Friday, July 19, 2013


Ah, Megan McArdle is at Bloomberg now. Let's see what she's up to -- oh yeah, that McDonald's how-to-survive-on-our-shitty-pay thing. Guess what, McArdle sides with McDonald's! (Her husband's right, these scripts are getting awfully predictable.)
Moreover, a number of people are claiming that this budget is not merely unkind, but downright Draconian -- “the amounts specified in this budget just aren’t enough to get by, at least not safely,” Irregular Times says. 
This seems overdramatic; $24,000 in after-tax dollars is not princely. But it doesn't put you at significant risk of death or dismemberment. While $800 a month is not a lot to have for clothes, entertainment, groceries and sundries, even taking inflation into account, that was a lot more than the disposable income I had when I first started at The Economist. After student loans, rent and taxes, I had about $300 for everything else, including utilities and MetroCards.
Young career-tracker with a starter job at The Economist, McDonald's employee = pretty much the same thing.
If you are a middle-class professional, and you attempt to imagine replicating your own lifestyle on McDonald's wages, you are bound to feel panic and outrage. But that’s not actually the task facing people who work at McDonald's, or people with a household after-tax income of about $24,000 a year.
Yeah, they're never going to need just the right shoes for a gala reception, so their needs are different.
The McDonald's workforce skews young. The average age of a fast-food worker is almost 30 right now, but that’s because of the recession; in 2000, it was 22. The average McDonald's line worker is not planning to put two kids through college on their salary. Only a minority are trying to support just themselves exclusively on their minimum-wage paycheck; they are living with a spouse or partner who makes at least as much as they do, or with parents or other relatives who make more than minimum wage. Moreover, very few people stay in entry-level minimum-wage jobs for very long (though again, the Great Recession has made this happen more than it used to); those workers eventually get promoted or leave for a more promising job.
Sorry, had to go to the "emphasis added" there; I didn't want you to miss the use of McArdle's  trademarked "the facts support me except for the parts that don't, which I dismiss by naming them" process. Also, funny as I find the idea that shit wages are okay for these people because they can always get their uncle in North Dakota to send them money orders, it's nothing compared to this:
Those who don’t [advance] -- who actually try to support a family on minimum-wage paychecks -- will end up with substantial government support. They’ll get the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Earned Income Tax Credit and, in many places, they will now be eligible for Medicaid.
For one thing, these are programs McArdle's fellow conservatarians are working hard to get rid of. For another and more to the point, this sort of employer exploitation of public assistance is famously what's keeping the whole crap-job paradigm alive. It like defending a con game by saying, "but if you shut it down, how's the con man going to make any money?"

McArdle can't resist adding that you silly elitists can't understand: "There are millions of people in this country doing it," she says. "Keep in mind that most McDonald's workers don’t live close to New York City or Washington... Survival on such a lean budget is possible because people who do it are not trying to live the atomized life of an upper-middle-class college graduate." Woo, that's telling those of us who have our own bathrooms! We get something similar at the Washington Post from McArdle's fellow conservatarian Timothy B. Lee -- but first let me quote my favorite part:
The budget allocates $0 for heat. This could be realistic in some Southern states...
Okay, thanks. Lee has a pot o' sneers for those decadent coastals who insult our fast food slaves by suggesting they could live any differently:
With a couple of exceptions, these are typical figures for the spending of millions of low-income Americans... Gawker’s Neil Casey calls $600 per month for rent a “laughably small” figure, but Casey should spend more time outside the Northeast Corridor... while working two jobs is tough, it’s not that uncommon. About 7 million Americans, or about 5 percent of the workforce, do it... And the reality is that these low-income Americans have to make the kind of hard choices that critics are deriding as ridiculous... Gawker calls the budget “just-shy-of-condescending,” but budgeting is an important skill that isn’t obvious to every young adult in America. Offering practical advice on how to live on a modest income is more constructive than ridiculing the choices required to do so.
In other words, low-end jobs like these are increasingly long-term propositions, and you're just being insulting by suggesting it's anything but the way things ought to be -- why, it's like asking a harelip for a kiss, or teaching a slave to read!


  1. gocart mozart2:37 PM

    I found this on her wiki page. I'll just leave it here without comment.

    "During her junior year, she worked as a canvasser for the Public Interest Research Groups, the nonprofit founded by Ralph Nader. Her experience there hurried along her “transition from ultraliberal to libertarian.” The organization was, she later wrote, “the most deceptive, evil place I've ever worked."

  2. Offering practical advice on how to live on a modest income is more constructive than ridiculing the choices required to do so.

    Advocating for raising the minimum wage, or attempting to pressure McDonald's to simply fucking pay people more, on the other hand, is an abridgement of Liberty Itself. So I guess I can see why a spoiled little libertarian shit would choose to construct such an enormous strawman instead.

  3. merl12:48 PM

    I'd like to know which Southern state you can live in and not need heat. I froze my ass off in Florida more than once, same in Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana. I didn't stick around Georgia long enough to get cold.
    Even in Arizona I got pretty damn cold at least twice.

  4. And the reality is that these low-income Americans have to make the kind
    of hard choices that critics are deriding as ridiculous...

    Actually, I'm deriding as monstrous the fact that people are being forced into those choices by rapacious capitalists, Timmy. "How dare you mock the lower-class slobs who clearly know their place" isn't actually a refutation of that.

  5. Offering practical advice on how to live on a modest income is more constructive than ridiculing the choices required to do so.

    Advocating for an increased minimum wage, or even pressuring McDonald's to fucking pay people more, however, is an abridgement of Liberty Itself. So I guess I can see why a spoiled little libertarian shit would prefer to construct an enormous strawman stuck together with bull manure instead.

  6. Felchin' Disqus.

  7. Mr. Wonderful2:59 PM

    Sub-minimum wage workers should be glad they have any job at all. Look, we're all suffering. Corporate profits are down. The stock market has tanked and, every day, struggles to even breathe. CEO and executive pay has been drastically cut. The market is cruel, yes, but it's cruel evenhandedly, across the board.

    Granted, if chief exex who--to confect a ludicrous hypothetical--ran companies into bankruptcy, or oversaw multi-million-dollar losses, were to walk away with eight-figure severance or retirement packages, that would be galling and unacceptable, of course. But does that happen? And is Megan McArdle not Marie of Romania?

    Fair is fair and, thankfully, we live under capitalism, which is an anagram for "an honest day's pay for an honest day's work--for everyone."

  8. ohsopolite3:00 PM

    "I had about $300 for everything else, including utilities and MetroCards."

    Obviously Meeeeegan is descending into (slightly) premature codgerhood. *in my day, we were happy, HAPPY I tell you to have $300 a month. A loaf of bread cost a quarter, and cabfare was as nickel, consarn it!"

