The Founder, a movie about McDonald’s and Ray Kroc, is a totally entertaining fairy tale.
Michael Keaton is great at playing Kroc and portraying him as a lovable scamp.
Although he was really just a failed con man until Harry J. Sonneborn came along and explained to Kroc that he wasn’t in the hamburger business. He was in the real estate business, renting the land that the franchises were built on.
Two things came to mind as we watched the movie this weekend.
The first thing was that Kroc totally fabricated the story of McDonald’s. He called himself the founder and he wasn’t.
That title belonged to two brothers who created the concept for their McDonald’s in San Bernardino, California.
Kroc stole the brand and the concept from under the brothers and fleeced them out of hundreds of millions of dollars.
And the lies didn’t end there. The official history of McDonald’s is nothing but a fake story, and the movie makes that clear even as Keaton makes Kroc totally likable.
Of course, who you like is Keaton, not Kroc.
Still, Donald Trump kept coming to mind. Both Trump and Kroc were and are masters of fabricating the narrative.
When I explain to people about the attempts at teacher pension theft in Illinois, one of my arguments is that we have a contract.
If I were to say that to Ray Kroc when he was alive he would have said, as he does in the film, “Contracts are like hearts. They are meant to be broken.”
That should be engraved over the two legislative chambers and the governor’s office in the Illinois Capitol.
Truth be told, Kroc is right.
We have our pensions today not because we have a contract.
We have our pensions today because we could enforce the contract, with lawyers and political threats and retribution.
It is enforcement of a contract that matters way more than the contract itself.
It is an important thing to remember.