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Old July 18 2013, 08:25 AM   #31
Miss Chicken
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Re: Sample McDonalds Budget

Tora Ziyal wrote: View Post
I don't know if anyone else went and looked at this in context, but I did, and it appears to me that it is just a sample of how to create a budget using their tools. I don't think it's meant as a suggested budget at all. And the how-to-budget info is actually quite good.
I think that they should at least have done a realistic sample budget and I do think that if showing that a second job is needed was not neccessarily the wisest thing that they did.
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Old July 18 2013, 01:38 PM   #32
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Re: Sample McDonalds Budget

Well the budget doesn't have much wiggle room for those unforseen issues like car maintenance and repair, personal property taxes or any medical or dental care. You would be one emergency away from not being able to pay your bills. Risky.
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Old July 18 2013, 02:56 PM   #33
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Re: Sample McDonalds Budget

IndyJones wrote: View Post
But arguing about the numbers here is totally missing the point. About 1/3 of American workers live on this kind of money and make it work. Let's not pretend they don't. Do they live like most of us? Probably not. But they're doing it. And some of the richest men in the country are arguing that they're making too much money.
The only way anyone "makes it work" is through sheer luck. If anything unforeseen happens, you're screwed. I sure learned that one the hard way.

But you are right that arguing the numbers is pointless. I mentioned this in another thread about the Koch brothers. Conservatives put out information like this because they know their opponents are easily baited by statistics. Throw some statistics out there and you'll get people to waste their time determining why the stats are right or wrong, or creating their own. All the while, the conservatives who sourced the data in the first place are just moving along with their agenda to gut the middle class and make working class life as miserable as possible in order to enrich themselves. One of the shrewdest things they do is convince middle class people that poor people are ripping them off--and that's the real effect examples like this budget have. "Look at that, seems someone can live just fine on McDonald's money! Guess we don't need welfare or food stamps or Medicaid, then. Screw those lazy-ass poors who just won't step up, I don't want my tax money supporting them."

It's a clever trick and most people in this thread (including me) fell for it.

I just have to remind myself: the only way to win is not to play the game.
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Old July 18 2013, 05:24 PM   #34
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Re: Sample McDonalds Budget

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
IndyJones wrote: View Post
But arguing about the numbers here is totally missing the point. About 1/3 of American workers live on this kind of money and make it work. Let's not pretend they don't. Do they live like most of us? Probably not. But they're doing it. And some of the richest men in the country are arguing that they're making too much money.
The only way anyone "makes it work" is through sheer luck. If anything unforeseen happens, you're screwed. I sure learned that one the hard way.

But you are right that arguing the numbers is pointless. I mentioned this in another thread about the Koch brothers. Conservatives put out information like this because they know their opponents are easily baited by statistics. Throw some statistics out there and you'll get people to waste their time determining why the stats are right or wrong, or creating their own. All the while, the conservatives who sourced the data in the first place are just moving along with their agenda to gut the middle class and make working class life as miserable as possible in order to enrich themselves. One of the shrewdest things they do is convince middle class people that poor people are ripping them off--and that's the real effect examples like this budget have. "Look at that, seems someone can live just fine on McDonald's money! Guess we don't need welfare or food stamps or Medicaid, then. Screw those lazy-ass poors who just won't step up, I don't want my tax money supporting them."

It's a clever trick and most people in this thread (including me) fell for it.

I just have to remind myself: the only way to win is not to play the game.

very accurate analysis
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Old July 18 2013, 05:40 PM   #35
Tora Ziyal
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Re: Sample McDonalds Budget

Miss Chicken wrote: View Post
Tora Ziyal wrote: View Post
I don't know if anyone else went and looked at this in context, but I did, and it appears to me that it is just a sample of how to create a budget using their tools. I don't think it's meant as a suggested budget at all. And the how-to-budget info is actually quite good.
I think that they should at least have done a realistic sample budget and I do think that if showing that a second job is needed was not neccessarily the wisest thing that they did.
Not saying that it was a wise choice of numbers -- it wasn't. But many people are making this thing out to be something it was never intended to be.

I've taught life skills classes that included budgeting, and the figures in the samples I saw were never very realistic. Just like "word problems" in math, where the numbers may not be realistic for the storyline.
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Old July 18 2013, 05:56 PM   #36
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Re: Sample McDonalds Budget

I would question the value in presenting people with a "sample" budget that admits to not being realistic.