  9. marindenver3:03 PM

    I saw somewhere that a big purpose of the budget website was to convince workers of the awesomeness of paycheck debit cards. Funny, I don't see where they factored in all the fees that the employees get jacked for every time they use these wonderful, handy, dandy cards.

  10. Mr. Wonderful3:06 PM

    We used to DREAM of having a MetroCard. No, we had to carry around actual metal coins in our pockets and purses, and use them to board noisy, graffiti-covered trains without air conditioning. Ah, but we were happy...

  11. gocart mozart3:07 PM

    The economy in its infinite majesty allows both rich and poor to purchase pink Himalayan Salt.

  12. tigrismus3:10 PM

    Gave me the chance to like it twice.

  13. TribalistMeathead3:11 PM

    It gets worse - as noted thoroughly at LGM, the "what's the matter with teaching people how to budget?" rebuttal is being used across the ideological spectrum.

  14. Hey, that's right.

    [Triumphantly wallows in bitcoins]

  15. TribalistMeathead3:16 PM

    Canvassing for Nader would probably have the same effect on me. Which is why I'm never canvassing for Nader.

  16. TribalistMeathead3:18 PM

    Think of all the ridicule they could've avoided by putting "Heat - $0 (electric heating/radial heat not charged to tenant/whateverthefuck)," or not putting it on there to begin with.

  17. tigrismus3:27 PM

    After student loans, rent and taxes, I had about $300 for everything else, including utilities and MetroCards.

    I note taxes aren't included in the linked budget, nor are student loans nor MetroCards. Perhaps McDonald workers are exempt from these costs, like they are for heat.

    Keep in mind that most McDonald's workers don’t live close to New York City or Washington

    I'm sure that knowledge provides some comfort for the thousands that do.

    Offering practical advice on how to live on a modest income is more constructive than ridiculing the choices required to do so.

    Okay, here's some for FREE: to be useful, a budget needs to have some link to reality.

  18. tigrismus3:29 PM

    Pshaw, she didn't need any help to become deceptive and evil.

  19. Matt Jones3:33 PM

    One wonders if McMegan is in on the "go long on pitchfork and torch manufacturers" hedge fund like this guy:

  20. BigHank533:37 PM

    Tell me more about this felching-for-bitcoins. I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

  21. BigHank533:40 PM

    Trust McArdle to throw out the baby along with the bathwater, then blame the people who told her that washing the kid was a good idea in the first place.

  22. TribalistMeathead3:40 PM

    Like many libertarians, all she needed was a father who got rich off of government contracts.

  23. Jay B.3:40 PM

    I'm torn between rooting for the meteor or the inevitable Year Zero program. Because we SUCK as human beings.

  24. tigrismus3:41 PM

    Yeesh, sounds like the guy is using the WSJ as the biggest megaphone ever to publicly mock his own son. Can't imagine why the son hasn't followed in pop's footsteps.

  25. commie atheist3:46 PM

    Math, in its infinite majesty, allows both the rich and poor to budget for their roughly equivalent income and expenses.

  26. verplanck3:48 PM

    note that in McMegan's budget, food isn't included. must have lived off 50-lb sacks of rice and beans.

  27. verplanck3:51 PM

    I tried the PIRG canvassing gig myself, and would call it soul-sucking, boring and tiring. I was never cut out to do a sales pitch, let alone door-to-door sales pitches. However, I was able to dissociate the shittyness of the job from the issues they were advocating for (in my case, neighbor notification of pesticide application).

  28. LookWhosInTheFreezer3:59 PM

    "while working two jobs slavery is tough, it’s not that uncommon."

  29. tigrismus3:59 PM

    Yeah, I noticed that food and clothes are to be taken out of the surfeit of disposable income(or maybe it's the "other"?). I also noticed if you subtract out the second job, the McD's job alone won't cover the already meager projected spending.

  30. tigrismus4:03 PM

    Or maybe they expect workers to provide themselves with "food" from work? It's not theft if it's baked into your salary!

  31. willf4:19 PM

    I thought liberals were agin notions of punishing a whole people for the actions of a few.

    I know this is gonna get me downvoted but I have to say it.

    The "where is our giant space meteor?" trope is the same thing as Xians wanting an apocalypse to kill off all the unrighteous -- with the exception that Xians think they will survive the apocalypse, and (some) liberals want everyone to die by meteor.

    I mean, I know, I know "It's just a joke". But a revealing one.

  32. willf4:21 PM

    Ah yes, "throwing the baby out w/ the bathwater", that's the "giant meteor" joke in a nutshell.

  33. willf4:23 PM

    RIght, I wondered if McGargle saw no difference between 800$ back when she was starting out, and $800 today.

    But I guess it wasn't central to her point so she ignored it.

  34. Of course, the $24k per year figure is factoring a second full time and less lucrative (!!) job, which itself is just good old McArdle style hand waving and figure conjuring. Unless McDonalds is also a placement agency now.

  35. Derelict4:43 PM

    And that's why having only $300 leftover in her paycheck was no big deal. With daddy helping out, she could have had zero leftover and STILL maintained her hobby torturing slugs with pink salt.

  36. Derelict4:50 PM

    On the whole, the McDonalds budget exercise has been very revealing about how lots of folks view the world. Many seem to fall into the camp of, "Well, people stuck working at min-wage jobs are stupid, and the only way to help them is to teach them budgeting skills." As though someone scratching out a living on minimum wage isn't already acutely aware of every dime they have and where it goes.
    And then there are those who seem to think that helping min-wage workers by raising the minimum wage to something more livable is too politically difficult, so it's not even worth considering, much less trying. Instead, we'll just built fantasy camps in our heads where being poor isn't all that bad--or being poor is a just punishment for being poor.
    And, finally, there are those of us who have been poor, and who know what it means to try to survive on nothing. We have that all-too-rare quality called empathy. And we'd like to help the poor by making the most profitable companies on the face of the Earth pay their employees a living wage--something that would not only benefit those employees, but would also benefit the companies in question over the longer term.

  37. marindenver4:56 PM

    OK, I'll bite. Revealing of what?

  38. Jay B.4:59 PM

    Actions of a few? Our society is manifestly unjust and its people are, in large part, unspeakably cruel. Our corporate masters suggest to their underpaid employees how to spend their money without including "heat" as an expense while adding in the income of a second job. We have an endless amount of people, conservative and "progressive" who think that's a noble endeavor. You're worried about a facetious comment -- which isn't ACTUALLY BASED IN A DOGMATIC BELIEF SYSTEM -- while ignoring the actual and larger point I was trying to make about the gamed society in which we live.

    But, for the record, I don't want a meteor and I ALSO don't think Irish babies would make a good meal, just so you don't worry.

