By Stephen C. Webster on December 26, 2013

Edible product manufacturer McDonald's nixed an employee resources website this week after its content repeatedly became the source of ridicule on the Internet.

Their "McResources" website was widely mocked on social media in July when the company published an essay that tacitly admitted McDonald's workers cannot make ends meet on their fast food wages alone, giving them a sample budget showing income from a second job, but failing to account for food, heating or gasoline. And it recommended paying just $20 a month for health care.

The McDonald's site returned to public shame in early December when a third-party content provider published tips on how much the company's workers should pay their housekeepers and pool cleaners.

The last straw came on December 23, when CNBC spotted a post on the site that labeled burgers and fries -- two staples of McDonald's edible product line -- an "unhealthy choice," recommending water, a salad and a sub sandwich instead. "Eat at places that offer a variety of salads, soups and vegetables to help maintain your best health," it advised.

That was apparently one salad too far for McDonald's. Instead of canning McResources after multiple instances of it stepping on the company's legions of government-subsidized, low-wage workers -- many of whom have been striking of late -- McDonald's french fried the website for recommending healthy foods.

Playing damage control, McDonald's issued a statement agreeing with the recommendation that it nixed. "Portions of this website continue to be taken entirely out of context," the company insisted. "This website provides useful information from respected third-parties about many topics, among them health and wellness. It also includes information from experts about healthy eating and making balanced choices. McDonald's agrees with this advice."

Even so, the National Employment Law Center (NELC) says (PDF) that U.S. taxpayers will subsidize McDonald's low wages to the tune of $1.2 billion this year, yet the company said in an April press release that its shareholders earned over $1.5 billion in the first quarter of 2013 alone.

"While payroll data for individual fast-food companies is not publicly available, we estimate that the low-wage business model at the 10 largest fast-food companies in the United States costs taxpayers more than $3.8 billion each year," the NELC explains. "As the largest employer in the fast-food industry, McDonald's alone costs taxpayers nearly twice as much as its next-largest competitor, [Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC owner] Yum! Brands."

Photo: jongjet303 / Shutterstock.com.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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