Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland spent a week living on the minimum wage ($7.25 under federal law, only $6.25 in Arkansas). He is working with a campaign, Live the Wage, working for an increase in the minimum.
Strickland found it wasn’t easy.
For his “Live The Wage” challenge Strickland allotted himself $77 for food, transportation and other basics. The amount is supposed to be what’s left over after housing and taxes for somebody who earns the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, or $290 for a 40-hour workweek.
Strickland tried to keep his expenses down but said he’d run out of cash by Thursday.
“For the week, I walked as much as I possibly could to avoid paying for transportation, skipped meals to save money — and I ate much smaller and less healthful meals when I did eat,” Strickland wrote. “Because fresh fruits and vegetables are hard to find at a price within a minimum wage budget, I turned to bread, peanut butter, bananas and bologna more than anything else.”
Imagine doing it all year. Between layoffs. Taking time off for sick babies. Coping with a broken-down car. Missing a bus. (If you live someplace there’s a bus.) You can qualify for health care thanks to President Obama, that is, you can if you don’t live in a state that refused Medicaid expansion for poor workers.
Not to worry, The Republican Arkansas legislature has your back. Sure, It defeated a minimum wage bill last session. And, sure, all Republican candidates oppose a ballot initiative to raise the Arkansas minimum to $8.25 over two years. But take heart. Gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson said he could go along with a princely $7.25. But …. only if the legislature says so. He doesn’t want the people of Arkansas voting on it.
Got any peanut butter?