Fast Food Workers Turn Down $80K Jobs To Live Off Of Benefits, Say Fox Dude

There are a few things you need to believe about the world in order to work for or appear on Fox News. One, of course, being that Black people definitely make up racism in order to annoy you personally. Same deal with women and rape and the wage gap. Another important thing, naturally, is that you must very firmly believe that when people are poor, it is on purpose. Either because they hate hard work and personal responsibility, or because they just love living off of the glorious benefits our country really does not actually offer.

In a segment actually titled “Entitlement Nation,” host Steve Doocy interviewed Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr. CEO Andy Puzder about his June 22nd op-ed in The Hill regarding the “Welfare Cliff.”

Puzder wasn’t so bad, and actually seemed to somewhat understand that poor people were really put in a rock and a hard place when it came to fearing losing their benefits and not being able to survive. Although he could have pointed out that fast food workers and not just “liberal politicians” are, in fact, rallying for a living wage, he at least didn’t chalk it all up to greed and laziness.

Steve Doocy, of course, did.

PUZDER: The policy guys call it the “Welfare Cliff,” because you get to a point where if you make a few more dollars you actually lose thousands of dollars in benefits. And, quite honestly, these benefits are essential for some people. They are how they pay their rent; they are how they feed their kids. So, what happens is, we have people who turn down promotions or, if minimum wage goes up, they want fewer hours. They want less hours because they are afraid they’ll go over that cliff.

[…]

DOOCY: And, it’s got to drive you nuts, because you’re always looking for good people to run your stores. And, if they would just take the next step, take the next step up the ladder, next thing you know they could be a manager making $80,000, but they don’t want to lose the free stuff from the government.

OK, no. No one is turning down $80,000 jobs. In fact, exactly no one makes $80,000 managing a fast food restaurant–the national average is $45k. There’s not any scenario in which someone would say “No thanks! I don’t want an $80k a year job, because this $23 dollars I’m getting a week in SNAP benefits is just so great and I just cannot possibly give that up.”

While Puzder’s idea isn’t terrible – he suggests simply lowering benefits a smidge along with wage increases so that people don’t have to worry about losing them entirely – this is a problem that could really be solved at least partly by large corporations like his own.

Offering health care is one thing they can do. Another is to pay people enough, in general, so that they don’t have to go on benefits in the first place. A single person with no dependents should be able to work 40 hours a week and support themselves. The fact that this isn’t possible on the minimum wage in this country is the problem. It is a problem that fast food companies, and other minimum wage employers pay their workers so little that we have no choice but to make up the difference. In essence, we are subsidizing them, so that they don’t have to pay their workers more.

The fact is, if a lot of these minimum wage workers were not on public assistance, they might have a harder time going to work at their jobs in the first place. They might not have bus fare, or, in areas without public transit, they might not be able to afford a car payment. They might not be able to pay their water bill in order be able to take a shower and look presentable. They might not have a place to live and thus get ready in the morning for work. In many ways, it is the companies that are relying on the government to provide for their employees, not the other way around.

Instead of putting the responsibility on people working minimum wage jobs to go without and suffer so that Steve Doocy can feel like they’re learning some important life lessons, the responsibility needs to be on the employer to give their workers what they need rather than counting on the government to pick up the slack.

[MediaMatters]