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D&T.com: McDonalds’ suggested budget for employees shows just how impossible it is to get by on minimum wage


Kindred

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My sister lived in NYC for 3 years. After taxes were taken out, her monthly income was around $2,200, similar to the amount in the OP. She lived in a 3 bedroom apartment with 2 roommates. She typically put away around $1,000 per month, meaning that her expenses came out to around $1,200 - roughly the amount one would get from full time minimum wage. The second job could be reduced to around 60 hours, and the cash from that can be spent on night classes or job training. Current minimum wage is fine - for now.

 

Not to mention the racist origins of the minimum wage.

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My sister lived in NYC for 3 years. After taxes were taken out, her monthly income was around $2,200, similar to the amount in the OP. She lived in a 3 bedroom apartment with 2 roommates. She typically put away around $1,000 per month, meaning that her expenses came out to around $1,200 - roughly the amount one would get from full time minimum wage. The second job could be reduced to around 60 hours, and the cash from that can be spent on night classes or job training. Current minimum wage is fine - for now.

 

Not to mention the racist origins of the minimum wage.

Oh boy.  Please explain.

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My sister lived in NYC for 3 years. After taxes were taken out, her monthly income was around $2,200, similar to the amount in the OP. She lived in a 3 bedroom apartment with 2 roommates. She typically put away around $1,000 per month, meaning that her expenses came out to around $1,200 - roughly the amount one would get from full time minimum wage. The second job could be reduced to around 60 hours, and the cash from that can be spent on night classes or job training. Current minimum wage is fine - for now.

 

Not to mention the racist origins of the minimum wage.

Monthly expenses of $1200? A quick google search and it seems 3 bedroom apartments in NYC range from about 3k in the slums to about 8k if in Manhattan. So if she lived in the slums, she only had around $200 to live on after rent? Was this like 20 years ago or something?

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My sister lived in NYC for 3 years. After taxes were taken out, her monthly income was around $2,200, similar to the amount in the OP. She lived in a 3 bedroom apartment with 2 roommates. She typically put away around $1,000 per month, meaning that her expenses came out to around $1,200 - roughly the amount one would get from full time minimum wage. The second job could be reduced to around 60 hours, and the cash from that can be spent on night classes or job training. Current minimum wage is fine - for now.

 

Not to mention the racist origins of the minimum wage.

 

You can't work 40 hours a week on current minimum wage and take home $2200/mo. $7.25 x 40 hrs X 4 weeks is $1160, BEFORE taxes. The OP budget was for 2 minimum wage jobs and had to be at 74 hours/wk, which is 12 hours a day for 6 days. Good luck finding time for classes on top of that. There is no way you can live in NYC today, even with 2 others, on $1200 month w/o outside help. Current minimum wage is not fine.

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As a son of a family full of small business owners, this issue is really pretty simple.  The wage that a worker gets paid is more dependant on the worker than the small business owners and let me tell you why..

 

Lets say you are working at McD as the OP example and you are really hard worker.  You are unhappy about the amount of money you are making.  There is actually 3 parties involved here.

 

Hard working employee has choices

  • The raise you get from your owner is acceptable then you continue to work.
  • The raise you get from you owner is not acceptable or denied then you can just stay in your job unhappy.
  • You know you are worth more than what is offered then you go looking for a different job.

Owner of McDs has choices

  • Give the hard worker a raise to keep him happy and continuing to work hard at his business
  • Don't give the hard worker and risk having that hard worker quit
  • Once that hard worker quits, there is no guarrantee that the next person he fires will be a hard worker.  There is definitely a gap of performance between a driven employee and a regular/poor employee.  Sometimes it seems like it take 1.5-2 average/poor employee to replace 1 good employee

 

Owner of competiting fast food restaurant has choices

  • You understand that there is definitely a gap of performance between a driven employee and a regular/poor employee.  Sometimes it seems like 1 good employee can do the work of 1.5-2 average/poor employee.
  • You spot a hard working employee then you decide how much that person is worth to you and you make your offer accordingly.

Maybe I am being harsh but people who get paid minimum wage have no one to blame themselves...   Everyone gets paid what they are worth relative.  Only people don't are people who are choose to not to look around.  You would think people would be proactive in their own life and finances and try to get what they are worth. 

 

One thing to note (definitely I am guilty of this), people do tend to over value themselves.



You can't work 40 hours a week on current minimum wage and take home $2200/mo. $7.25 x 40 hrs X 4 weeks is $1160, BEFORE taxes. The OP budget was for 2 minimum wage jobs and had to be at 74 hours/wk, which is 12 hours a day for 6 days. Good luck finding time for classes on top of that. There is no way you can live in NYC today, even with 2 others, on $1200 month w/o outside help. Current minimum wage is not fine.