  39. Every time someone glibly assumes that someone is eligible for SNAP, my head wants to explode! SNAP eligibility isn't hidden in a rune; there are charts available online. A quick look at one will tell you that, no someone making $24,000 per year isn't eligible for SNAP. Two people making that income aren't eligible. The limit for three people in Virginia, where I live, is $24, 828.00 which is the same for New York (I checked). A three person family earning $24,000.00 would probably receive about $20.00 per month. One person earning zero dollars in income receives $200.00 per month and two people with zero income receive $376.00.

    This is what these sociopaths in the Republican party want to cut. Bear in mind that you need a qualifying child to get any real money from the EITC; adults can receive the credit but the maximum for 2012 was $475.00. How do I know this? I checked. Like the food stamp information, the information is available online:,-Maximum-Credit--Amounts-and-Tax-Law-Updates

  40. Jay B.5:02 PM

    Did a giant meteor threaten you or something? Were you thrown out with the bathwater as a child? How are these the same things? I'm curious because you were outraged at my meteor post earlier and now are tying it in to a different trope.

  41. willf5:03 PM

    Revealing of the fact that they have this weird desire to see the whole thing go blooey.

    It's funny, I always thought that we wanted to make the world better, or at least not make it worse, but some apparently want the Earth to be destroyed because people suck.

    It it just seems so... "non-liberal" to want the whole thing to end just because there exist people who are assholes.

    Instead of "People are assholes, so the world should end" can't we turn it to "People are assholes, so let's try to correct for that"?

  42. willf5:10 PM

    I'm not actually worried about your facetious comment, I just think it's odd to joke about the planet being destroyed when you don't like the people at the top?

  43. Dr. Hunky Jimpjorps5:11 PM

    Sometimes people say things that are exaggerated for effect. It's a common literary trope called "hyperbole", similar to the way I'm exaggeratedly explaining what hyperbole is.

  44. willf5:12 PM

    It's not outrage, merely bemusement or bewilderment?

    You'd know if it was outrage, cuz there'd be more swearing.

  45. Not to mention, budgeting for lawyers to cover up for blowing up the economy.

  46. As usual, Roy is hating on librarians.

    What did books do to you, Roy???

  47. mgmonklewis5:31 PM

    We were evicted from our hole in the ground. We had to go live in a lake.

  48. BigHank535:31 PM

    Uh, it's a proverb that dates back at least 500 years:

    Whereas rooting for the giant meteor is pretty clearly black comedy:

    One of these things is not like the other. Links included because you seem to enjoy jumping to conclusions.

  49. Jay B.5:34 PM

    Instead of "People are assholes, so the world should end" can't we turn it to "People are assholes, so let's try to correct for that"?

    So the Year Zero approach. Why are you in favor of re-education camps and genocide?! [Faint]

    Or, you know, it's also just possible that its a "metaphor", not literal, but rather a symbolic way to try and explain that maybe it'd be best to start over in some way.

    You know, when a wealthy, hack columnist who writes for the billionaire mayor of New York's business magazine defends the miserly, faux-caring, odiously paternalistic approach to poverty...there's nothing really OK about that. It's sickening in every way. I do sometimes think that we, as a society are too far gone to give a shit, really, just how wrong it is. Instead we bitch about "tone" or "civility" or focus on the kind of fake, plainly stupid concerns you have about what I wrote — or whether crackpots think the righteous will remain while every one else burns — as opposed to the real and actual horrors around us.

    I'm sure you care deeply about "fixing" and "helping", but it gets dispiriting that volunteering, donating and voting really only goes so far, doesn't it?

  50. mgmonklewis5:34 PM

    Why use hyperbole when instead one can use Contrarianism, Holier-than-Thou-ism, Straw Men, and Bathos? (Not you, obviously; Willfy.)

  51. mgmonklewis5:35 PM

    So if the joke-teller employing hyperbole punched down instead of up, the joke would be fine?
    Humor, how does it work?

  52. mgmonklewis5:38 PM

    Figures of speech, how do they work?

  53. harumph6:11 PM

    Apparently she also doesn't see any difference between $750 today and $800 today. The graphic clearly says $750, but she just blatantly rounds that up to $800 in order to bolster her idiotic argument.

  54. ADHDJ6:13 PM

    "Why do you keep hitting yourself?"

  55. harumph6:13 PM

    She's an idiot. She thinks winter doesn't exist in the South because she's never been there.

  56. XeckyGilchrist6:36 PM

    For one thing, these are programs McArdle's fellow conservatarians are working hard to get rid of.

    Yeah, that reminded me of Romney's campaign-trail yap of "there'll always be the safety net."

  57. Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard7:00 PM

    "Let them eat quarter-pounders!"

  58. Gromet7:00 PM

    A while ago I started to wonder -- why don't we encourage companies to link the salaries of their highest- and lowest-paid employees? Maybe give any company a big fat tax break that yolked pay into a ratio, such that (say) the CEO could make at most 40 times as much as the guy on the bottom wrung. So if Starbucks is paying $6/hr to its barristas, it can pay... (math...) $499,200 to its CEO. It's easy to live on half a mil -- who could complain they were being robbed there? And this would grow the middle class, stabilize home prices, secure investment banks -- as far as I can tell, it would make our overall economy/nation stronger, and it certainly would take us back to boss/worker pay ratios more in tune with the ones in the US in the 1950s, which are obviously THE cultural gold standard to conservatives. So I can't see who'd complain... except the nation's CEOs? A fairly small number of voters, with essentially a selfish position...

    I'm obviously a crackpot. But a 40:1 ratio -- or 50:1, or even 100:1 -- would be better for us than what we've got now. What's the argument against it?

  59. I did similar work for Tom Hayden's group back in 1985. The pay was probably too low, and they depended on morale substituting for livable wages, but it was an interesting experience for someone with some skills as a salesman as I am.

    I got to see Jane Fonda and Margo Kidder close-up at a conference in LA.

    I amazed my fellow workers by talking to the latter for the few minutes it took to walk to the bus she was looking for. "Right over here, Ms. Kidder", and she turned and we chatted until she reached her transportation.

    Good times, good times.

  60. Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard7:01 PM

    While $800 a month is not a lot to have for clothes, entertainment, groceries and sundries, even taking inflation into account, that was a lot more than the disposable income I had when I first started at The Economist.

    It also helps to have a dad who sucked a lot of cash from the government teat.

  61. montag27:13 PM

    Oh, silly me. I should have known that MeMeMeMeMeMeMeMegan would weigh in on this Ronald McDonald hand job and defend it.

    After all, it's not only condescending, it's just more marketing horseshit. (I really want to see any one of MickeyD's marketing whizzes live on those hours and that take-home for, say, a year. With a crappy car (which is what you get for $150 a month and likely no down payment) and paying the sitter, and all the other emergencies that the working poor have no way of preparing for or defending against.)

    That exercise was nothing more than a con job. It's not our fault we pay you shit wages! You just need to manage those shit wages better! Hey, let's see if we can demoralize the help even more than we do with our soul-sucking, part-time shit work selling shitty food! Well, hell, they are serfs!

