Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Whitewashing the Underclass

With the propaganda push to focus on income inequality (not the real problem, job creation or even capex investments or wealth inequality), everyone is getting into the find a victim and spotlight their plight articles. The McDonald's fast food strike or walkout fits perfectly into the income inequality campaign. It has elements the left loves: low paid common man workers, an evil well paid manager crew, wait no, uhhh, evil shareholders collecting dividends and amassing capital gains and best of all for the media, smiling minority faces can be portrayed as victims for pity points. Forbes decided to run an edited transcript of a conversation with an example of a minimum wage employee of McDonald's so you the reader can understand her struggle and support more liberal policies.

The subject is Carman Iverson. She is a 28 year old black single mom in Kansas City, Missouri, working at McDonald's. She started working there in 2012, which puts her at 27 with an entry level fast food job. Fast food work used to be the domain of teenagers and ex-cons, but that has changed as American workers have been screwed over for years. She has four children. How does this interview go?

How much do you make per hour? $7.35. When I first started working there, I was making $7.25.
When did you get the extra ten cents an hour? When the President [of the U.S.] raised our minimum wage. [Ed. note: She was mistaken; On January 1, 2013, the minimum wage was raised to $7.35 because in 2006, Missouri voted for an annual cost of living adjustment in the minimum wage. The previous few years, the federal minimum wage of $7.25 was higher, so Missouri followed the federal minimum.]

Automatically, we learn that she did get a pay bump when the state mandated minimum wage bumped to help with cost of living issues. She believes the president did this as Obama is her lord and savior. I love the editor stating that she is mistaken. Mistaken could be replaced with ignorant or blindly ascribing anything positive to her favorite politician, but she is simply mistaken. Would they treat a white person as mistaken? Nope. The issue of her take home income is odd and becomes stranger later.

How much do you make after taxes each month? Probably $200-something, some paychecks are $300-something. Between $400-$600 a month.
How much is your rent? My rent is $650.
How many bedrooms do you have? Three.
Do you have children? I have four — 11, 7, 4 and 5.

I just did the math of 25 hours per week at $7.35/hour and came out to roughly $800 month before taxes. Slice out FICA, social security and other items and the $600 seems more like it, not $400. Her tax burden is not 50%. She is not in the top marginal tax rate. This also means that at $800 month on average, she is well within the maximum limits for just about every single social program we have. The boost is that she is in a household of five members because of her four kids. I checked the math. She was 17 when she had her first kid. Before they ask about why or how she kept having kids despite being a high school dropout, they focus on rent.

If you make, on average, $500 a month and your rent is $650 a month, how can you afford your house? I have a landlord that works with us. I’m kind of on my last little leg, because I’ve been late on rent. I’m actually behind three months in rent.
If you only ever make $400-$600 and your rent is $650, can you ever pay your rent? Sometimes I can pay it, sometimes I can’t. I get paid twice a month, and both checks go to rent and the rest of it goes to utilities to the point where I don’t have any money left to buy anything for my kids — to buy them clothes, shoes or anything they need.
If all of your money is going to your rent and your utilities, how do you feed yourself and your four children? I get food stamps. I get about $543 a month.
Is that enough to feed everybody?Not really, because they eat so much. They’re growing kids, so they eat a lot. The food can be gone by the time I get to my next food stamp day. And then we have to wait two more weeks before my food stamps come next month, before I can get something to eat, and then I have to ask my sister for food and all that.

The system is punishing her so much that her landlord has been nice to a woman three months behind on rent. The system also feeds her family. She gets $543 a month in food stamps. Over the course of 4.33 weeks per month, that is $125 week in food stamps. That can feed an adult and 4 kids, yet she runs through $543 in half a month per her statement. That is over $200 a week on food. What are the kids eating? Lobster and prime rib? Something is not right in EBT-land. She's complaining about not having more money to buy things for her kids. These are the consequences to making bad decision after bad decision. Hello, you do not get to enjoy the nice things in life. Do they ask about the procreation while poor issue?

