"Mary Poppins Quits" by Funny or Die has gone viral, with over 700 thousand views since it was posted late Wednesday. Kristen Bell stars in the video as "grossly underpaid" Mary Poppins, but a spoonful of sugar is not enough for her to deal with the fact that she only makes the federal minimum wage. Of course, progressives have jumped all over this, giving the video almost universal praise, but like Poppins' measuring tape, it is more about feelings than facts. In fact, there are several things wrong with the premise.
- She knew what the wage would be when she started. Poppins, like every employee, entered a contract, albeit a verbal one. One of the problems with the minimum wage is that it lets the government get involved in a contract between two consenting adults. She had agreed on the terms, even setting her own schedule. Why change her mind now? Does Mary Poppins, with her magical carpet bag, strike you as someone who would be motivated by greed?
- Why is a nanny making minimum wage, anyway? According to Nannies4hire.com, "The national average gross weekly salary for full-time live-in nannies is $652." The average per week for a Nanny with little experience is $521 gross, and a bachelor's degree brings that number up to $611. Since she has experience but refused to provide references, she has only herself to blame if she's not satisfied with her wage. Although she may not have a bachelor's degree in education, she does have magic on her side, but possessing magic is not like having an advanced degree... or is it?
- Magic does not entitle you to higher pay. That argument smacks of the promises of academia that advanced degrees are a gateway to the privileged class. (But, they'll never accept the reverse argument that someone with little education deserves less pay.) But, did Mary Poppins go to a magic school, leaving her with dreaded student loan debt, or was she born with it? If she was born with magic and thinks that entitles her to better pay... that's racist.
- She claims that she can't live on her pay, but she seems to have few expenses. Proponents of a higher minimum wage often cry for a "living wage," but as a live-in nanny, Poppins has it good. Room and board are covered, and when she goes out, she often eats for free thanks to her magic. "I don't get these birds for free," she sings, stating later that those birds come from Mexico. But, that is not a quality of life issue, except maybe for the imported birds.
- Why is she importing birds from Mexico? Is she importing Mexican birds while the birds living right outside her window could apparently use a job? Or did she bring them here and not take care of them? Not only is Poppins a bad neighbor, she's possibly harboring illegal immigrants while local birds get evicted. There's just no way to positively spin this.
- The parody has subverted the original meaning of the song. In the movie, Mary Poppins' first act is to encourage the children to take personal responsibility and work for themselves while having a good attitude. This new song is one long litany of complaints, blaming others, having a bad attitude and swearing.
- She complains about taxes but doesn't consider lowering them an option. When she shows the children her check, she bemoans that after “Federal and State income tax, medicare and social security,” she's living below the poverty line. However, instead of supporting lower taxes, she scorns her mirror self for supporting the Tea Party.
- She doesn't understand the impact a minimum wage has on job creation. The Banks family is upper middle class, but they currently have the budget for a staff of three. “Just a three dollar increase can make a living wage,” begins the refrain, but multiply that three dollars per hour by forty hours per week and three household servants. That's an extra $360 coming out of the household budget per week. Given the choice between trimming the budget or trimming the staff, they might decide on the latter. That three dollars seems small, but for one of the three women working in that household, it could be the difference between having a job at all or being unemployed. If the Banks family is forced to raise everyone's rate by the suggested amount, they already know they can just have the maid take care of the children, so the nanny would likely be the first to go.