    Thirty years ago, someone should have beaten Ray Kroc about the head and shoulders with a giant bag of frozen hamburger patties for a couple of hours and, maybe, just maybe, he would have gotten the message when it counted.

    But, nobody did, and, look, now we have to beat MeMeMeMeMeMeMegan with a giant bag of pink Himalayan salt. Ignore a small problem and it will grow into a much bigger one.

  62. It's easy to live on half a mil -- who could complain they were being robbed there?

    All those people who repeatedly complain about how it's almost impossible to get by on a quarter of a mil? The hordes who denounced the top marginal federal income tax rate going back up a couple of percentage points as equivalent to the Holocaust? Right-libertarians?

    What's the argument against it?

    Freedom. Jesus didn't found America and part the Red Tea down at the harbor so that Big Government could grab all the Makers' hard-earned money and hand it to a bunch of darkie thugs in gold-plated diapers.

  63. LookWhosInTheFreezer7:50 PM

    The argument against it is: "Socialist!!" followed by some sort of trickle-down mumbo-jumbo with a heavy use of the words moocher, boot-straps and Hayek.

  64. Gromet7:51 PM

    You are correct -- these are the arguments against it!

    "What's my incentive to go to business school, work hard, and be a genius if the most I can get is complete comfort for myself and my family??" -- the hordes

  65. Gromet7:55 PM

    Argh, you're right! I keep forgetting two things!
    1) Every kid flipping burgers today, if he just works hard enough, will become CEO before he dies.
    2) We're not all in this together.

    Even so, I'ma gonna stick to my crackpot idea!

  66. DocAmazing8:08 PM

    Proposal: Salary caps for executives in any corporation receiving any government money, including space at military bases.

    If salary caps for athletes can be taken seriously, salary caps for necktie-wearing goofs who can't even sink a bucket should be no challenge.

  67. DocAmazing8:16 PM

    You jest, but back in my teen years I had a friend who worked at Mickey D's and was fired and threatened with arrest for eating a burger that a drive-through customer decided she didn't want.

    They won't feed you, and they won't pay you enough to feed yourself.

  68. DocAmazing8:17 PM

    being poor is a just punishment for being poor

    That sums up the corporate worldview beautifully. Thank you.

  69. Dear Socialist Worker:

    I never thought this would happen to me, but there I was, tied down by my own boot straps, as Salma Hayek prepared to mooch me all over. Whew, I'm trickling down again just thinking about it. Anyway, it all started with a cab ride to McDonald's ...

  70. In fairness, if your friend had simply waited until it ended up in the dumpster, it probably would have been okay.

  71. Ah, but what if the bucket is a metaphor for the global economy, smart guy?

  72. tigrismus9:16 PM

    LOOXURY. A lake is a hole with plumbing.

  73. Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard10:06 PM

    I've never viewed it as such. For me, the "where is the meteor" trope is a wry acknowledgment that we ourselves are responsible for an extinction event that will rival the K-T extinction event, while the dinosaurs that we deride as dumb brutes, destined for extinction, were innocent of blame. We have been in the midst of a mass extinction event, for which we are largely responsible, for the last 10,000 years. We are now at the point that we may be one of the species that will die off.

    We are our own giant meteor.

  74. Halloween_Jack10:12 PM

    There's this fellow named Jonathan Swift who wrote a decent fantasy book that you might want to read; please pay particular attention to the ending. If that doesn't help you get it, then by all means feel free to join my elderly aunt in forwarding every fucking picture of a cute dog on the internet to your Facebook feed.

  75. i want to felch this comment.

  76. Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard10:16 PM

    Is this a reference to Rev. Fred Felch of Westboro Baptist Church?

  77. Halloween_Jack10:16 PM

    I don't want to contemplate what MegMac shat out recently because I'm in a pretty good headspace right now, and I think that I'd like to keep it, maybe by playing Mass Effect, rather than by dwelling on the knowledge that she's so sadly predictable in her smugness and glibertarianism that I could practically write the fucking thing myself, and if that ain't gazing into the ol' abyss... Instead, since Roy linked to it, I'll snark a wee bit on Mr. McArdle's stunning revelation that Hollywood tends to be formulaic and self-imitative when it comes to blockbusters. Have a peep, it's quite precious.

  78. Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard10:18 PM

    I'm in a pretty good headspace right now, and I think that I'd like to keep it, maybe by playing Mass Effect

    I shall ruin your fun by referring to the game as MacEffect. You will now see blue-skinned alien McArdles throughout your play-through of the game.

  79. Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard10:19 PM

    I don't think she rounded it up to bolster her argument, I think she's just horrible at math and screwed up.

  80. Halloween_Jack10:22 PM

    Not a chance. She's a human vorcha if ever there was.

  81. Fats Durston10:25 PM

    So, many of these numbers don’t seem wildly unreasonable to me. The
    health-care line item [20$/month] obviously doesn't cover insurance or major medical problems; presumably, they’re assuming that you’re a young worker who maybe buys birth control or pays $100 to go to the doctor once or twice a

    First, assume a spherical cow-orker.

    Fucking Christ, how many fucking people who work more than sixty fucking hours a fucking week and eat McDonald's throw-outs to survive are fucking healthy? One or two medicines a year are not "wildly unreasonable" in a society that has discussed publicly for the last fucking decade about how health care costs have ballooned catastrophically? Which'll it be, this month, penicillin or birth control, poor person? Choose wisely now.

    Fuck you, McMegan, you fucking evil fuck.

  82. Spaghetti Lee10:38 PM

    But most athletes are, well, you know, urban.

    Actually, the weird thing about sports media is that there's a vocal contingent of people (Gregg Easterbrook and Colin Cowherd are two prominent examples) who are forever ragging on athletes for being rich, questioning their financial decisions, deriding them for being too materialistic, and so forth. Now, in context, it's mostly a bunch of racial dog-whistling, but still, wouldn't it be swell if our business and finance media had a similar attitude?

  83. Spaghetti Lee10:43 PM

    Honestly, Will may be overreacting, but I think he's got a point. At the very least, I roll my eyes when I hear people spend all election season complaining about poor white people 'voting against their own best interests!' while spending all of not-election season calling them morons, hicks, and goobers. That 'liberal elitist' meme, dumb as it is, has hung around so long for a reason.

  84. Spaghetti Lee10:54 PM

    Survival on such a lean budget is possible because people who do it are not trying to live the atomized life of an upper-middle-class college

    People who get paid like shit don't have upper-middle-class lifestyles? Lordy lordy! This is why she gets paid the big bucks, people, and why you all don't deserve anything more than McDonalds' wages!

