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October 15, 2013 - Harry Eagar
Bloomberg News reports on a study finding that it costs about $7 billion a year in various forms of welfare to bring fast-food workers UP to poverty status.

Next time some Tea Party whinger gripes about having his taxes used to support layabouts, throw that in his face.

At a $9 minimum wage and 40 hours a week, a burger pusher would gross $360 a week. Actually, not bad compared to many millions of working Americans who do a lot worse.

I used to work in the fast-food industry, picking up opala in the parking lot of a Shoney's Big Boy. It was a part-time job during school, and I would have liked full-time hours during the summer vacation. I didn't get that very often.

I walked to work -- it was about 6 miles. It didn't bother me then, but it would have later.

As RtO once said, time is the heaviest tax we put on the poor. (There were days when I worked a split shift and walked 24 miles.)

Conditions have changed in fast food since I got my 75 cents an hour and 75 cents a shift meal money. There are more workers who are not hungry school boys and girls. Even in 1963, there were 75-cent-an-hour adults working at Shoney's.

They were not mentally capable of doing anything much more complicated than busing tables. A decent society exerts itself to provide dignity and health and respect to such people.

Here let me honor the Northern California/Hawaii division of Safeway stores and its checkers union for giving that sort of respectable and respectful work to baggers, many of whom have Down syndrome. And, retrospectively to the father of my school buds Pat and Mike Ivey, who hired those dullards at Shoney's -- and me.

If Safeway food costs a little more (and I haven't noticed that it does), then I don't mind.

Follow the link and read the comments to see another reason to despise Tea Partiers. Nasty stuff.


Article Comments



Oct-15-13 7:36 PM

Further thoughts on compensation.

No doubt employer-paid health insurance is worth a lot.

A gold-plated plan covering a family might run the employer $20,000 (depending on lots of factors). That sounds terrific if you are making $18,000 a year ($9 times 40 x 52).

But people making $9 an hour don't get gold-plated plans.


Oct-15-13 6:27 PM

You way overestimate the dollar value of health care. I once worked for a woman who, when making a job offer, would present a sheet showing her total cost. In a few special cases (single moms with kids and some other factors), the pay rate was as little as half the total cost (including SSI etc.) but that was unusual.

You are too hard on unions. Cannery kids in Hawaii were getting $1.25 around 1952 (as told to me by Damien Farias of Maui Toyota). In a no-union state like N. Carolina, 75 cents was usual even 10 years later.

Right-to-work laws screw workers worse than just about anything. It's no wonder rich rightwingers love them so much.


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