If you're going to teach people to budget, is it so hard to provide an actual budget that a real person lives on?
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Old July 18 2013, 06:01 PM   #37
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Re: Sample McDonalds Budget

The value of the sample, even when unrealistic, is that it shows you the process, the mechanics of filling out a form to create a budget. Which is all it's intended to do. I agree, it would be better to use more realistic numbers, but even the unrealistic ones serve the purpose.
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Old July 18 2013, 06:17 PM   #38
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Re: Sample McDonalds Budget

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
I would question the value in presenting people with a "sample" budget that admits to not being realistic.
But again, other than the healthcare component, what's so unrealistic here?

$0 for heating? It's possible. We could be talking about the south, or it could be provided by the landlord.

The fact that food and clothing and gas aren't included? Well, it gives people $900/month for that (the $800 spending money plus the $100 in savings).

Someone mentioned property taxes. Really? Isn't it more unreasonable to criticize them for not including property taxes than it is to assume a significant number of these minimum wage workers would never be able to become property owners in the first place?

Once again: I think a guy working 80 hours a week in this country should be able to live significantly better than this, but that's not the case. So why waste energy on the budget rather than on the system that requires such budgeting?
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Old July 18 2013, 07:08 PM   #39
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Re: Sample McDonalds Budget

How long would someone working at McDonald's be expecting to earn minimum wage? I'm asking, not sure I've got a reference point there, as never worked there. Assume you're 19 or 20, high school diploma, and generally show up on time and aren't a fuckup. I wouldn't think minimum wage would be your permanent wage, there should be raises over time, no? My high school/summer job started me pretty close to minimum, but while working there a few years, got several bumps up and was making a few bucks an hour more than when I started. Grocery store vs. fast food, but still.

And yes, home ownership at that salary is a dumb assumption, and not worth discussing. You can MAYBE work out kids, but spouse needs to also work full time, and there's likely assistance of some sort involved at that point, too.

Gets back again to the question i keep trying to ask: what's the minimum expectation? If your primary attribute is "generally shows up, (probably) has high school diploma", SHOULD we be talking about houses, vacations, etc.? Argue how much the cable tv bill really is, but it's stupid and irresponsible if someone in this position actually HAS that bill, should be watching broadcast TV and saving the money to try and do more important things. HBO isn't a necessity. Cell phone? maybe, but gotta be a cheap one.

Not voting for 'starve on the street', but if we're talking the bare minimum of entry level work, it kinda SHOULD be the bare minimum of reward for that work, no? It would be great if everyone was rewarded with a minimum $40k/year salary, but it's not realistic.
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Old July 18 2013, 07:27 PM   #40
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Re: Sample McDonalds Budget

^There's always going to be people that aren't suited for much more than a minimum wage crap job like this. I'd rather they not have it so shitty that they ponder robbing the rest of us.

And yeah, I think given productivity gains over the years it's a reasonable expectation that if you put in a little effort in a job, that you'll get things like basic health care, some spending money, and the ability to take vacations to keep you sane.
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Old July 18 2013, 07:52 PM   #41
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Re: Sample McDonalds Budget

Looks like there's been some backlash against this budget.
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Old July 18 2013, 07:53 PM   #42
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Re: Sample McDonalds Budget

These are all ridiculously low estimates except for rent.
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Old July 18 2013, 08:05 PM   #43
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Re: Sample McDonalds Budget

Scout101 wrote: View Post
How long would someone working at McDonald's be expecting to earn minimum wage? I'm asking, not sure I've got a reference point there, as never worked there. Assume you're 19 or 20, high school diploma, and generally show up on time and aren't a fuckup. I wouldn't think minimum wage would be your permanent wage, there should be raises over time, no? My high school/summer job started me pretty close to minimum, but while working there a few years, got several bumps up and was making a few bucks an hour more than when I started. Grocery store vs. fast food, but still.

And yes, home ownership at that salary is a dumb assumption, and not worth discussing. You can MAYBE work out kids, but spouse needs to also work full time, and there's likely assistance of some sort involved at that point, too.

Gets back again to the question i keep trying to ask: what's the minimum expectation? If your primary attribute is "generally shows up, (probably) has high school diploma", SHOULD we be talking about houses, vacations, etc.? Argue how much the cable tv bill really is, but it's stupid and irresponsible if someone in this position actually HAS that bill, should be watching broadcast TV and saving the money to try and do more important things. HBO isn't a necessity. Cell phone? maybe, but gotta be a cheap one.

Not voting for 'starve on the street', but if we're talking the bare minimum of entry level work, it kinda SHOULD be the bare minimum of reward for that work, no? It would be great if everyone was rewarded with a minimum $40k/year salary, but it's not realistic.


your incredulity is really a sign of the changed economic environment that we live in now. There was a time, not too long ago, that a person with nothing more than a high-school diploma COULD indeed find a blue-collar job that required no specific skill and yes, they could support themselves, even a family, and afford to save money and go on vacations.