What about other expenses, like your phone? I’ve been without a phone for two months.
How much are your utilities? Right now, I’m behind on utilities. The only bill I have is electric. My water comes with my rent, because my landlord was kind enough to put it toward that. And I don’t pay for gas. Right now the electric bill is $800 and some. Every month, I want to say it’s probably around $100.
Do you pay for heating? No.

No, no question on her decision to have more kids while poor. After a question spotlighting that public transportation moves her between work and home, we find out she does not have a phone. She also only pays electric. We never find out who pays heating, so it might be included in rent or it might be covered by a government program. The odd thing is that she never says. Does she (or more likely the editor) not want to reveal it (government program) or is she unaware of the landlord covering it? If her electric bill is over $800 and every month it is $100, she has not paid her electric bill in half a year? Here is a question: if she has not paid electricity in half a year or rent for three months, where has the last three months' of salary gone? It is not much but if she gets food from her sister, and has not paid other expenses, where is the money going? Maybe we will find out.

Who takes care of your children? My sister, and [the children] go school. Right now three of my kids are in summer school, and my other daughter goes with my sister. I pay my sister $10 a week. $40 a month.
Do you have health insurance? I don’t even get health insurance. I don’t even get Medicaid anymore, because I work. My kids have MO HealthNet — Missouri health insurance [for low-income and vulnerable populations of the state]. That’s free, but only for them. I don’t get it. The other day I had to pay $40 out of my pocket to get a tooth pulled.
How much debt do you have? Wow. I’m not sure but I know I have a lot of debt.
Who are all the people you owe money to? I owe the gas company, I owe the water company, I owe rent to my landlord since I’m behind.

It is not child care. Her sister is being nice only charging $10 a week. She doesn't have health care. F#(k it all you evil health care system. Dental insurance is actually different from medical insurance, and $40 for a tooth removal is a GIFT. I get charged more than that for an out of pocket cleaning. Her kids get health care paid for by us taxpayers and Chinese-Russian-Arab creditors. Note that "vulnerable populations" phrase. They are vulnerable, implying at risk or possibly a victim of circumstance. We still don't know where her money goes as she pays no one. Contradicting her prior statement, she owes the gas company and the water company. She just said her landlord covers water, and that she does not pay heating. That is not technically debt, so interviewer's question is trying to frame her unpaid bills as part of the indebtedness problem that low-income people face. Unpaid bills are unpaid bills. Taking out loans for consumer goods, homes, cars etc. would be debt. No, there is no follow up question on the contradictions.

Tell me about your education. I dropped out of school when I was in ninth grade because I was pregnant — the school I was going to didn’t let me bring my daughter back, because they made it seem like I didn’t call them and tell them I had my daughter. So I dropped out of school because of that. I had my daughter at age 17. I’ve been living in different houses. I was living with my grandma when I got pregnant, and then after she died I was living with my auntie and when my auntie moved, I went to a shelter. And then I moved in with my auntie, and she helped me find my own place, and then I got put out of there because I couldn’t pay the rent. This was in 2002. And then I moved in with this lady who was a friend of the family. Basically, all my life, I had to live with people and in shelters. And so I finally got my own place. But if I lose this house and can’t pay my rent because I work at McDonald’s, I’ll be back at square one, and I won’t let my kids go through that again. Because I have four kids now, and at first, I only had one.

There is no follow up to this beautiful paragraph that is simply an explanation of her education. There is no asking why she had more kids. There is no asking about her absent parents. There is no question on why she kept her first kid. The school is to blame for her not finishing her education (this is not 1970, sounds phony). She doesn't seem to pay rent, but do the math, the living with gramma-shelter-pregnancy-auntie-eviction all happened in 2002. There is a large gap of what happened between 2002 and 2013 that she fills with living with other people and in shelters.