 

 

If you are getting paid minimum wage in NYC then you have problems...

 

why wouldnt you look for some solutions like getting roommates (even if you dont get your own private room) or maybe (*gasp) not living in NYC and live instead somewhere with lower cost of living.

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First, I wanted to agree wholeheartedly with sjinhan's "harsh" portion and wanted to add some other viewpoints that are not necessarily his.

 

1. No one is entitled to anything.  As long as you can feed yourself and shelter, and if McDonalds can provide that, then that's good enough.  Why should you be entitled (on an extreme end of things) a McMansion, BMW, and so on?  On the more socially "reasonable" end of things, why do we think owning a home, having a Toyota Camry, and a flat screen TV are God-given rights?  If you can afford a roof with reasonable conditions that you can remain healthy (such as running water and heat), reliable transportation even if it is not a newer car (and even this is a luxury good), and the ability to feed yourself, your employer is not the bad guy.

 

2. The reason the employer is not the bad guy is because he is paying you PRECISELY THE WORTH THAT YOU ARE AGREEING WITH BY WORKING THERE.  This is something I harped on in the furlough thread.  If you don't like it and think you deserve more, then FIND A NEW JOB.  Market value is determined when there is an agreement between what people are willing to sell a good for and what people are willing to buy that good for.  The good here is your labor.  If you can't find anything better or don't feel the effort is worth it, then you are either valued perfectly or even possibly overpaid!  The fact we still have federal employees complaining about furloughs and whatnot, but still remaining in their position tells me a lot.

 

3. Extension of Point 1... You are not entitled to making a set amount of money by working only 40 hours.  Everything has a price, and as we all know, time is money.  We don't live in a utopia yet, and it's almost communist to think everyone should be equal and taken care of.  You can probably tell I am not a proponent of higher minimum wages, though I am open to the idea that in some form, they are beneficial.

 

Second, anyone have tips on quoting people without quoting everything they say?  I tried to quote sjinhan and snip out the irrelevant stuff but it just completely screwed up for the formatting.

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Second, anyone have tips on quoting people without quoting everything they say? I tried to quote sjinhan and snip out the irrelevant stuff but it just completely screwed up for the formatting.

There's a thread in Stadium, for asking fellow members "how do I" questions. It's been answered in there.

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Not just McDs, this is happening with many companies. My biggest concern is the average CEO's are richer than they have every been, while the workers on the bottom are getting more poor per year. Corporate Greed is destroying this country. They only care about the  shareholders.

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I continue to be amazed how many people honestly believe that in a consumer driven economy giving consumers more spending money would do more harm then good to the economy. I see a lot of belittling individuals working minimum wage jobs, but if you're working at least 40 hours a week, are you really that lazy?

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I continue to be amazed how many people honestly believe that in a consumer driven economy giving consumers more spending money would do more harm then good to the economy. I see a lot of belittling individuals working minimum wage jobs, but if you're working at least 40 hours a week, are you really that lazy?

 

I hope you are not talking about me because I do think "consumers" earning more money is a good thing.  In the current world economy, the top down model doesn't make sense because it is much more likely that the consumers will spend the money locally than more money to the top 1% who has many more avenues (like overseas) for investment.

 

It is not belittling that they are working at minimum wage jobs but what I am saying is that if you are not happy with that minimum wage life then do something about it.  Don't expect the world to change and bend over backwards to make your life easier because you are working at least 40 hrs a week.   

 

Whenever I talk to people (friends) who are unhappy with what they are making, people have too many reasons (and some probably very valid reasons) and excuses for not making changes in their life that make themselves happier.  Its perfectly ok if you decide to work at minimum wage (and its great you are working at all) but you KNOW what minimum wage life entails so don't try to act surprised that is a tough life.

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I continue to be amazed how many people honestly believe that in a consumer driven economy giving consumers more spending money would do more harm then good to the economy. I see a lot of belittling individuals working minimum wage jobs, but if you're working at least 40 hours a week, are you really that lazy?

 

Where have you seen "a lot of belittling individuals working minimum wage jobs" in this thread? I haven't seen much of that at all.

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I continue to be amazed how many people honestly believe that in a consumer driven economy giving consumers more spending money would do more harm then good to the economy. I see a lot of belittling individuals working minimum wage jobs, but if you're working at least 40 hours a week, are you really that lazy?

 

 

It is not belittling that they are working at minimum wage jobs but what I am saying is that if you are not happy with that minimum wage life then do something about it.  Don't expect the world to change and bend over backwards to make your life easier because you are working at least 40 hrs a week.   

