A number of prominent Democrats have pledged to spend the week learning how the other half lives. All have agreed to take the Live the Wage challenge, which entails limiting your cash outlay on food and transportation to $77 a week.
The idea was developed by Brad Woodhouse, president of the labor-funded group Americans United for Change, who, according to the Washington Free Beacon, called on Congress to take the challenge.
In a statement announcing the campaign, Woodhouse wrote:
To the members of Congress who draw a six-figure government salary and say $7.25 an hour is a livable wage, I say walk the walk. Live the wage before refusing to raise the wage. These tone deaf members might just change their tune if they had a little perspective.
WFB cites a reaction to the scheme by Michael Saltsman, research director of the Employment Policies Institute, who claims the effort is built on astroturf rather than as a genuine grassroots push for wage hikes. Saltsman adds that the grand gesture of “living on the wage” fails to address the majority of academic studies that have found that raising wages for low skilled workers kills job openings and opportunities.
So how are the participants making out? Judging from a tweet by Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, it’s tough living down here among the hoi polloi. The tweet, which follows, contains her menu for the week:
— Jan Schakowsky (@janschakowsky) July 24, 2014
Poor thing! Imagine: choking down cereal and a banana for breakfast, making do with chicken salad for lunch, getting by on a dinner of chicken, broccoli, salad, and a sweet potato. That sounds a whole lot like a normal day of meals in my household. Could be the mistake is mine for aiming too low. Then again, my limo is in the shop, and my chauffeur is on strike.
Maybe instead of #LiveTheWage, the hashmark Schakowsky should adopt is #GetaClue.