It's good to know, isn't it, that McDonald's is truly interested in helping its employees to be healthier and better prepared to face the adversity of poverty? But how did the laws in the U.S. let them get away with this type of behavior for so long? The McDonald's website tried to explain (until it was "yanked" (deleted)).
Just last month the website provided financial advice, telling McDonald’s workers (who typically make around minimum wage) how to tip their pool boy and their au pair—services fast-food workers aren’t likely to have.
The company profits like many other fast food restaurants—by providing cheap food-like products to the masses with low operating costs. These costs are not only kept low by purchasing and creating “food” that isn’t valuable, but by paying employees far less than they deserve. In fact, U.S. taxpayers pay an estimated $7 billion annually to help fast food workers – many of which are enrolled in public assistance programs such as food stamps.
The McResource Line offered some eye-opening facts to employees and the public: that fast food is indeed unhealthy and the company doesn’t particularly want you to know that, and that workers are paid less than enough to afford life above the poverty line, let alone a pool boy or au pair.
The Republicans have been very successful for the last 30-plus years at its divide-and-conquer strategy against the working classes. It seems, however, that it wasn't until the divide became almost 99 to 1 that it began to be seen as failing to convince enough. And as more and more people slip off into the "poor" category either through job loss, sickness or loss of ability to continue living, the strategy's goals become more and more clear. Take a look at the disaster let loose in North Carolina by a "centrist" Republican. Robert Reich elucidates:
. . . the divide-and-conquer strategy is no longer convincing because the dividing line between poor and middle class has all but disappeared. "They" are fast becoming "us."
Poverty is now a condition that almost anyone can fall into. In the first two years of this recovery, according to new report from Census Bureau, about one in three Americans dropped into poverty for at least two to six months.
Three decades of flattening wages and declining economic security have taken a broader toll. Nearly 55 percent of Americans between the ages of 25 and 60 have experienced at least a year in poverty or near poverty (below 150 percent of the poverty line). Half of all American children have at some point during their childhoods relied on food stamps.
Fifty years ago, when Lyndon Johnson declared a "war on poverty," most of the nation's chronically poor had little or no connection to the labor force, while most working-class Americans had full-time jobs.
This distinction has broken down as well. Now a significant percentage of the poor are working but not earning enough to get themselves and their families out of poverty. And a growing portion of the middle class finds themselves in the same place - often in part-time or temporary positions, or in contract work.
Economic insecurity is endemic. Working-class whites who used to be cushioned against the vagaries of the market are now fully exposed to them. Trade unions that once bargained on behalf of employees and protected their contractual rights have withered. Informal expectations of lifelong employment with a single company are gone. Company loyalty has become a bad joke.
Financial markets are now calling the shots - forcing companies to suddenly uproot, sell out to other companies, transfer whole divisions abroad, liquidate unprofitable units, or adopt new software that suddenly renders old skills obsolete.
Because money moves at the speed of an electronic impulse while human beings move at the speed of human beings, the humans - most of them hourly workers but many white collar as well - have been getting shafted.
This means sudden and unexpected poverty has become a real possibility for almost everyone these days. And there's little margin of safety. With the real median household income continuing to drop, 65 percent of working families are living from paycheck to paycheck.
Race is no longer a dividing line, either. According to Census Bureau numbers, two-thirds of those below the poverty line at any given point identify themselves as white.
This new face of poverty - a face that's both poor, near-poor, and precarious working middle, and that's simultaneously black, Latino, and white - renders the old Republican divide-and-conquer strategy obsolete. Most people are now on the same losing side of the divide. Since the start of the recovery, 95 percent of the economy's gains have gone to the top 1 percent.
Which means Republican opposition to extended unemployment insurance, food stamps, jobs programs, and a higher minimum wage pose a real danger of backfiring on the GOP.
Just look at North Carolina, a bell-weather state, where Democratic Senator Kay Hagan, up for re-election, is doing well by attacking Republicans back home as "irresponsible and cold-hearted" for slashing unemployment benefits and social services. The state Democratic Party is highlighting her Republican opponent's "long record of demeaning statements against those struggling to make ends meet." (Tom Tillis, the speaker of the State, had spoken of the need "to divide and conquer" people on public assistance, and called criticisms of the cuts as "whining coming from losers.")
The new economy has been especially harsh for the bottom two-thirds of Americans. It's not hard to imagine a new political coalition of America's poor and working middle class, bent not only on repairing the nation's frayed safety nets but also on getting a fair share of the economies' gains.
From our Man With the Muckrake:
"In eight Southern states — Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky — the long-term jobless rate is quite high compared to much of the rest of the country. Of the sixteen senators representing those states, fourteen are Republicans (with one Democrat in both North Carolina and Florida.)
That means not only higher numbers of constituents being hurt by the benefit lapse, but a bigger hit to the state economy"
Question: What the hell is wrong with the voters in these 8 states? Are they THAT dumb?