    McArdle does this a lot, I've noticed: play on the insecurity that her upper class, well-off audience (I mean, you know, it's Bloomberg Business) has about their privilege and their possible concern for the less fortunate. McArdle, like Brooks, apparently thinks it's her job to squash such concern by subtly assuring those people that the poor are practically a different species who don't even have the same wants and needs. She turns concern for the downtrodden into something that should be avoided, as if it were a moral failing. It's like evil, opposite-day consciousness raising.

    You know, there's a word for people who have awful jobs and no prospect of future advancement, in part because they don't have education or credentials, and in part because the people who could help them don't consider them important enough to bother with. It's called a permanent underclass. Wage slave if you're feeling less euphemistic. Libertarians, of course, see the creation of such a class as right and necessary-who else will serve the Creatives in their castles?-which is why their first reaction to people getting paid $24,000 a year isn't "Oh God, that's awful" but "we've got them right where we want them.

  85. BigHank5310:55 PM

    Never mind that fact that (a) McDonald's will keep your on a part-time schedule forever, so they don't ever have to pay benefits, and (b) they'll shift your hours around so much you'd never be able to keep working that second job.

  86. Fats Durston11:07 PM

    The same woman who recommends the Thermomix on the xmas gift list, a machine which costs more than the annual savings projected by McDonald's "budget".

  87. Jay B.11:23 PM

    It's an odd critique to use in a post and thread dedicated to the fact that our overclass is idiotsplaining how budgets work to people who have to work two minimum wages jobs.

  88. Spaghetti Lee11:36 PM

    I think it's a parallel to the "If you need a job, there's always the North Dakota oil boom." argument. If you can't afford your heating bill, just move to Key West and find work there!

  89. billcinsd11:53 PM

    probably some more calculator problems. You know once they get gastritis they never go back

  90. Jimcima12:56 AM

    Yes, the twice a year $100 doctor appointment is amazing bullshit. Because a doctor would never have you come back for a follow-up or order any tests or prescribe a medication - no, he waves his magic doctor wand and heals you on the spot.

    And of course in reality land if you went to the doctor twice a year and he essentially tells you "you're OK, it will go away on it's own" every time how many of these $100 appointments would you continue to schedule? If you are a budget savvy poor person (like the cons demand you to be) and you need to decide between a useless doctor's appointment and some other actual need what exactly do they want you to do?

  91. Another Kiwi1:46 AM

    McArdle has seen the map of maccas as volcanos?

    Quite a lot of them are in big cities. To quote the map compiler Von Worley observes, "McDonald's cluster at the population centers and hug the highway grid."

  92. marindenver2:00 AM

    Assuming you took freshman composition, did they ever explain the term "metaphor"?

  93. redoubt2:09 AM

    They won't feed you, and they won't pay you enough to feed yourself.

    Yes, this. (From experience. Later at Pizza Hut, I was surprised I was actually allowed to eat.)

  94. Waffle_Man2:14 AM

    Why look things up when you can just make glib assumptions?

    I mean, it's not like McArdle gets paid for this. Right? RIGHT???

  95. AGoodQuestion2:17 AM

    Guess someone granted her permission to suck again.

  96. AGoodQuestion2:22 AM

    Yes, a coddled conservatarian is making money for telling everyone that fast food workers don't need any more money. Alanis Morrissette wrote a song about it called, "Fuck Irony, That Just Sucks."

  97. willf2:42 AM

    We are our own giant meteor.

    Oh. Ok.

  98. willf2:48 AM

    Damn did I NOT mean to start a blog flame war, I just wanted to point out something I thought was weird.

    So the Year Zero approach. Why are you in favor of re-education camps and genocide?!

    Didn't advocate for that but whatever.

    No I mean, I think McArful is a horrible person too.

    I do sometimes think that we, as a society are too far gone to give a shit, really, just how wrong it is.

    So you were serious?

  99. willf2:53 AM

    So Swift was trying to jolt people into thinking about things differently then they had. Swift was, in effect, making fun of the very things that are featured in McArful's post.

    Curious, how is the giant meteor joke like Swift? What is it satirizing?

  100. willf2:56 AM

    I think that's my line, here.

  101. horatius4:01 AM

    Who's we motherfucker?

  102. BadExampleMan4:54 AM

    I did similar work for the Citizen Action network in the early '80s. Fundraising by canvass was an attempt to develop a model of progressive activism that could be financially self-sustaining (canvassers were basically paid on comission, 40% of what we raised with a weekly minimum you had to make to keep your job) and responsible/responsive to the general public (if they didn't like what you were doing/promising to do, they wouldn't give you money).

    We worked mostly on utility rate reform and neighborhood-level environmental issues like brownfields. It was rewarding work but extremely stressful and the turnover rate was ridiculously high. There weren't enough other positions for canvassers to move into when they (inevitably) burned out on the grind of having to raise X dollars every night. So to that extent the experiment was a failure; we spent a tremendous amount of time and energy training people in public speaking, neighborhood organizing, fundraising, and issue awareness only to have them leave after three months or six months or a year because there was nowhere else in the organization we could put their skills to use.

  103. nanute5:04 AM

    With company provided debit cards! And don't forget to add the fromundercheese; no extra charge.

  104. toc0019:58 AM

    $0 for heat in Southern States, but $100's for air conditioning or the electricity for several fans and a refrigerator working overtime in a hot apartment. But don't worry, the elitists can opt to pay an extra $1 on their electric bill to help you out or suck up and take the nano second of guilt when they ignore that check box. Hell, if they're on auto-pay, they don't even see it.

  105. montag210:11 AM

    Oh, one way or another, the gummint pays for the lawyers. Legal fees are, of course, one of those externalities to be sloughed off on the taxpayers whenever possible.

  106. Halloween_Jack11:03 AM

    I was pointing you specifically toward the end of Gulliver's Travels, which features some of the same misanthropy that you seem to decry so vigorously. Sometimes, misanthropy is justified, when people are especially shitty toward one another.

  107. reallyaimai11:08 AM

    I'm surprised that the alicuratti missed the amazing torture shout out embedded in this McInsight piece (stolen from a baloon juice commenter,btw) --she implicitly excuses us from needing to be concerned about poverty because it "doesn't produce organ failure" or desth. That was the bush era bright line between what we are permitted to do to our prisoners and what we might have to feel slightly ashamed of having done. She is jokingly linking the oppression of starvation wages and abusive work practices to torture to make capitalism look better. It's classic mcmegan. Hyperbole in the service of servility is no vice.

  108. Excellent comment. Also, I have to point out... there are those of us who have never been poor, but we still have empathy for the poor... because we aren't authoritarians, nor are we delusional fucking libertarians.

  109. BG, ribbons in my hair11:58 AM

    How much you want to bet she had an expense account when she started at The Economist?

  110. glennisw12:01 PM

    "Keep in mind that most McDonald's workers don’t live close to New York City or Washington..." Oh, hell, no they're not! They're taking the train in from Flushing or Inwood to work that shitty job at the Mickey-D's on 6th Avenue in the Village.