This was during the great post-WWII economic boom, prior to the collapse of unions, globalization, de-regulation, and the onset of wage stagnation. It's not like there's some iron-clad rule of economics that those without a college degree who have low-skill jobs are doomed to crappy pay, we've just chosen policies that make that the case.
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Old July 18 2013, 08:14 PM   #44
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Re: Sample McDonalds Budget

You can blame whichever segment you like, but you're (for the most part) talking about things like factory jobs, no? For whichever reason you like to choose, the US really just doesn't MAKE things anymore, or not really. Even in the golden age of 1950s America, I'm not sure the entry-level fast-food equivalent worker was going home to a house in the 'burbs. If all you qualify for (or aspire to) is the bare minimum, I really don't see the cause for uproar when that's all you receive in return.

The US has pretty well ruined our economic model, yes. There's still money in tech jobs, and anything involving intellectual property, but outside of that, things have shrunk so that the only big segment left is Service Industry. There are various levels of that, but it's not the easy highway to the comfortable blue-collar lifestyle we used to have, completely agree.

And since we decided that a college degree was the big thing, pretty much EVERYONE goes now, so if you don't, you barely qualify for the entry level wage now. It used to be that having the degree set you apart, now NOT having one does, and having one really doesn't buy you much unless you picked a good one, and got decent grades while doing so. Advanced degrees are now the thing that gets you above the pack. Even that is being watered down as people avoid the job market and become degree-collectors/career students instead.

Not sure where to go with that, other than restate that the bare minimum is now more than it used to be. More competition, fewer jobs. If you're trying to get by on the OLD minimum, it's going to be rough at best, and it shouldn't be a shock.

Maybe this is one of the areas where my 'Republican' shows a bit, but you're not just OWED a comfortable life for showing up. Gotta do something to earn it. When there's increased competition and fewer opportunities, you have to work harder, not just complain that it's not as easy. No one owes you a nice life or a house with cable tv.
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Old July 18 2013, 09:59 PM   #45
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Re: Sample McDonalds Budget

Scout101 wrote: View Post
You can blame whichever segment you like, but you're (for the most part) talking about things like factory jobs, no? For whichever reason you like to choose, the US really just doesn't MAKE things anymore, or not really. Even in the golden age of 1950s America, I'm not sure the entry-level fast-food equivalent worker was going home to a house in the 'burbs. If all you qualify for (or aspire to) is the bare minimum, I really don't see the cause for uproar when that's all you receive in return.

The US has pretty well ruined our economic model, yes. There's still money in tech jobs, and anything involving intellectual property, but outside of that, things have shrunk so that the only big segment left is Service Industry. There are various levels of that, but it's not the easy highway to the comfortable blue-collar lifestyle we used to have, completely agree.

And since we decided that a college degree was the big thing, pretty much EVERYONE goes now, so if you don't, you barely qualify for the entry level wage now. It used to be that having the degree set you apart, now NOT having one does, and having one really doesn't buy you much unless you picked a good one, and got decent grades while doing so. Advanced degrees are now the thing that gets you above the pack. Even that is being watered down as people avoid the job market and become degree-collectors/career students instead.

Not sure where to go with that, other than restate that the bare minimum is now more than it used to be. More competition, fewer jobs. If you're trying to get by on the OLD minimum, it's going to be rough at best, and it shouldn't be a shock.

Maybe this is one of the areas where my 'Republican' shows a bit, but you're not just OWED a comfortable life for showing up. Gotta do something to earn it. When there's increased competition and fewer opportunities, you have to work harder, not just complain that it's not as easy. No one owes you a nice life or a house with cable tv.

yes I was talking about factory jobs, but there's nothing magical or special about them that made them so great for workers-there were two factors-they were heavily unionized and they were stable jobs that provided folks a measure of security.

You're right about where our economy is going-two-tiered, where you've got a small number of really good tech jobs or "creative class" jobs and a large amount of service sector jobs that don't pay well and have crappy benefits. Part of the solution is to drive for unionization of service sector jobs, but globalization makes this a different envoronment so that those jobs might just disappear if that happened.


You can go on about how "workers aren't owed a decent living," and I guess you're right, strictly speaking. But our current model is unsustainable. You can't say "everyone needs college" and then make college unaffordable, or de-value the worth of degrees. What next? Everyone needs Ph.D.s?


And from a national economic standpoint, you need workers with money in their pockets to buy products and services.
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