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Fox News Host’s “Six Figures” Wage Calculation Fail Goes Viral, Gets Roasted On X
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Fox News Host’s “Six Figures” Wage Calculation Fail Goes Viral, Gets Roasted On X

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The cost of living and wages in the U.S. remains a hot topic at the moment. We see it covered in the news, on social media, and even in conversations with friends. Podcasts are no exception. A few days ago, Fox News Host Jesse Watters came under fire on the Internet for the comments he made while on the PBD podcast.

While promoting his new book, Watters talked about fast-food workers’ wages. One particular remark caught much attention. “If you’re making $20 an hour to work in a fast-food restaurant, is that six figures?” Watters asked, prompting people to wonder whether he was just awfully out-of-touch or couldn’t do simple math.

Wages for fast-food workers can range from $12 to $20 per hour

Image credits: fajri nugroho (not the actual photo)

Fox News host Jesse Watters recently came under fire for saying that a $20-an-hour salary equals “six figures” per year

Image credits: PBD Podcast

Jesse Watters: “You’re very good at math, so see if you can do this in your head. You probably can. If you’re making $20 an hour to work at a fast food restaurant, alright. Is that six figures? Are you making six figures?”

Image credits: PBD Podcast

Patrick Bet-David: “No, no, $40,000 a year.”

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Image credits: PBD Podcast

Jesse Watters: “So, if your husband or wife is also there, you’re making $100,000 as a family. Both working at McDonald’s.”

Image credits: PBD Podcast

“OK, that’s crazy. That is crazy. Because that job really doesn’t require much. So, it’s inflating the entire, you know, labor sector and the Happy Meal.”

Image credits: PBD Podcast

The clip where Watters made the slip went viral and got over 770k views in less than a week

Fast food workers earn a minimum of $20 an hour only in California, thanks to a new 2024 law

As someone in the comments already did the math for Watters, we won’t attempt to correct him. However, in the clip, Watters claims that $20 an hour is the average salary for fast-food workers. In reality, the average salary for a fast-food worker in the U.S. can be anywhere from $12 to $20 per hour. The wage depends on what state you’re in, what kind of experience you have, and what position you’re working.

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Fast-food industry workers have been fighting for an industry-wide pay floor for a long time. In 2012, in the campaign “Fight for $15,” fast-food workers advocated for a minimum wage of $15 per hour. And it was somewhat successful: six states and many cities, among which were San Francisco, New York City, and Seattle, implemented laws that secured the minimum wage for fast-food workers.

On April 1st this year, a minimum wage law took effect in California. From then on, the minimum salary for fast-food workers in the state is $20 an hour. The co-chair of the Labor Center at the University of California, Berkeley, Ken Jacobs, told ABC News that this is now the new benchmark. “We went through the Fight for $15 and now $20 is out there as a new target wage.”

In contrast, the minimum wage for all other workers in California is $16 an hour. Experts worry that this win for fast-food workers might have a spillover effect. Wanting to retain their workers, other employers might have to raise their wages as well. “Anyone in California making less than the new minimum wage in fast food will say, ‘Hey, I can get a job at Wendy’s, McDonald’s, or Taco Bell and make more money,'” Jacobs explained.

However, the law is only good news for some. Non-fast-food franchise owners fear they won’t be able to keep up and will face workforce shortages. An owner of 10 Auntie Anne’s Pretzels and Cinnabon restaurants, Alex Johnson, told AP News how he already had to lay off some staff from his office. “I try to do right by my employees. I pay them as much as I can. But this law is really hitting our operations hard,” he said.

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Image credits: Visual Karsa (not the actual photo)

There is still a lot of stigma around fast-food work

Another remark from Watters that people called out was when he implied that fast-food workers make too much money. “That job really doesn’t require much,” he said. “That’s crazy,” referring to the fact that a fast-food worker might be making $40,000 a year. According to Watters, “It’s inflating the labor sector.”

Why is it that we look down on fast-food workers this much? The work is certainly less than glamorous. The pay is low, dealing with difficult customers can drive you crazy, and the constant standing can be pretty taxing on your feet.

After all, working at a fast-food restaurant comes with many physical demands, as it’s a high-paced environment. Customers come and go, and queues form pretty quickly, so employees have to be quick and on their feet. Indeed warns those who are looking to start working in fast-food restaurants that they’ll need to make sure to eat and hydrate throughout the day and use their breaks to rest their feet and stretch.

Not to mention entitled and rude customers who always think they know better. Social media is full of instances where fast-food workers get disrespected. In 2019, one man got called a “Slow a**,” and a picture of a tired Popeyes worker was deemed funny and sparked countless memes. In another video, a person took advantage of the situation when a worker passed out in the kitchen.

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One McDonald’s employee wrote about her experience, explaining how sometimes she’s ashamed to admit that working in a fast-food restaurant is her “anchor” job. “Our country supposedly values hard work but somehow making an honest living, even if in service work, has become ridiculed,” the worker, Adriana Gomez-Weston, observed.

During the pandemic, fast-food restaurant workers were among other essential employees who had to keep going to work amid the coronavirus outbreak. Millions of people everyday use their services because it’s an affordable and speedy way to eat. Doesn’t that warrant at least some respect?

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Image credits: Vanna Phon (not the actual photo)

People in the comments didn’t hold back the laughs and the ridicule

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Image credits: Al_Wallace_Esq

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tamrastiffler avatar
Tamra
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Breaking news! Fox "News" host says something stupid and out of touch! 🤣

katar13 avatar
Elio
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

F*ck Jesse Watters. If you can't do math, you shouldn't be allowed to have an opinion on the economy.

acey-ace16 avatar
Ace
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

One of the worst things about this is the basic assumption that a job that "doesn't require much" should be so poorly paid. I don;t understand how the US got into this situation where there are sooo many fast food outlets all competing to be the cheapest and paying their workers well below a proper living wage; seems like some sort of vicious circle - food must be cheap, can't pay staff, staff can't afford better food, food must be cheap...

j-vagabond avatar
General Anaesthesia
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

There's a reason many states are loosening restrictive child-labor laws as a prelude to bringing back slavery. it's called unrestricted capitalism.

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tamrastiffler avatar
Tamra
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Breaking news! Fox "News" host says something stupid and out of touch! 🤣

katar13 avatar
Elio
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

F*ck Jesse Watters. If you can't do math, you shouldn't be allowed to have an opinion on the economy.

acey-ace16 avatar
Ace
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

One of the worst things about this is the basic assumption that a job that "doesn't require much" should be so poorly paid. I don;t understand how the US got into this situation where there are sooo many fast food outlets all competing to be the cheapest and paying their workers well below a proper living wage; seems like some sort of vicious circle - food must be cheap, can't pay staff, staff can't afford better food, food must be cheap...

j-vagabond avatar
General Anaesthesia
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

There's a reason many states are loosening restrictive child-labor laws as a prelude to bringing back slavery. it's called unrestricted capitalism.

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