Each McDonald's French fry is a tiny, fat-drenched drone missile aimed directly at the American cardiovascular system. One can only imagine how much of our nation's runaway health care costs are traceable to this one corporation alone.
And we're subsidizing its health care, rather than the other way around.
In 2012 McDonald's had a gross profit of more than $10 billion on annual revenues of $27 billion. That's up more than 12 percent from 2010. The lard business is good.
Visa, which for some reason has been spared most of this week's online fury, deserves its own share of negative attention. As the financial half of this website team, Visa presumably provided the handiwork which reminds struggling fast-food employees that "every day and every dollar make a difference."
Visa, like McDonald's, is a coddled corporation. A government less corrupted by Big Money would have broken up this monopolistic enterprise long ago, especially given its tendency to abuse its marketplace dominance.
Visa was originally created by one fraud-ridden and bailed out megabank, Bank of America, and continues to enrich another. And, as CNN Money reported, its 2008 IPO "created a nice windfall for its owners, including its largest shareholder JPMorgan ... about $1.3 billion on its 29 million shares."
JPM made the headlines with yet another major fraud just this morning, adding piquancy to the knowledge that it bleeds us a little every time we swipe a credit card or debit card. And yet these two corporate anti-heroes have performed a great service by making the case so beautifully:
Americans can't live on today's minimum wage.
With a side of cynicism
If the minimum wage had kept pace with productivity it would now be $16.54 per hour, according to the Center for Economic Policy Research. It would be $10.74 if it had merely kept pace with inflation -- although McDonald's and VISA have now demonstrated that this isn't enough to live on either. (The minimum wage is currently $7.25.)
That adds an extra dose of cynicism to the website's observation that "You can have almost anything you want as long as you plan ahead and save for it."
That lie carries a special sting for the millions who have been locked out of the American Dream. Thanks to the deliberate policy decisions of the last four decades -- breaks and giveaways for corporations, coupled with lost income for the majority -- social mobility and income fairness have plunged in this country.
No matter how much you try to save on a minimum wage, a better life will remain beyond your means -- until something changes.
Are there no roommates? Are there no malt shops?