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Protesters gather outside McDonald's in Los Angeles, California, December 5, 2013.

Why McDonald's loss is America's win

As a general rule of thumb, corporations are reluctant to assume responsibility for anyone liable to earn less than, say, $25,000 per year. Treating bottom-tier workers decently by providing them, for instance, health care and pensions, or allowing them to unionize, is expensive. But treating them indecently by denying them such things is cruel and often illegal, inviting lawsuits and bad publicity. Better to make them somebody else’s problem.

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