Where were you working before McDonald’s? I had no job. I was living with my sister until she put me out, and then I was in the shelter. I worked nowhere. This isn’t my first job. I had other jobs, but they were too far out and I didn’t have a way to get there. This is basically the first job I ever stayed on for a whole year and some months.
Do you receive any child support for your children? I receive child support — one [father gives] like $25 a month.

McDonald's is the first job she has stayed with for over a year. She is 28. Interesting that her sister turned her out yet watches her kids. Where are her parents? Speaking of parents, look at her child support. She gets $25 a month from one of the dads. Where are the dads? My black friend's theory that child support is white woman welfare has some anecdotal backing. If this woman received decent child support ($100 per kid per month), she'd probably be living nicer with an extra $400 to spread over her limited expenses (that we're not sure of). Don't worry, we're supporting these kids. Make all the bad decisions you want. We get a short explanation that she really only paid $10 for her tooth removal not $40 and owes $30 more. Hmm, once again, she just got a tooth removed for $10. Where are her other expenses? The interview finishes with some whoppers.

How will you make enough money to support yourself and your family? If they give us our raise that we’re supposed to get, then I’ll probably make enough money to feed my family, take care of my household and I might have enough time to find an extra job. But I work five days a week and you can’t get a job on the weekends. I work Monday through Friday. Sometimes I work four days and sometimes they take it down to three. Like next week, I might only have two days.
When you said you work five days a week or 20 or 27 hours … They don’t let me get all my hours — one of my managers cuts back my hours and sends me home, and I only get three or four hours a day.
Why does he send you home? I guess the man doesn’t like me. I mean, I’m not sure. I do everything I’m supposed to do there, and then they turn around and say I have to go home. A couple weeks ago I came in late, and I let him know I came in late. And I didn’t get my whole four good hours. All I got was two hours. And the person that came before me was supposed to go home but he sent me home. The person that came in first should go home, but he sent me home, and I came in late.
How much do you want to make per hour? I want to make more than $10 an hour. Because I’m the best worker they got there in the morning time. People who’ve been there longer than me come and ask me, and I’ve only been there a year. So I know I’m the strongest they have during the morning time.
What are your goals for your career, your family, your life? My goal in life is to earn my GED, and become a pharmacy technician so I know I have enough money to take care of me and mine. To take the test, yes, it costs money. And it costs money to go to college to become a pharmacy technician. I don’t know how I’m going to pay for that working at McDonald’s.
Do you have any money saved or for retirement? No, I can’t save money, not living in this house. And if I move out of this house, I won’t have nowhere to go. I’m struggling. I’m really sitting here struggling with four kids off of what McDonald’s pays.
What would you do with extra money? If I had extra money, my kids would have clothes, and I’d be able to pay for the things they need while they’re in school. My son is about to graduate from kindergarten, and I don’t even have enough money to get his cap and gown, and that’s only $20. And I’d be able to get caught up with my rent and my bills if I had extra money.

This interview subject says that if they give her the raise she is suppose to get, she'll be doing fine. Suppose to get. Who told her she is suppose to get a raise from $7.35 to $10? Note that her numbers game of five days a week or 20-27 hours causes the interviewer to finally follow up on the discrepancies. It's sometimes two or three days a week. She can't find another job with the four to six days off she has. Her manager also doesn't like her despite being, in her words, the best worker they have. That is what she thinks is the cause of her hours problems. She then says she came in late one day. Late to a job that she works 20-27 hours a week at. She wants $10/hour not realizing that she is replaceable and has skills that roughly any abled bodied (and some disabled) person can perform. She is the cashier, not even the cook. Cashier is actually easier than the staff out back preparing food. She has been brainwashed on the go to school racket. Not too hard when she's been brainwashed on the materialism factor with the cap and gown for a kindergarten graduation. If you are that poor, your kid graduates but isn't at the ceremony. If Kelly Kapowski couldn't go to prom because she was poor, your kid can skip the graduation of kindergarten. It's kindergarten!