 

You have to have people working those low wage jobs. Yes, many of them do transition to better jobs. But you are ignoring that there is a transition period and during that period if you are barely making enough to get by (and the budget from 2 jobs, not 1, but 2, shows even that is becoming near impossible) then that transition becomes more and more difficult to the point of near infeasibility and that really shouldn't be the case. A low wage worker should at least be ok enough to have a reasonable opportunity to look for, apply, and interview for a better job. 

 

Nobody is saying one should expect the world to change for them. What people are saying is while those people are earning low wages, that 1 full time job or 2 jobs should be enough to live off of reasonably. Raising the minimum wage to $10 isn't bending over backwards. 

 

A lot of people have no other choice than minimum wage as a starting point for their working career. They should be making enough full time or 2 jobs to where upward mobility is possible, but right now that is becoming less and less possible because the bottom line hasn't raised proportionally with the top line and general price raises in consumer goods. A lot of people's perspectives need to change in that regard also because many seem to view $10/hr as a lot for minimum wage/working at McDs, etc. and really these days it no longer is. 

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This is an honest question for those of you who understand economics out there. Has inflation, etc. really more than doubled in 20 years? When I was 16 and entering the work force (scooping ice cream) my starting wage was $4.25 per hour. Yes, gas was like $1/gallon back then, but beside that has everything else gone up 2.5x that would require minimum wage being $10 per hour now?

 

Granted, I worked at that wage as a student and probably could not have lived off of it. But I never knew that minimum-wage jobs were designed to support an individual or household.

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This is an honest question for those of you who understand economics out there. Has inflation, etc. really more than doubled in 20 years? When I was 16 and entering the work force (scooping ice cream) my starting wage was $4.25 per hour. Yes, gas was like $1/gallon back then, but beside that has everything else gone up 2.5x that would require minimum wage being $10 per hour now?

 

Granted, I worked at that wage as a student and probably could not have lived off of it. But I never knew that minimum-wage jobs were designed to support an individual or household.

 

http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm

 

This is a good tool to measure inflation it looks as though your wage from 20 years ago is about in line with min. wage for today. And looking at some other avg retail items like food, clothing, etc. they stay somewhat in line with inflation. But gas and college tutition showed some big increases, as if we didn't know that already.

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This is an honest question for those of you who understand economics out there. Has inflation, etc. really more than doubled in 20 years? When I was 16 and entering the work force (scooping ice cream) my starting wage was $4.25 per hour. Yes, gas was like $1/gallon back then, but beside that has everything else gone up 2.5x that would require minimum wage being $10 per hour now?

 

Granted, I worked at that wage as a student and probably could not have lived off of it. But I never knew that minimum-wage jobs were designed to support an individual or household.

 

http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm

 

This is a good tool to measure inflation it looks as though your wage from 20 years ago is about in line with min. wage for today. And looking at some other avg retail items like food, clothing, etc. they stay somewhat in line with inflation. But gas and college tutition showed some big increases, as if we didn't know that already.

 

Thanks for the input. That's a very good tool.

 

It shows that $4.25 in 1993 = roughly $6.87 in 2013. Now, that doesn't really prove anything other than showing that minimum wage is comparable today to what it was in the early-1990s. The question is this, has minimum wage always been too low? Should it be relied upon as an income capable of supporting a household?

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This is an honest question for those of you who understand economics out there. Has inflation, etc. really more than doubled in 20 years? When I was 16 and entering the work force (scooping ice cream) my starting wage was $4.25 per hour. Yes, gas was like $1/gallon back then, but beside that has everything else gone up 2.5x that would require minimum wage being $10 per hour now?

 

Granted, I worked at that wage as a student and probably could not have lived off of it. But I never knew that minimum-wage jobs were designed to support an individual or household.

Just observing:

I can't authoritatively answer your question. But I can say that, mathematically, if inflation is 3.5% a year, for 20 years, then prices will have doubled.

Now, do you think inflation has been higher, or lower, than 3.5%, for the last 20 years?

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Min. wage hasn't always been too low, but more often than not it is IMO.

 

I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone who advocates that a full time minimum wage job should be enough to support an entire household. I, and others, do advocate that 40 hrs/week at minimum wage should be enough for a single person to sustain themselves on their own at a liveable bare minimum AND if they work 2 of those jobs then that level should raise to where you can get comfortably by. The minimum wage should not be so low that working 2 jobs, 60-74 hours a week, can only get you that McDonald's budget (which doesn't even have realistic costs on certain items).

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For those wondering about inflation and the minumum wage: Minimum Wage in U.S. Fails to Beat Inflation: Chart of the Day:

 

 

The CHART OF THE DAY shows that after adjusting for inflation, the federal minimum wage dropped 20 percent from 1967 to 2010, even as the nominal figure climbed to $7.25 an hour from $1.40, a 418 percent gain.

 

There's really no need to guess what inflation's been for the last 20 years... the BLS makes those numbers public.

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