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Trying to Survive in a Broken Economy | BillMoyers.com

This post first appeared at Talkpoverty.org.

My name is John D’Amanda, and I have been a loyal employee at a McDonald’s in Oakland, California for five years. Prior to working in fast food, I was a small business owner like millions of Americans. I made good money washing windows for houses, stores, malls and contractors in the San Francisco/Alameda/Contra Costa counties area. But when the economy tanked, my business went with it as people tightened their belts and stopped hiring window washers. I lost many customers, struggled to pay my bills and was eventually evicted from my apartment. I even lost the car that enabled me to travel to my jobs and couldn’t afford to buy another car. I came close to being out on the street.

I continued to work throughout my struggles. Like many others in the new economy, I went from owning my own business to a low-wage, part-time job in the fast food industry. And, even though I found work at McDonald’s, my wages were not enough to rent an apartment of my own, pay medical bills, or buy a car. Fast forward five years and I still experience unpredictable hours and I am rarely scheduled for even 25 hours a week.

In light of my financial situation, I have cut back on living costs as much as possible. I rent a shared room in a house where I also share a bathroom and kitchen with 7 other people. Although taking the train to work would be much faster, I save money by commuting on the bus. In the evenings, it can take as much as 2 hours to get home. I’ve proactively applied for food stamps, but due to my work schedule and commute time, it has been impossible for me to attend the required in-person meetings.

In America, we’re told that if we work hard, we can make it. If we cut back and save and scrimp, we will succeed. I have done these things and I’m still struggling. And so, I’m looking for answers. I ask the people making the policies in Washington, DC and California – how did our economy become so broken? What else would have you me do to survive?

Things have improved for me somewhat — my city passed a $12.25 per hour minimum wage and the raise, which just went into effect, helps me keep up with my bills. Maybe I will be able to save up enough to buy a car so that I can start up my window washing business again. But, with this raise, I have to choose between saving for my business and covering basic living costs such as dental care. I am one disaster away from losing everything.

For example, last month, I went to the emergency room with severe tooth pain. The doctor pulled 7 teeth in one sitting. Now I need dentures that I can’t afford to pay for. My friends and family back home in Florida are going to pass the hat to help me out. But that’s not the way it should be. This isn’t how we fix our broken economy and provide opportunity to people.

We need to fight for $15 an hour. I can speak for myself when I say that, if I made $15 per hour, things would totally change. I could buy a car, afford regular dental care and maybe even be married and have a house. I could save to reestablish my business and get back on my feet. When Americans work hard, we deserve to be paid enough to support ourselves and our families. That’s why I continue to fight.

The views expressed in this post are the author’s alone, and presented here to offer a variety of perspectives to our readers.

Although this post appeared at Talkpoverty, I borrowed it with permission from Billmoyers.com, and that link is below.

Trying to Survive in a Broken Economy | BillMoyers.com.

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An economist looked at McDonalds’ revenue and investor data, and found that the restaurant chain could increase workers’ pay from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour by raising the price of a big mac from $3.99 to $4.67.

Check out the story at Readersupportednews.org–Price of Big Macs Would Not Increase By Much–Reader Supported News

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McDonald’s And Its Pay Differencial

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A series of lawsuits have been, and are being, brought, against companies labeling their foods “natural,” or all-natural, when they are in fact loaded with GMO ingredients, according to Conan Milner, reporting in the latest issue of Epoch Times.

In July, Naked Juice Co. agreed to pay $9 million to settle a class action lawsuit brought against it for using the “all-natural” on its labels. The products of this company are loaded with Genetically Modified Ingredients. Naked Juice is owned by Pepisco, whose products, such as Pepsi Cola, are loaded with GMO ingredients.

100 percent of studies that are not funded by the producers of GMO products show these things are harmful to human health. As early as 1995, USDA scientists concluded this, as well as concluding GMO will cause allergies.

There’s nothing natural about GMOs. According to Mark Kastel, director of Cereal Crimes, “‘GMOs by definition are not natural, because they’re talking about genetically manipulating a plant, or conceivably an animal, that becomes an organism that’s never existed on this planet before. That doesn’t seem very natural to me.'”

There’s nothing natural about taking a salmon gene and inserting it into a seed that grows into a plant that produces fruit or vegetables. There’s nothing natural about taking a man made toxin, such as Monsanto‘s Bt and Ht toxins, inserting it into seeds plants, and remain in the plant’s fruit when you eat them. What’s natural about that?

One other point needs to be made. Food and dink companies use GMOs because it’s cheaper and more profitable to use these harmful ingredients rather than natural ingredients. Food prices are going up, not down. And yet, the use of GMOs ensures the cost to produce the food is going down. That means profit margins are widening. GMOs are one of the reasons companies like McDonalds are having record profits. In other words, using GMOs is another way for the parasite 1 percent to redistribute income from the 99 percent by simply poisoning us and taking our money in the process.

PS — Normally I would have a link to this story, but I can’t find it. However, it is on the front page of the August 23-29 street edition of Epoch Times.

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A new study published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives, a journal of the American Economic Association, shows what everybody already knows; CEO’s are massively overpaid. CEO pay has grown for many reasons. Among them are shipping jobs overseas, buying derivatives, cheating investors, securing government contracts, buying politicians, going to war, and many more reasons. Food and drink companies are replacing safe, natural ingredients in their products with cheaper GMO ingredients, such as McDonalds, KFC, Whole Foods, Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

Essentially, most CEO’s don’t know a whole lot about what their corporations do, and so they have their companies do things like, cheapen the quality of products, push down wage rates, and things like this. In other words, CEO’s are one of the back bones of the 1 percent in their war against he middle class.

Check out the link below for the study.

American Economic Association–CEO’s Are Overpaid

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