Richsplaining

Earlier this week I linked to a report on McDonald’s proposed budget for a typical worker. Well, typical if he’s working a 72 hour week.
This LGM post pushes back against Kevin Drum and Tim Lee, who argue that it’s probably intended as a sample budget, not a blueprint; that teaching people budgeting is helpful; and that it’s not unrealistic (Drum adds that raising the minimum wage is the best way to deal with the problem of underpaid workers, not mocking McDonalds); and that if it is, well that’s the world many McDonalds workers live in. One of the commenters refers to this defense as “richsplaining” from two guys who haven’t had to live at that level in a long time. Another LGM poster suggests shaming corporations that underpay workers is more effective than fighting to raise the federal minimum wage, given the Republicans will block any attempt.
Paul Campos points out the patronizing assumption that poor people are poor because they don’t know the value of a dollar and can’t add things up. I will freely admit that I’ve made lots of bad impulse purchases I couldn’t afford in times past, but it wasn’t because I didn’t know how to budget. And the periods I’ve refused to go splurge, stuffed myself at salad-bar lunches so I could skip dinner, etc. far outweigh the stretches where I made bad decisions. So I’m with Campos (contrary to Megan McArdle who believes poor people are all poor because they make bad life decisions and would end up just as poor even if they had money).
Consumerist gets the scoop from real McDonald’s employees, who aren’t any more impressed than I am.
The second LGM link makes another good point, that making ends meet part-time is increasingly difficult as scheduling becomes more and more unpredictable: Number of hours, shifts, etc. may depend on your manager, whether business suddenly dropped off and so on. That makes it even tougher, as NPR says, to hold down two jobs: If you don’t have a consistent schedule on Job A, you can’t free up time for Job B.
As someone who worked a lot of part-time gigs in the past, that’s pretty truthful. If you have a boss who wants to work with you (thank you, Carol!) it’s not too bad. If your boss just ignores everything you tell him about when you can’t be there, it’s a disaster.
Richsplaining is a bad, bad thing.

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Filed under economics, Politics

5 responses to “Richsplaining

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