That's the amount of money every American McDonald's employee would get each year if the company made the following decision: Give away all their American-earned profit.
Now sure, there's some employees who are part-time, others full-time, and if we spread the Mickey D profit around -- roughly $2.5 billion, after taxes -- based on how many hours someone worked, sure, a few employees would get more, some would get less, but overall, the average American McDonald's employee, all 750,000 or so, would pocket - before taxes, of course -- an additional $3,300.
Let's assume this is based on a 40-hour workweek, and so, after all is said and done and every single penny of profit is plowed into paychecks, we're talking a salary increase of $1.50 an hour.
A nice bump, sure, but not exactly movin' on up to the east side money. I bring this up because I'm a capitalist pig who likes 89 cent hamburgers. See, McDonald's is currently getting raked over the coals -- well, steamed in the microwave -- over a website they created with Visa to help their employees manage money. They call it a “budget journal.'
Seems like a swell thing to do, right? Well, it is, until you start looking at the worksheets. And the sample pages.
It starts with “Income (1st job)' quickly followed by “Income (2nd job).' Already, we're in trouble, as it seems like McDonald's is admitting their employees need a second job to live. And they do, as the dollar amount they put in for the “1st job' is (monthly net) $1,105, which is what a minimum wage, full-time earner would expect to earn in a month. Income from the “2nd job' is at $955, which means McDonald's is pretty much saying minimum wage or near-minimum wage workers need to have two-full time jobs to even begin to make it.
The sample worksheet further descends into ridiculousness, with such items as $20 a month for health insurance, $50 a month for heat, $90 a month for electric and no allowance for gas for the $150 monthly car payment.
If nothing else, the worksheets really highlight the plight of minimum wage workers. And people all over the web are taking the fast food giant to task on the subject. But my peek at McDonald's books shows even if they gave all their profit away, it would hardly make a dent.
So what to do? Well, clearly -- clearly! -- we have to help somehow, and a higher minimum wage seems a reasonable place to start, right? And you know what? It's the right thing to do. I'm on board. People simply cannot survive on minimum wage. I do believe, with every fiber of my being, if you work a 40-hour week, you should at least be able to afford basic necessities. Like more than $600 a year for heat. Or more than $240 a year for health insurance.
Only one problem, though: McDonald's isn't about to turn their $2.5 billion American profit over the guy making French fries. If they do that, guess what? No more McDonald's. Stock price would tumble, investors would flee, blah blah blah. (Of course, if you believe it's the stock market's fault we're in this pickle to begin with and capitalism is the cause for all that ails us, well, you know, go start an agrarian collectivist society somewhere. They usually work out well.)
So no. I don't blame greedy Wall Streeters, at least not for this problem. I blame my love of 89 cent hamburgers. Not sure how much I'd love them at $1.99.
See, I'm a bit of a hypocrite on the subject, and I'm guessing many of you -- yeah, you! -- are pretty much in the same boat. I'd love to see fellow hard-working Americans get a fair shake, but I'd rather not pay for it myself. I'm struggling to stay somewhere in the middle class as it is, and having to pay more at McDonald's and Walmart and the grocery store and everywhere else will have a negative effect on my bottom line.
Believe me, when minimum wage goes up -- which it will -- it's us, the slightly-to-somewhat above minimum wage earners, the people who actually eat at McDonald's and shop at Walmart (you know, because it's inexpensive) -- that will foot the bill. You think the 1 percent care if hamburgers start costing $1.99 or if the price of toilet paper goes up? Come on.
So what's the answer? Dismantling capitalism seems rash and raising prices doesn't appeal to me. So ... well, I'll just continue to be a hypocrite. A hamburger-eating hypocrite. (Throws hands in the air.)
Jeff Edelstein can be reached at facebook.com/jeffreyedelstein and @jeffedelstein on Twitter.