  111. glennisw12:03 PM

    "Offering practical advice on how to live on a modest income is more constructive than ridiculing the choices required to do so."

    The thing that kills me about this is that people who live on a modest income (aka The Poors) already have quite a lot of expertise in managing their budgets - probably far more expertise than McMegan has. For them, it's a matter of survival, and drawing out their pittance to the end of the month is something that's on their minds all the time. They'd probably have a lot to teach her.

  112. glennisw12:07 PM

    That, and when the wage slaves choose to spend a little of their money on amusement or pleasure - a TV bought on credit, a manicure, or god forbid, a six pack of beer - the McMegan class chastises them for the indulgence. Christ, even the scullerymaid gets one day off a week so she can stroll up 5th Avenue and walk in the park, but look, look, she has a cell phone!

  113. RogerAiles12:11 PM

    $800 a month. Isn't that what McArdle spends on batteries?

  114. glennisw12:12 PM

    And don't forget to amend The Poors Budget to include the cost of your state-mandated drug testing, which is required to receive the benefit.

  115. KatWillow12:18 PM

    I thought liberals were agin notions of punishing a whole people for the actions of a few

    STRAW man. Where did you get that "idea"?

  116. BG, ribbons in my hair12:29 PM

    McArdle was born and raised in a VERY COMFORTABLE home. If she ever really needed money, I'm sure mummy and deddy would have been there to help out:

    McArdle was born and raised in New York City. Her father, Francis X. McArdle, was former managing director of the GCA (General Contractors Association of New York)[5] during the Koch, Dinkins, and Giuliani administrations. Her mother, Joan McArdle, was a real estate broker for Prudential Douglas Elliman.[6]

    She has an undergraduate degree in English Literature from the University of Pennsylvania.

    During her junior year, she worked as a canvasser for the Public Interest Research Groups, the nonprofit founded by Ralph Nader. Her experience there hurried along her “transition from ultraliberal to libertarian.” The organization was, she later wrote, “the most deceptive, evil place I've ever worked.”[7] She earned an MBA from University of Chicago's Booth School of Business.

  117. Jimcima12:30 PM

    It amazing McDonald's the giant multinational megacoporation doesn't have better accountants. If you wanted to give budget advice to the very poor shouldn't you inform them of tax regulations that would give them a significant government benefit like the Earned Income Tax credit?

    Why, it's almost like they don't want the them to take advantage of these regulations so that they had to have two low-paying jobs so McDonald's could maintain a vast pool of poor and desperate workers to exploit.

  118. BG, ribbons in my hair12:30 PM

    Maybe she has one that plugs into the wall.

  119. arcadesproject12:50 PM

    Is it an abridgment of Liberty Itself to pressure people to pay employees less?

  120. fraser12:58 PM

    Libertarian/Repub sock-puppet Ron Hart ran a column about how all tacky rich people (like rap stars and people who wear gold chains ... I think he was making some sort of point) are Democrats and classy rich people are obviously Republicans.

  121. whetstone12:59 PM

    Offering practical advice on how to live on a modest income is more constructive than ridiculing the choices required to do so.

    I'd missed this when I read Lee's thing before, but it's absolutely exquisite, and I will use it whenever labor issues rear their head: "Offering practical advice on how to live with black lung is more constructive than ridiculing the choices required to do so.."

  122. cwaltz1:06 PM

    What amuses me most about this pack is they are the first to scream that if these people want better than a minimum wage than they should get educated. They're also the loudest for screaming and hollering that students shouldn't go into debt without knowing whether or not they'll have the means to pay it back. So what I've been asking forever and a day is HOW THE FRACK ARE THEY SUPPOSED TO GET EDUCATED?- you want them to work 80 hour work weeks and even then after a year a minimum wage earner is barely going to be able to afford community college.

    Even in my area, a minimum wage earner can't get ahead(and I don't like in a metro)

    Income: 1100 a month for full time

    Rent (studio that includes heat and utilities) 390

    Food 160 (USDA thrifty plan)

    Internet/phone 100

    utilites 0 (included in rent)

    heat 0 (included in rent)

    other (clothing, shampoo, detergent) 80

    medical/dental 150 (assumes fine and 120 in rolling costs to cover dr vist or dental visit for cleanings)

    Savings (10% of income) 110
    Transportation 0 (you can't afford a car or insurance on your income-you'll need to walk for a couple years so you can buy a car outright and get liability- and when you do there goes the discretionary income)
    That leaves $100 in discretionary income. If you save that over a couple years you might be lucky enough to choose between a car or school. Whoopie!

  123. TGuerrant1:07 PM

    lulz... you do standup willfy?

  124. cwaltz1:08 PM

    The Subway near us fired someone for taking the cookies at the end of the day instead of throwing them away. Some bosses are pricks I guess.

  125. TGuerrant1:10 PM

    I think that comes with hash marks, like:

    Idiots' "logical" spectrum

  126. McBargle describes her trip to VA theme parks

    Almost none of those days, however, was spent standing in line. Being roller-coaster fans with an economic turn of mind, we were very excited to learn that both Busch Gardens and Kings Dominion offered customers the opportunity to jump the queue, for a price ranging from $20 per person (at Water Country USA, the Busch Gardens water park) to $55 for the roller coasters. This is real money, of course, but it wasn’t prohibitive; it was less than we were spending on hotels and food, or for that matter, the theme park tickets.

  127. TGuerrant1:14 PM

    Yaz. Iz much nicer than just saying, "Suck it up, loser."

  128. whetstone1:19 PM

    With a crappy car (which is what you get for $150 a month and likely no down payment)

    The clearest lesson about the economics of poverty I've ever heard is the Bottle Rockets' "$1000 Car": "Sink your money in it, and there you are/the proud owner of a two-thousand-dollar thousand-dollar car."

  129. TGuerrant1:20 PM

    And there were always the parental units.

    My fellow "poor students" got magnanimous deliveries of ancestral attic furniture when they busted out of the dorms and were challenged to find a working-enough-fridge they could put on the back porch for the food deliveries mom ordered for them during class hours/drunk elsewhere hours.

    Some of them even had cleaning crews supplied, plus bought-on-holidays wardrobes and charge-at-will family credit cards.

    It was cute for the family's holiday newsletter when they got rough and tumble joblettes -- canvassing or whatever -- but unpaid internships in posh firms were always easily viable and no car repair was ever unaffordable (and p.s. the kewl car was a gift in the first place).

    Not that they didn't whine. Of course they did. They just never showed up in the plasma-sales lines.

