Math is Not Hard

Mr. Taranto–

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.


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. 

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!!

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