Mr. Taranto--So. Not my best ever letter. But this got my knickers in a knot. The math was so bad-- not just in what Taranto was quoting but in his reply.
I am but a lowly vegetable farmer with a blog and a few years of schoolin'. But even I know your analysis of the McDonald's wage issue was not up to your standard rigor regarding the numbers.
As you know, doubling something doesn't amount to a 17% increase in price.
Forgetting about franchise fees, etc. $0.17 of each item on the dollar menu goes to salary cost (labor). Let's assume $0.70 go to other costs.
Doubling the salary cost, and holding all other costs equal, ($0.34 + 0.70) means that a $1.00 item now costs $1.04.
How much would you have to charge for a "dollar item" to continue to reap a 13% profit? $1.195-- let's call it a buck twenty.
How much would you have to charge for a $3.99 BigMac? $4.79-- not the $4.67 you quote.
If you want to talk nickel & dimin' middle America to Death, you might want to line up your nickels and dimes.
Math isn't hard.
If you haven't suffered a farm accident or aren't a product of familial close relations, you have 10 fingers and 10 toes. And so do your five dogs. So among you, you have ... let me work this out ... . 20 digits per critter including you. Seven critters including you. Oh! You should include the wife and youngins. So let's say.. . Five dawgs + a family of five, each with 20 digits-- MY GOD! IT'S A CALCULATOR!!