But there is room for the government and/or unions to mandate a livable minimum wage. There is room in the budget. There is no excuse for treating people like shit because CEOs require more money and have therefore successfully lobbied your government to keep minimum wage FAR below the curve for the last 40 years. McDonalds employees do not receive a free lunch under any circumstances. Where did you get that from? On the contrary, they can and have been fired for sneaking the burgers that were meant for throwing away. Also, that people would be content with $9 (it's not $9, by the way, it's more like $7.25) may be true for some, but it is nothing but a sign that your country is broken beyond belief. Do the math; this is NOT a livable wage. Why is it okay to employ people full-time (or, with these companies' modus operandi, slightly less than full-time) for a wage that is literally below what they can reasonably survive on? A common excuse. Yet the truth is that 88% of minimum wage employees are over the age of 20. Ask yourself why this is true -- are they all just lazy, and therefore do not deserve to live a reasonable life? Yes, it's really awful how everyone gets treated with a basic level of humanity in almost every other country on earth except your particular hellhole. It's amazing the lengths some will go to to defend those who take neverending, voluminous shits in their mouths.