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Minnesota Lawmakers Mock Poor with ‘Minimum Wage Challenge’

Five Democrats pretend to be poor as a political stunt.

by
Walter Hudson

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February 20, 2014 - 1:00 pm
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Recently, I wrote of a Harvard/CUNY study, conducted by advocates of a single-payer healthcare system, which claims that over 17,000 people will die unless states expand Medicaid. The study rests upon a deeply cynical and inaccurate view of humanity inherent to the Left which regards people as helpless as houseplants.

Now, a group of state lawmakers in Minnesota have announced a political stunt demonstrating that same insulting view of humanity. ThinkProgress reports:

Five state lawmakers in Minnesota have decided to take on the “Minimum Wage Challenge” and live off of a typical budget for a worker who makes the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

The state has one of the lowest minimum wages in the country at $6.15 an hour, which means it gets trumped by the federal wage. A worker who puts in 40 hours a week at that level will earn just $290 before taxes. The challenge limits the lawmakers to $5 a day for food and $9 for transportation.

I am reminded of my high school health class, where it was expected students would learn the hardships of parenthood by carting around a bag of sugar taped to a Cabbage Patch Kids doll. This seems no less puerile.

Rep. Frank Hornstein (D) told CBS Minnesota that it made him take more notice of his costs. “An orange juice was $1.79. That’s not something that I would normally notice,” he said after getting breakfast from McDonald’s Dollar Menu. “Making the decision to take the bus today versus taking the car will save me a little money for dinner. For food,” he added.

Hornstein ought to recognize that the same process of rational judgment which prompts him to consider the price of orange juice while on his restricted budget would also apply when considering obligations like rent, marriage, and parenthood.

Gee, if I make minimum wage, maybe I shouldn’t rent a two-bedroom apartment. Maybe I should aspire to better means before taking on new costs.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
If I were making minimum wage, it's for damn sure I wouldn't be indulging in things like breakfast out.

The legislator in question probably thinks he's scrimping to the bone because he's descending to McDonalds instead of breakfasting in a trendy bistro. He isn't. Not even close.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Geez, if he would only treat MY money, YOUR money, iow taxpayers money, like he treats his own $7.25
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Showing up" IS a job skill, one that a lot of people lack. It's not the only job skill, but it is one that seems to be hard to come by at minimum wage.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (49)
All Comments   (49)
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Where is it written that people with minimum wage jobs have a right to be head of a household? Throughout all of history young people struggled to make enough money to be able to move out of their parents' home and set up a household of their own. Then they could get married and then they could have children. This is the way it is supposed to work. Finish school. Work hard and get raises so that you can afford to live on your own. Then get married. Then have children. Problem solved. This is not some bizarre theory. This is the way people have gone through life since the beginning of time. It is not easy and sometimes things go wrong and you end up moving back in with relatives for a while. So it helps to have big close-knit families. In other words, look at what your great-grandparents did and do that and you will be fine.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
A bunch of Texas high school students did the same stunt with food stamps which, by the way, would be available to minimum wage workers - that little tidbit didn't make it into their experiment, did it? Nor did any of the other welfare programs that are available to the working poor.

This type of stunt does a lot more to demonstrate their cluelessness than it does their solidarity.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
How about the Dems do the "small business challenge" -

You run a Subway restaurant with low profit margins. Most customers order your corporate-mandated $5 sandwiches, so you have little control over your menu prices. Minimum wage goes up $2.25/hour. Your challenge: remain profitable without cutting hours.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
The minimum wage in San Francisco is higher than the federal minimum wage, and for that reason the $5 Foot Long specials offered by Subway don't exist there. Each franchisee would lose money and corporate can't force them into money-losing promotions.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Of course if you make min. wage you qualify for another $90 or so a month in EBT, medicaid, and a few other means tested services. Why didn't the law makers include those benefits in their total compensation package?
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not to mention visits to the local food pantry (free food), instead of his expensive McDonald's visits.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
The "raise the minimum wage" argument starts from a false premise: millions trying to support families while making minimum wage. But if we look at who it is who is making minimum wage, we'll find most aren't trying to support families, as least not as the sole wage earner. The claim is also made that a rise in the wage will lift millions out of poverty. Poppycock. All it will do is narrow the labor pool as a lot of businesses won't be willing to hire an inexperienced worker when they can pay an experienced one for that kind of money. A lot of entry-level and 'second' jobs will disappear. By second job, I mean a job that someone takes for additional income beyond their regular job. A lot of those are seasonal jobs, at least where I live (a three season tourist area).

If one looks at the make up of those holding minimum wage jobs, most are not the working poor. And of those 'stuck' in minimum wage jobs, one should ask "Why?" If you've been working the same minimum wage job for 7 years, the problem isn't the minimum wage or your employer. It's you.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
DCE - great post, especially your last paragraph. People have to remember that "Minimum wage" is NOT the same as "Living Wage" in the U.S. Maybe in Europe, but not here. That's something the liberals don't get!
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Here's a better idea for dirtbag Minnesota Democrat congressmen. How about we reduce their actual pay to be a congressman in Minnesota to minimum wage, permanently. The idea that any congressman gets to "try out" a lifestyle I lived while growing up poor just to get media coverage is sickening.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Diggsc, why not take it even farther and pay Minnesota legislators what we pay ours in New Hampshire? That equates to $100 per year. Most of them also have real jobs (or they're retired).
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ummmmm, shouldn't it be Republicans taking the minimum wage "challenge," not Democrats? It proves nothing to have the Democrats take the challenge, since IT'S TO THEIR POLITICAL ADVANTAGE TO FAIL. None of these people taking the challenge actually want to be able to live off of minimum wage, so of course they're going to make stupid choices to "prove" it's unworkable. They have absolutely no incentive to make it work. For the challenge to mean anything, it has to be performed by someone actually trying to overcome it.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Got my first wage (not yard work) job at sixteen, earning $1.95 an hour (minimum wage was $2.15, but California had a law at the time (1977) that let employers pay that for the new employee's first months. Also managed to eat on $20 a month while away at college (paid for myself) and sleeping on a friend's couch so as to pay less for rent. Never once did I think that the minimum wage or my living arrangements were going to be permanent. Rightly figured that hard work, study, and saving would lead to better days, and they did. I also remember that my view of these matters was pretty normal for those times. Apparently not anymore.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
I worked minimum wage, for a couple of months, then moved on. Worked low wage for a couple of years, even multiple jobs while in high school before joining the Navy. They were a means to earn a little money while waiting for a better opportunity. For the vast majority, minimum wage is not an end, but a means to an end. It should be high enough to ensure the workers aren't being exploited, but low enough to make sure that anyone can enter the workforce.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
As I used to tell my wife when I had my business: "Only employees go on vacation." Have a relative who's a real "go getter". His wife can't understand "why" he can't do this or that. Man's a first rate worker, owns a business, has to take care of it. Put his son through college. He's working hard, making good money. In an economy that isn't the best either.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
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