Last night, I found myself watching "30 Days", with Morgan Spurlock.
For those who don't know, Spurlock is a "documentary" filmmaker who was rocketed to fame with "Super Size Me." In this film, he ate nothing but McDonald's three times a day for 30 days. Needless to say, he gained a lot of weight and didn't feel too good.
He's taken the concept and expanded it to a series on FX. He, and sometimes other participants, attempt to live a month in someone else's shoes. In the episode I watched, he spent 30 Days living on minimum wage in Columbus, Ohio.
The episode was filmed in 2005. Spurlock attempted to make it appear impossible to live on a couple's minimum wage earnings (his girlfriend also participated).
As the episode progressed, both Spurlock and his girlfriend obtained jobs their first day. He was bringing home approximately $800/month, while she was making about $500/month. Not much, but it should have been enough to cover expenses.
Just when it seemed they would make it fine on $1,300 per month, they suddenly got "sick." I think it was more like they wanted to make a point about health care.
At the end of the episode, they concluded they couldn't live on minimum wage because they both went to the emergency room. He went for a strained wrist. She went for a bladder infection. My wife and I were floored that people would go to the emergency room for something so mundane.
Spurlock and his girlfriend were shocked when their ER bills totaled around $1,000. Well, no joke. That's the incentive for not making an emergency out of something that's routine!
By the way, the program made no mention of government assistance whatsoever. I believe that was a major oversight.
In my opinion, this is the second instance I've seen of a college-educated person "live" the life of a minimum wager. In college, I read Barbara Ehrenreich's "Nickel and Dimed." Again, the same concept applied of making it on minimum wage. Her story fell apart when she admitted to purchasing marijuana.
Apparently, I'm not alone in thinking you can make it on minimum wage. I have yet to read "Scratch Beginnings" by Alan Shepard. In it, he starts with $25 in a homeless shelter. Within 10 months, he had an apartment, a truck and $5,000 in savings.
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