By Bill Maher
Earlier this month, hundreds of New York City fast food workers walked off their jobs and picketed in front of restaurants, demanding a living wage. All that was left inside were the customers and the rats.
It used to be that the fast food jobs were the extra jobs kids would do to earn some money for gas and weed, so they weren't using up all of Mom and Dad's. The rest of us worked the actual jobs jobs. But now the economy is such that the fast food jobs are the jobs jobs. The median age of a fast food worker is now over 28. Moms and dads, whose decent-paying jobs have been downsized or outsourced, are now working the counter at McDonald's. Full time, that's just about $16,000 a year, or just enough for you and your family to live in one of the nicer refrigerator boxes.
Last month, Senator Elizabeth Warren made the case for a living wage at a Senate committee hearing:
"If we started in 1960 and we said that as productivity goes up, that is as workers are producing more, then the minimum wage is going to go up the same. And if that were the case then the minimum wage today would be about $22 an hour. So my question is... with a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, what happened to the other $14.75? It sure didn't go to the worker."
One fair way to narrow the wealth gap is to make the hugely profitable fast food companies pay more and profit less. When we don't force huge fast food corporations to pay a living wage, yes, their profits go up (McDonald's profits were up 130% during the recession) and their stockholders benefit -- but their employees need to go on public assistance and we, the taxpayers, end up footing the bill.
Why should I have to finance some rich prick's McDonald's Corporation stock staying at 99.34 instead of 97.86?