In summation, we have a McDonald's worker for the media to showcase as the minimum wage worker, but it's only part of the story to show how minimum wage is awful. This was an edited transcript, and it still comes across as weak and full of holes. Commenters are pushing back, and mentioning some unmentionables. What are the unmentionables that really explain her situation? The unmentionables hit virtually every talking point of social conservatives since 1968. She is the end result of progressive economic and social policy. This woman was a 17 year old 9th grade dropout, so she was held back a few years even before dropping out. Her parents are absent, and no male family member is mentioned at all in the transcript. She makes terrible decisions about having kids while poor and in insecure housing and food situations. She makes terrible sex related and "who am I having sex with" decisions. There is a mystery of where her money goes each month since she is paying no bills currently and food stamps covers her food for half the month before she begs from her sister. She also is completely unaware of how her actions, behaviors and situation can create problems. She is the eternal victim. Instead problems lie with her boss being mean, her sister turning her out or her school not complying with her pregnancy. There are positives for her. She does watch television, so she does know from the talking head on the TV that she is suppose to get a raise. She also is a member of the right class of American to have all of her problems portrayed in a positive light to be used for political gain by the mandarins of the left.


peterike said...

Heh. 17 years old and in 9th grade -- yeah, she'll become a "pharmacy technician" all right (whatever that is).

In addition to the food stamps, her kids are probably getting breakfast and lunch for free at school, so she's really only feeding them dinner 5 nights a week.

Also, taking a quick tour of the Earned Income Tax Credit calculator, and punching in $9,600 for yearly pay, she would be due $4,331 in EIC, which is basically half a year of rent. And speaking of rent, I find it odd she isn't getting some kind of subsidy. She ought to spend one of those off days down at the welfare department to help maximize her freebies.

The whole thing about her work hours just seems weird, but what do I know about such things. Are they trying to keep her below 30 hours because of Obamacare or something?

peterike said...

I just took a look at her picture. She looks very much like a Caribbean black, though of course nobody asked her "when did you come to America," assuming that's the case. I wonder if she's even legal.

Handle said...

A great write up. Progressives see everything in terms of sympathy. The poor are blameless victims of an oppressive, intolerant society. They are entitled to their behavior patterns which cannot be judged or criticized. Nothing is ever their fault. You are a fascist if you ever say that it's ever a bad idea for anyone to have another child, no matter what the circumstances, and even if they will be bad for the new child.

Society, one way or another, either through the taxpayer, the employer, or the landlord, must agree to pay for everything.

Monroe Ficus said...

Was reading the comments on Forbes, saw this gem (suprising considering I assume Forbes readers are "Wall Street is the solution to all our problems" kinda folk:


This just shows that she’s thought about all this, that she’s trying really hard, and the numbers just don’t add up. I have to wonder about the fathers–where are they? Do they care? $25 dollars a month is just pitifual.

People will say she shouldn’t have had those kids, but when you can’t pay $20 for a cap and gown for your kid in kindergarten, and you don’t have health insurance, you sure as hell can’t afford birth control. I guess clothing, food, education and sex is only for rich people."

Can't afford birth control? Does Carman look like she's worried having a baby will ruin her chances to get into Harvard?

reluctantapostate said...

Forbes' website has a similar model to that of Huffington Post: an army of writers writing on whatever they want. They benefit from the brand name and Forbes benefits from the the ad revenue next the floods of pages. So take the brand with a grain of salt when reading an online Forbes article.

Son of Brock Landers said...

Forbes' commenters are pushing back more than just that dope who mentioned expensive birth control.

This interview bothered me because it was explicitly stated that it was edited yet it still comes across as horrible. Progressives never mention the choices people have despite never shutting about about being 'pro-choice'. There were so many holes in this sympathy piece that I could not resist.