, to put it another way $155 and some odd cents a week? Remember that lovely, lovely thing up there that said that the average median wage of an hourly part time worker is $291 at the high point? That means that over half that check is going to childcare. That's not to mention the need for a second vehicle, bringing with it higher prices paid in fuel, insurance, etc,. Oh, and you just better hope that you never have to work past 7pm, because there's a special license for a day care facility to watch kids overnight, and they charge extra for that. Ooooh, and hopefully they charge a flat fee instead of hourly, because if they charge by the hour, it's entirely possible that mommy or daddy would be better off staying at home with the kids and scraping by at poverty levels, because there's an excellent chance they could pay more for childcare per hour than they earn in that hour.
But there's great news! A college education could save you from all that! 
Hey, guess what costs $30-40,000? A bachelor's in ENGLISH. In freaking English. 
But perhaps, instead, they should partially cover costs with grants, pay a little out of pocket...oh wait, we don't pay them enough to live. Where are they going to come up with another few thousand a year to go to college? Oooh, I know, take one or two classes at a time, thereby ensuring that they only live in poverty for eight to ten years!
What? That's not appealing? Ok, how about loans? Yeah, those loans. 
The loans that have a standard repayment plan of 10 years, costing roughly $280 a month on the average $25,000 loan. Wait, what's $280 times 120? Oh, right, that's $33,600. Or, you know, $8,600 more than you borrowed. In short, you'll pay just about 130% of what you borrowed if you pay it back as fast as is normally possible, and if you didn't have any unsubsidized loans (which begin collecting interest immediately, rather than waiting til after you graduate,) and if you immediately fall into a job that pays you better than what you were making before. Oh, and if you're lucky enough to get out with a 6.8% APR and minimal loan fees. college is expensive, to the point of being back breaking...but at least they'll have a good job waiting for them, right?
Heh. Hehehehe. Gigglesnort. Ahhh. You're funny. Look under "hehehehe." That's a 3.5 percent unemployment rate for folks with bachelors degrees in 2014. For reference, the national unemployment rate is right around 5-ish right now.
"Oh, that's not too bad," Strawman pops in to say.
Well, no, until you realize a few very important things: first, that the unemployment numbers only account for those who are actively seeking a job right now, that that still means 276,780 ladies and gents with a bachelor's are looking for jobs, and that the employment numbers track only that you have a job, not what it is.
So basically, if you've stopped looking for a job and become a stay at home parent, you don't count against unemployment. If you got a job flipping burgers, you don't count as unemployed. 5 percent unemployment doesn't hurt as bad as the ridiculous levels we experienced during the Recession, but it's still not joyous, and you can bet your ass there are more low level wage jobs than there are $40,000 a year ones.
Now, then. Let's get right on down to the meat of that lovely little image up there.
Having read all of that, what you're saying is that a person working 35-40 hours a week deserves to be poor because their job doesn't meet your standards of difficulty. That for the effort of providing a necessary service that you as a consumer depend on, that person should be poor because you're a snob.
You're saying that any person working for a fast food restaurant at an entry level position is less deserving of being paid a living wage because they just don't contribute to society as much as oh, say, an EMT.
Look me in the fucking eye and tell me that you feel that way when your burger is late or wrong because the McD's is shorthanded because their turnover rate is ridiculous due to stress, stigma, and living so close to the poverty level that even the slightest bump makes it all but impossible for that person to get to work. Look me in the eye and tell me that you feel that the time spent waiting is justified. Look at me, right here and now, and tell me that you're willing to accept less quality, less service, at a slower pace, because the workers are exhausted, or haven't eaten properly in weeks, or are working two jobs and going to school trying to escape poverty.
No? Of fucking course not. Because those people deserve to be in poverty for choosing to work a shitty job, but those pieces of poor ass shit best fucking get you your meal on time, absolutely right.
That's what you're saying. Those people aren't worth it. Not that EMT's are worth more. Not that police should be paid more, or that firefighter's wages are too low, or anything that actually means something good.
You're saying, specifically in this instance, that because EMT's make at or below a living wage, so should thousands of other people, because how dare they ask to be paid enough to live on for doing an honest day's labor.
Let me leave you with one thought: did it honestly never occur to you that raising the minimum wage would mean that an EMT who wasn't making enough to live on, would then be paid a living wage? Did it never occur to you that if people could make $15 an hour working at Burger King, if they could make a living at an entry level job, that the more complex jobs might, just might, have to offer a little better than that in order to draw people?
Because gods save us all if we should for some reason decide we wanted to cut down on the poverty and homelessness levels in this country. How else would we motivate kids to grow up and go into debt in a desperate bid for a better life, if we can't tell them that that they'll be forced into a job where people will judge them and tell them to their faces that they deserve to be poor for not trying harder?