  130. cwaltz1:48 PM

    The whole entire thing was an exercise in lazy and if I were Visa, a company whose purpose is determining creditworthiness-or money experts, I'd have been ashamed to attach my name to it. It's like the higher ups at McD's got together after the strikes and decided that they could resolve all the complaining with a budget for the masses. Then when they got down to the nitty gritty they realized they couldn't and decided to bullshit their way through the exercise in a half ass manner. I don't know a single person who uses a budget that budgets food as a daily rather than monthly expense- hell the USDA prints what they consider a weekly cost to feed people is on their site. I also don't know a single responsible person who doesn't budget for regular expenditures like gas or car maintenance in their budgets. It's irresponsible. Why? Because budgets only work when you're honest about your expenses and spending. Seems to me the budget makers needed a class in how to budget.

  131. cwaltz1:57 PM

    That's where workers need to assert themselves. You fill out an availability sheet and then enforce it(You need daytime help? Great. I'll be available for you between 6am-5pm You need a night shift? Fine I can work a 6pm-12am Don't bother to expect me to show up before or after the hours I say I can work. And yes my daughter let an employer go that persistently ignored her availability and my son had to have an uncomfortable conversation where he reminded them that he was hired for a specific shift) . My daughter and son both have worked 2 to 3 jobs at present and in the past and when the employers attempted to schedule them beyond what they were scheduled they spoke up. For $7.25 an hour an employer doesn't get to own your life.

  132. montag22:14 PM

    That's why this whole exercise just adds insult to injury.

  133. montag22:19 PM

    Being roller-coaster fans with an economic turn of mind....

    Being economic roller coaster fans with a sadistic turn of mind....

  134. DocAmazing2:25 PM

    Let them eat cotton candy.


    Let them barf cake.

  135. TomParmenter2:25 PM

    "In Dixieland where I was born in, early on one frosty mornin'".

    Never happened says climatologist/chef/home economist.

  136. DocAmazing2:30 PM

    No gold-chain-wearing rap star could ever hold a candle to Republican Donald Trump for pure, unfiltered tackiness.

  137. DocAmazing2:33 PM

    Get the rest of the $7.25/hr workers on your shift to agree with you and stand together, and you're on to something.

  138. Joe Vecchio2:48 PM

    I'm still trying to figure out where she gets $24,000 from. At $8 an hour your take home pay will be closer to $13,000 after taxes, even if you assume rent of $500 a month, that's about half of that gone already, and every $5 a day you spend on food is another $1,800. And keep in mind that unless you live on ramen and rice, $5 ain't very much, you couldn't even live on that using McD's Dollar Menu.

  139. montag24:00 PM

    She's referring to the original income figure for two part-time jobs in the Ronald McDonald handy-dandy fuck-you budget, which was something like $23K and change. I guess she rounded up because employers are always doing that for her....

  140. XeckyGilchrist4:45 PM

    I'm still trying to figure out where she gets $24,000 from.

    In her station in life, searching the couch cushions will do it.

  141. ADHDJ5:08 PM

    Well, it's not going to stick it to the man or change anything.

    Larry Ellison makes $1 in salary... and $90M a year in stock options.

    Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil, makes $2.5M in salary and another $40M in non-salary compensation: options, stock grants, use of free company shit, etc.[]=244&i[]=240&i[]=235&i[]=239&i[]=241&f=all&s[]=sal

    Some of that is not taxed at all, the rest of it is taxed at the long term capital gains rate. So that's what CEO's currently prefer.

    Rex Tillerson is just going to work for $1M in salary and $41.5M in other compensation instead.

  142. LutherQBlissett5:39 PM

    Perhaps for her 2013 gift guide, she can helpfully include alongside the price how many McDs hours one would have to work to afford it.

    Although that does involve division.

  143. redoubt5:41 PM

    Gastritis Broke My Thermomix

  144. LutherQBlissett5:42 PM

    Duh. They're getting their free healthcare by lining up outside a stadium for 12 hours for one of those things where doctors offer pro bono checkups.

    Oh, I forgot, they're working 76 hour weeks where if the manager calls you in for a shift on short notice, you'd better be there fast.

  145. Halloween_Jack5:54 PM

    This is horribly common corporate policy. Some bright-eyed son of a bitch at HQ believes that letting the proles have the leftovers will encourage deliberate overpreparation of food and cut into their profits, so they insist on the franchises throwing away enough food each to feed a family, every night. When I worked as a janitor at Target, not only were we forbidden from taking aluminum pop cans for recycling, but we couldn't even eat chocolate that had "expired." (Like most candy, chocolate really doesn't go bad, at least by the official expiration date, because of the sugar content.) Of course, in the rare job that did allow workers to have leftovers, we then had to not-literally-but-there-were-days-when-it-almost-came-to-that fight over the scraps, in the manner of peasants jousting over used trenchers.

  146. Halloween_Jack5:57 PM

    Well, there's the sort of personal deficit that ends up being a benefit for a particular person, in that it's-a-feature-not-a-bug-especially-when-writing-for-Bloomberg kind of way.

  147. Yeah, but you're a rare and endangered breed.

  148. Spaghetti Lee5:59 PM

    Given McArdle's age, she "started out" in the mid-late 90s. The price of fucking gasoline on its own is enough to make any equivalency between $800 circa 1996 and $800 today not worth the trouble. The woman is a serial liar. I wouldn't trust her to work a lemonade stand without trying to cheat someone.

  149. Sgaile-beairt6:10 PM

    ....jesus fuck....!!

  150. Sgaile-beairt6:11 PM

    duplicate mulitple redundancy alert!!!

  151. Your lack of reading comprehension? What a metaphor is? Oh, you got a headstart on mangling that one. The worst part is you trying to draw a fuckin' parralel between someone making an expression of honest disgust, like: "Fuck this world!" and people who would actually welcome a literal end to the world. Maybe you're just an innocent naif but I don't buy it for a second.

  152. Let's start with you, then. Stop the piglet-in-the-woods-act.

  153. I am cowed yet honored to bask in your glory.

  154. Gromet6:59 PM

    Yeah, I don't know how you'd quantify/qualify extra-salary stuff, but seems you could make that part of the ratio, or of a different ratio -- for every 100 shares of stock CEO Rex gets, Hourly Joe gets 1 share. Would Rex work less hard? I don't know what motivates people at that level -- I'd think to some extent simple pride in kicking ass at running an empire, so he'd work just as effectively for $7 million as for $40 million. I know better what motives Hourly Joe -- if he had stock in the company, he'd take his responsibilities more seriously. Someone who really knows how the top tier is compensated would have to figure this out, and there will always be inequities, but you could tighten it. (Here's an example of inequity that McArdle is not considering with her Let Them Eat Cake budget advice: When I made $6/hr in a cafe, I was allowed to eat there at 30 percent off -- huzzah; one day some VPs visited from HQ and my boss told me to lay out a spread of food for them, gratis. Sure! Let the guys who make $90k/yr eat a free lunch, but charge their fellow employees making $12k. Meh, I didn't resent it too hard; I just resolved to steal as much food as I could from then on. #RobinHoodEthics #JeanValjean #Sorry)

  155. Gromet7:15 PM

    Also, I should clarify, Robin Hood crack aside: I have no "stick it to the man" goals. I just want stability and peace for the long-term success of the USA. Which I think is best for the world, as I am an old-fashioned patriot. And a "we're all in this together" mentality comes sorta naturally to me. I do, however, sometimes resent it when I see that precept being trashed; I've met some verrrrry rich people and they are kind of fucked up in how they view the world which casts doubt on how universal my understanding of humanity is; and the rampant materialism that is sometimes celebrated as "the American way" strikes me as a rot we might be happier to shake off (though even there my concerns are not moral or spiritual but pragmatic: the more money that gets into any system, the more that system warps to please the people who stand to profit from it--which is a problem when we're talking about journalism, health care, voting rights, and war, to name a few).

  156. Wait, that almost sounds like a union! Why would you defecate on the flag by suggesting suck anathema!

  157. And way to flub it.

  158. tigrismus7:58 PM


  159. Megs knows of which she speaks when talkin' 'bout the poors.

    Her recent column was lamenting about a "friend" who might have difficulty paying the gift taxes on a write-off of her student loans... of $650,000. So you know she's, as usual, jus' looking out for the little guy. "Poor" thing-having to absorb that gift tax hit from getting a write off of more than 27 years of "not princely" gross wages of people that work 70 hours a week!

    I generally take anything that propaganda organ says with a grain of pink Himalayan salt.

  160. What's your example?


  162. True, but that's not really what's up here.

  163. r€nato9:26 PM

    I live in fucking Arizona, and even in fucking Arizona there are 3 months in which one needs to be able to afford heating.

    Is there ANY sort of capitalist exploitation which glibertarians won't defend?

    I hereby sentence Megan McArdle to spend one year working the grill at McDonald's,

  164. billcinsd9:32 PM

    I'd maybe go with Sam Vimes' Boot's Theory of Economic Injustice, but they are more or less the same thing

  165. Chocolate Covered Cotton4:15 AM

    I'm still holding out hope for a zombie apocalypse.

    (I am not actually hoping for a zombie apocalypse. I am making a dark joke using hyperbole to express my exasperation with the current socio-economic environment and my own lack of hope for imminent improvement.)

  166. srinija roy4:26 AM

    i love McDonald's fast food

  167. cambridgemac8:41 AM

    Facts are for libtards. Conservative "journalists" and "thinkers" don't need them.

    Oh, and giving free meals, country club memberships, and zero interest loans to wealthy predator capitalists - those aren't entitlements, nor do they corrupt the morals of the managerial class. But letting a youngster - or a SENIOR (a quarter of the MdDonalid's workers in my area) - eat unused food, now THAT encourages entitlement thinking. And moral corruption.

  168. FlipYrWhig10:54 AM

    Propaganda organ failure.

  169. Kathleen11:34 AM

    Shorter Meeeegan McCurdle: "Why, a family of 4 can live quite comfortably in a refrigerator box, especially if the children are 3 or 4 or younger, as they can hold their breath to make more room ((provided they aren't obese from living on junk food because their parents would rather buy beer than broccoli)".

  170. cwaltz12:24 PM

    It's a round robin whine fest for the conservatives and libertarians and the typical game of move the goalpost. First they complain that the unemployed need to get a job, ANY job, just get off the government dole(because apparently they are unfamiliar with the concept that unemployment is an EARNED benefit.) The when people take "any job" then they complain about how unfair it is that these people dare to ask for enough to live off of without having to beg for government scraps. So they start whining that what these people need is an education. So then some of these people who don't make enough go out and get an education and end up racking up debt and then they whine about THAT too. "No one told you to go into debt." Uh yeah you did when you told someone that in order to earn an actual living they'd need to get an education you libertarian and conservative jackasses.

  171. PulletSurprise1:58 PM

    Wealthy daddy = the original social safety net.

  172. reallyaimai5:05 PM

    The lucky duckies! Wi wish someone would give *me* free healthcare!

  173. KatWillow5:44 PM

    She wouldn't last 1 hour there. Remember, she has asthma (and smokes). True story: I only lasted 1 shift at Burger King, and I was young & healthy, used to physical labor.

  174. KatWillow5:46 PM

    But could they afford Scotchguard to weather-proof the box? Probably not, and it would get all soggy in the rain. Arglebargle would say they ought to have put plastic trash bags over the box.

  175. Magatha6:46 PM

    And let's not even broach the subject of dental care. Most folks I know who are low-income to moderate income either don't have dental insurance, or get limited benefits from their plans. And yet neglecting dental care can have make you terribly vulnerable to more systemic illnesses, and pain from untended dental problems cuts into productivity (plus it hurts like fuck and that counts for something even if you are not McMegan), and guess what it also does? Lack of dental care eventually shows up when you open your mouth, and missing, discolored, and otherwise unhealthy dentition stigmatizes a person so profoundly that you can kiss (or wave) most of your upward mobility dreams good-bye.

  176. Kathleen7:16 PM

    I respectfully disagree. McCurdle would consider the rain "plumbing" (running water and all, you see). She would continue, "Leaks are not a big deal at all. When I was staying at the Ritz Carlton a small leak developed in the bathroom but a guy who looked not American (unlike the guy I always use) fixed it quickly."

  177. Goodjoke . Another Horse meat recall ... the minium payment does not get increase who eat horse meat teasing.

  178. Goodjoke : of Right Wing politics. Which GOP politican may effect him to run for 2016 as GOP forcing him to run for president that Chris Christie. I apologize. As some right winger say does eat too much fast food only linked teasing..

  179. JennOfArk11:39 PM

    Make that "short-fingered vulgarian" Republican Donald Trump.
    (I'm of the firm opinion that "Donald Trump" should always be preceded by "short-fingered vulgarian." Just one of the gifts bestowed upon us by the late, great, Spy magazine.)

  180. whetstone5:32 PM

    Holy moses.

    The economic elite used to just buy more of the things we all enjoyed.
    Now they have access to a different set of experiences entirely. No,
    that’s not quite true -- of course the rich used to be able to afford
    better vacations and nicer cars. But increasingly they’re enjoying an
    exclusive version of the things we all do -- right there in front of us,
    where we can resent them for it.

    "I grew up rich, in New York, but I wasn't aware of the deleterious effects of income inequality until I didn't buy a 'Quick Queue' pass at Busch Gardens."

  181. frightwig10:02 PM

    Where did she get the idea that hourly workers at McDonald's are taking home $24,000 a year from the job?

    At $8.25/hr, if your employer will give you 40 hours a week, you'll get paid $16,500, pre-tax, after 50 weeks. In my experience, restaurant managers try to schedule workers for 35 hours or less, because they want to avoid paying overtime. To get to $24,000 at minimum wage, you'd either have to convince the manager to give you 12 hours of overtime each week (good luck), or you're working two jobs at about 60 hours a week.

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